Posted at 06:58 PM | Permalink
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Posted at 06:36 PM | Permalink
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I signed up for Thumbtack (local services finder) over a year ago, well before it came to Utah.
One of my long-time friends in California told me about their service.
Then I began to purchase leads and eventually helped several people because of Thumbtack.
Just two days ago they informed me that I made their Best of 2015 list because of several excellent reviews from my clients.
I wonder what would have happened had I not asked my friend for advice?
Or what if I never acted on the advice?
Ask. Do. Be thankful. Repeat.
Posted at 04:52 PM | Permalink
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Community Center basketball was a huge part of my life from the time I was nine until I turned 13. I loved playing basketball and I loved winning even more (although I had my share of losing too).
One year my team lost almost every game. Another year we won every game.
One of the things that brings a smile to my face now is how loud my Mom was at my games. After a rebound, she would shout to me "hold on to that ball, you're a Davis!?"
Or after a made shot, "Good job Ryan!!!!"
She seemed just as loud and happy for me whether my team won or lost. She cheered for me!
My friends teased me about my "loud" mom.
And now I try to be the loud parent for my children.
A few days ago I found myself cheering and clapping loudly for my son as he attempted to break boards in his Tae Kwon do class.
A lady whose income, combined with her husband's, is about $160,000 chooses to shop at Eddie Bauer because she likes the clothes.
But she refuses to pay retail. so what does she do?
She only shops the clearance rack. She heads straight to the rack to find $6 shirts and $10 pants.
Where would you shop if you made $160,000?
Would you pay retail or wholesale?
How much you make is important.
And what you keep is just as important.
High quality, low price is the way to go no matter your income.
Last week I was in Las Vegas with a little bit of time to spare after eating at the Wynn buffet.
So I decided to take a look at the Ferraris at Penske Wynn Ferrari.
I happened to see a 2015 Ferrari California which brought back memories.
A few years ago I ALMOST had the opportunity to test drive a 2012 Ferrari California (worth $230,000) while visiting Orlando, Florida. But because of rain. I was not able to test drive it.
This time there was no rain. I was able to test drive a new Ferrari California 2015 worth $260,000!
I took a spin down the Strip. It was a dream-come-true.
How did I get to drive it?
40 selected people had been invited to drive the car over the weekend. I wasn't one of them.
A security guard told me about the dealership's goal to have many people drive the car.
So I found a salesman and asked him for a test drive.
Ask. Receive. Often it's that simple.
I made a new friend last week in Dallas, Texas. We began talking during breaks at a work conference.
She is a widow in her late 60's. I asked her how she managed to take care of her young children when her husband died several years ago.
She decided what she wanted: work from home, base salary, and a good company.
She then prayed for and worked towards her goal.
The result? She got almost what she worked and prayed for.
Her new job had everything except for a base salary. So her first six months were very lean while she built her clientele.
Posted at 03:17 PM | Permalink
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Pat Flynn is a genius! I started reading his blog about a year ago and have learned a bunch about finance and business from his posts.
Last week I opened an email from him containing one main point: Add fuel to what works instead of trying to build a new fire by rubbing sticks together.
He urged adding to and working on current successes instead of chasing new projects.
His point is solid. It resonated with me.
New projects are new and glamorous, but in reality are long shots compared to what is current working for you.
And your current fire will burn brightly if you simply add more gas (time and attention) to it.
Where are you thriving? What actions would cause you to win bigger?
Posted at 06:05 PM | Permalink
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A man told me how good of a listener he is. The only problem was his wife was shaking her head in disagreement.
No matter how good of a listener you think you are, what matters is what your spouse thinks.
Listening is best done when you seek to understand the other person.
Listening is also predicated upon mutual respect : you have to sincerely care about the other person to truly have open ears.
Great listeners also act upon the knowledge they've received. They do what they need to do after intently listening.
Excellent listeners not only apply, but they do not take the message personally. They know how good they are and yet are willing and hungry to improve.
If your spouse nods when you listen, then you've arrived.
But if she shakes her head, you might be fooling no one.
Couples often wonder if they can fall out of love. I'm not sure.
I do know that love can die through neglect.
And if you want to grow love, then you will need to work at it. Discovering how your spouse feels loved and then delivering love accordingly is key to long-lasiting relationships.
Couples who have mutual respect for each other have an easier time serving each other and finding the good.
Love those you serve, and serve those you love (and especially serve your spouse when you hate him/her).*
True romance is much more than looks, money, or humor. It's work.
Sacrifice fuels the flames of romance.
Women typically feel loved when affection (without expectation) is shown.
Women are like crockpots--needing time to warm up.
Men are like microwaves, they heat up fast.
Love blooms like a flower with time and attention.
So, are you 'in love' or 'out of love?' Show me your works.
*Ancient teaching, not mine
Posted at 06:15 PM | Permalink
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One of my childhood friends became a Judo Black-belt partly because his Dad wanted to spend more time with him.
His Dad wanted to spend time with him but didn't know how to formally make the time to be with him.
So he found a martial arts instructor and paid for my friend to take Judo lessons 2-3 times a week for eight years.
My friend not only became a Black-belt, but he found out how much his mother and father cared for him.
His parents invested hours (and much money) every week to be with him and to cheer him on.
What was the pay-off for his parents?
Today the Judo black belt watches his son (and daughter) participate in sports and plays.
And my friend's parents are glad they invested time into their best asset, their son.
Melissa and I love to buck inflation.
We don't assume electricity, food, fuel, water, and clothing costs must rise with time.
We gladly pay one fixed, current cost to lower continuous, future costs.
One trick we employ to lower costs is to upgrade our appliances ( when they die) with energy efficient models.
Case in point: our 14 year old Maytag was new to us in 2008. We paid $200 and over seven years we washed close to 1,000 loads of laundry.
When it recently died (and the repair was too pricy and time consuming), we bought a very efficient newer washer.
Our LG uses 1/6 as much water as our old Maytag and will cut electricity consumption from 180 minutes to 150 per week.
Our LG is the highest rated manufacturer (for front-loader washers according to Consumer Reports) with nearly 50% more space for clothes, no agitator to hurt clothes and great looks.
Einstein taught that time distorts with speed. Time changes with speed, but people don't.
We shouldn't try to 'quickly' change others.
A lady became upset at her husband because he didn't immediately change his poor behavior.
Time, love and acceptance are needed for lasting change to occur.
A spouse whose acted poorly for years will need more than a night to change.
Coincidently, patient waiting (while actively searching for bargains) is key to prosperity too.
Are you trying to use speed to change a spouse?
Try changing yourself and lovingly accepting others.
A man spends $12,000 a year on food although his income is average.
That's $12,000 for one person!
For 17 years my wife has bought food for our family of six for much less than he spends.
Occasionally I go with her to buy food.
This is what I've learned in shopping with my wife for a family of six.
-Don't buy food every day. Buy food once every two weeks or maybe even once a month.
(You may need occasional visits for fresh fruits and vegetables.)
- Don't go cheap on food: get food that will grow your body, heal your body and give your body strength.
-Eat often: 4-6 mini-meals a day.
-Set a budget.
-Plan your meals for the next 2 to 4 weeks.
-Make a little extra dinner for the next days' lunch.
No need to spend your entire paycheck on food. Eat to live, not live to eat.
Seth Godin did it again. His blog post, Glow in the dark, contains excellent advice for spouses, parents and and anyone who should or would like to be a leader.
When life is dark, we applaud those who seek to glow.
Glow when others are angry.
Glow when despair seems like the best option.
Glow when you feel like quitting.
Each bit of light glows brighter until eventually you're full of light.
Posted at 06:46 PM | Permalink
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During a visit to a small town I recently observed several people riding tandem bikes up and down mountains and throughout the town.
I don't see that very often where I live so that caused me to think a little bit.
Riding a tandem bike is the ultimate metaphor for being interdependent. Two people come together to unitedly move forward.
A couple must work together (interdependently) on a tandem bike.
Working against each other (independently) causes stagnation.
Interdependence not independence is vital for happiness and progression.
Work with each other. Understand each other. Move forward together. Learn to work together. Learn to seek your spouses interest and their well-being. Hold them in high regard.
Two together make a tandem bike progress.
James Harden, Guard for the Houston Rockets, has indicated signed a 13 year 200 million dollar deal to endorse shoes for Adidas.
As a friend told me how crazy it is for a player to get paid to wear shoes, I noticed she was wearing an Adidas shirt.
As we realized how she had paid money to Addidas and James Harden will get paid from Adidas, we laughed.
Some people pay money to wear Adidas while others get paid to wear Adidas. Some people earn money while others burn money.
The difference between an asset and a liability is the direction cash flows.
Are you getting paid or paying?
Getting to the root of a problem can be tough. Often we think the "leaves" are the problem, when in fact the root is malnourished.
Case in point. Over several months my eyes occasionally became blurry as I looked at my computer.
My solution? Dim my lighting. That didn't help. Then I thought my computer's resolution should be adjusted. That too didn't fix my problem.
Finally I met with an Opthomologist. He triple checked my eyes.
My eyes were blurry because I didn't blink often enough.
What I learned:
-experts' thoughts are not my thoughts
-simple is better
Are you focusing on 'roots' or 'leaves' when you face a problem?
My daughter, Anastasia, is amazing! She takes summer classes for fun, helps others through hardships and loves to learn about business.
Last week she attended business week in Northern Utah and was voted CEO by her peers. She paid for half the cost and we covered the rest.
Many will say children are liabilities. She's not. The love, time and money we've given her has come back with massive returns.
An asset pays dividends. A liability drains resources.
Children should be one of your top assets.
The money you spend on them should be an investment not an enablement.
Give them resources to help them grow and become self-reliant not to facilitate weakness and dependence.
An Inflection point in Calculus is considered the point at which a Concave pattern becomes Convex. Or the point at which a downward trend begins an upward swing.
In non-mathematical words it is the point when bad things begin to get better.
Although it is very difficult to know when inflection points will happen, we can prepare in such a way that inflection points happen more often than not.
Living within established means, paying as you go and being frugal allows for an abundance of inflection points.
For instance, if you have no debt and an investment appears, you will be ready to invest. ll be ready for a maximum gain.
Daily strengthening your inner core fuels inflection points.
Massive gains or great growth (quantum leaps/ Inflection Points) materialize when we do the basics: strengthen Spirits, pay as you go, be disciplined and invest in assets.
My wife came home with a sunburn after going to the pool with our children.
She usually doesn't burn. Her dark skin just gets darker.
Not this time. She burned badly.
Despite much aloe vera her burn bothered her for a few days.
She explained to me:
I don't know how I got burned. I checked every 20 minutes to see if I was turning red and it didn't seem like I was turning red.
That reminds me of communication.
Often times we think we said something nice and we have no idea why our spouse is being defensive.
Perhaps it's not what we said maybe it's how we say it. We don't notice how are words encourage a spouse to react negatively. Or how our tone enflamed a spouse.
It's time to notice how your communication (both style and substance) influences others' responses.
Posted at 04:10 PM | Permalink
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You have probably thought about investing, starting a business or simply doing something difficult.
What is stopping you?
A few years ago a friend challenged me to begin working on my dream of saving marriages.
I had steady income and my insurance business was on auto-pilot. But I wanted to do something challenging: save marriages.
I began to blog. Then I put together a poor website. Then a better version and then another version.
I began to invest in marketing and purchased leads.
Many things didn't work.
Now a few years after my friend's challenge, I thank him for the courage to ask me to start.
And I pause to think of a few people who called my business "little" or wondered aloud when it would succeed.
Each week I meet with 8-12 couples who are progressing towards happy marriages.
Posted at 01:12 PM | Permalink
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I LOVE paying less to get more.
A few weeks ago my car was totaled by two people who fled the scene as I sat in my trashed car on the side of I-15.
It seemed like my glass was empty for a few days.
Then, I replaced my car with a 50 MPG Toyota Prius. It has navigation, touch screen controls, a back-up camera, a gorgeous interior and a surprising amount of pep.
Melissa and I bought it used (2007) for a fraction of the new cost.
Best part? I save $720 a year on fuel costs. All because my old car was wrecked!
Occasionally the glass is empty. Just refill it and move on.
$120,000 for a timeshare or $1,800 for a smoke alarm? Those were two money questions I heard this last week.
A couple told me about spending over $100,000 ensure they vacation every year.
That's a ginormous price to pay to guarantee vacations happen.
Vacations are fun IF you pay BEFORE you vacation. Never finance vacations.
Another couple was looking at a very pricey fire alarm. The salesman wanted over $1800 for his "life-saving"unit.
With a quick Google search, I found a similar unit for $75.
Pay as you go.
Buy at a LARGE discount.
"Nellie is at the Cram's house!!!" my sisters would yell as our bus driver approached our house. It was the queue to get out the door and down to the end of our driveway so we wouldn't miss the school-bus.
Nellie was amazing. If we were running late, she would kindly beep for us. Or if our dog tried to chase the bus, she would simply smile. And if we were grumpy, she greeted us with a smile and a cheery hello with a Dutch accent.
Years after I took my last bus ride, I discovered Nellie drove bus more for fun than for money. She and her husband ran a prosperous farm in Upstate New York.
Nellie's now gone. I drove by her house last year and began to cry as I thought how she loved a long-haired brat. She was a friend to EVERYONE on the bus, even the trouble-makers like me.
Nellie's lasting legacy isn't her money nor her farm. Not the popularity. No, Nellie was a saint. She loved like Mother Teresa!
Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink
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When we want to become healthier, break bad habits or become wealthy we imagine the need for immense discipline.
And disciplined people (often) do achieve a lot.
Yet discipline is overrated.
If we feel undisciplined we let ourselves off the hook without even trying.
Warren Buffet said:
"What we do is not beyond anybody else’s competence. I feel the same way about managing that I do about investing: It’s just not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results."
If doing extraordinary, disciplined actions doesn't produce extraordinary results, what does?
Daily incorporating easy habits.
So there I was at a family reunion bragging about a knife that I inherited from my grandfather.
I kept calling my knife a watch.
My sister later suggested that the reason I called the knife a watch was perhaps because my ego was getting in the way. I was focused on myself instead of others.
My sister, who is phenomenal at focusing on others, gave me sage advice.
Although I don't know the exact reason I kept calling a knife a watch, I do know that me and many others have the same problem: we focus too much on ourselves.
By focusing on self life becomes confusing and complex- knives become watches.
And as we focus on others, life becomes simple- knives are recognized as knives.
Have you ever studied the DISC personality assessment?
It is one of the most effective ways to boost communication and build respect between family members.
Robert Rohm is the best at explaining the DISC model. His insights make it easier to embrace others instead of rejecting them for differing personality styles.
Partiers often marry accountants. CEO's often marry wallflowers.
The differences add flavor to marriage.
Marrieds often spurn a spouse because his/her style is completely different from their style. The key is to remember that sameness is not needed for happiness.
Happy couples complete (not compete with) each other. They combine their differences into a powerful whole.
Posted at 03:57 PM | Permalink
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Invented 101 years ago, Tinker toys epitomize creative building and innovation.
Tinkerers adapt. Create. Accept multiple truths.
When's the last time you tinkered with your marriage? Your income? Expenses? Spirituality? Health?
Tinkerers tinker before something breaks. In fact, tinkerers improve and often creatively destroy the status quo.
My wife was recently impressed with a young friend of ours.
He is 24 years old, has traveled to Japan four times and has over $20,000 saved for retirement.
What's more impressive is that he comes from a low income family and works at a grocery store!
He is resourceful. He uses his time and money to make dreams come true.
We often have enough. Enough money, smarts and discipline. We are sufficiently good enough to enjoy life and help others.
What are you doing with your life? Are you making excuses for low-income or maybe a lack of time? Are you living (or chasing) your dreams?
Posted at 04:12 PM | Permalink
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I talked to a lady today from Arizona who decided she wanted an entire brand-new wardrobe.
So she took all of her clothes from her closet down to the thrift store. She then used a thrift store credit to get all new (used) clothes.
Perhaps the best part is because she lives in a very prestigious area, her new (used) clothes were gorgeous. Some clothes even had tags still on them.
Now that is thrifty and soon she's going to be free!
When I was thirteen my Mom and Dad invited a foreign exchange student to live with us on our eight acres in Palmyra, NY.
Javier was from Madrid, Spain and was a fun "big brother." He was 17 or 18, loved to where expensive clothes, enjoyed music by REM and took several walks in the protected park behind our house. Girls at school loved his accent and dark hair and complexion.
My favorite memories of Javier were taking walks with him behind our house. He showed me how to track deer and several smaller animals. He would stare in awe when he saw deer or a raccoon. He wasn't a hunter like some of my relatives or friends. He simply liked looking at creation.
Before Javier returned to Spain, he gave me some of his very expensive sweaters. They were itchy and didn't look as good on me.
Posted at 06:05 PM | Permalink
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Carl Richards has a new book, The One Page Financial Plan.
Here's what I learned or re-learned:
Posted at 05:57 PM | Permalink
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Perhaps one of the most well-known and least understood books for all time is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
Most people know that there's many ways to show love: Words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch and gifts are a few "languages" of love.
Then why do we persist in trying to show love the way that we like to be shown love instead of showing love the way that our spouse wants to have love shown?
Many marriages could have more love, passion and joy if spouses learned their spouses love language and then used it.
A man told me he spent many years and much money buying amazing gifts for his wife (manicures, pedicures, fancy dinners).
Yet all she wanted was his time and nice words.
Know your spouse's love language and then speak it daily.
It will save you time. Money. And your marriage!
Posted at 07:53 PM | Permalink
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"How do I get my wife/ husband involved with our finances?"
This is a very common question.
The key is to involve your spouse in making decisions on their terms.
Don't say, "I think we should buy a new car."
Rather ask what your spouse's thoughts are on your means of transportation.
Don't say, "I think we should buy a new house."
Rather say, "I will be more disciplined with money and then find out what my spouse needs and wants.
And then I will get it for them."
Most often spouses aren't involved in decision making because one spouse has neglected the practice of consulting and truly valuing the others point of view for an extended period of time.
The best cure is to change self.
Change your desires/ motives so that you truly want what is best for your spouse, not merely what is best for you.
Use your own frugality to bless their lives and whether they come on board with frugality or not your family will have abundance.
(*Original blog from in archives)
Posted at 04:49 PM | Permalink
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I love helping people! That's why I started blogging nearly four years ago. And over the last few years I've found other ways to connect
For those who want to follow my blog: frugal2free
For those who want to see what I'm working on next: my website
To schedule a business consultation.
Posted at 06:27 PM | Permalink
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Preparation is the key to the Navy Seals success. They accomplish missions safely because they practice for weeks and sometimes months before a specific operation. In preparing to take down Bin Laden, Seal Team Six practiced a simple plan daily moving from generic strategy and targets to specific tactics and targets (see Spec Ops by McRaven).
Seals like to keep things simple and to make sure they have practiced, together, frequently.
Families, like Navy Seals intensely practice in peacetime to ensure prospective protection. Families prepare for financial freedom by keeping things simple, practicing wise financial strategies and tactics. And perhaps most importantly they practice together. Money is best earned, managed and spent as a family.
How often do you practice simple financial principles with your entire family?
Working and sweating to be frugal in peaceful times lessens future bleeding in our war with debt.*
(This post is another blast from the past. It's one of my favorites!)
Posted at 10:13 AM | Permalink
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Lately I've been helping a few couples in distress. Husbands and wives ask me, "Should I stay with my spouse or leave?"
I let them know that the best way to keep a marriage vibrant is to invest in yourself so you can give unconditionally to your spouse.
It seems like truly loving one person forever depends on how much you invest in self and in God. In other words three people are vital to staying happily married to the one you chose.
Posted at 07:40 AM | Permalink
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A young newlywed couple taught me the value of being thrifty.
I talked with them in Florida and found out they had the exact same type of rental car I did.
Whereas I paid $22 a day for my rental car, they paid $13 at Fox Car Rental.
I had compared prices with Hertz, $35 a day, and felt good with my $22 a day Firefly decision.
I should've checked three companies instead of two.
My dad wishes he had been a rancher. He grew up on a Utah farm, spent two years in Texas and currently lives in Florida. But for one 25 year stretch he worked in New York doing work he abhorred and spending too much time away from home.
In Texas there is a saying about pretentious people: big hat, no cattle.
My dad isn't pretentious. He has a big Stetson cowboy hat AND the cattle. His "cattle" are debt-free vehicles and a debt-free house.
Recently I helped a couple (from Texas) who had a "big hat but no cattle": Nice financed vehicles, a large rent payment on a prestigious home and multiple credit cards with outstanding balances.
They're getting better though. They're paying down debt.
How about you?
A big hat and no cattle?
A big hat and much cattle?
My advice is to get the ranch, the Stetson hat and the cattle....in cash. And do it now.
Last night my wife and I met Dave. And he helped us meet two well known radio personalities in Utah, Todd and Erin.
Dave is from Salt Lake City and he decided to work at winning radio contests.
In the last twelve months he's won two iPads and a new Subaru. And concert tickets. And food.
The cost? He spends several hours each week studying contests and of course he constantly listens to the radio.
He's discovered that hard work, planning and dreaming produce abundance.
Sure luck is involved, but Dave knows that luck is tied to work, planning and dreaming big.
This last weekend a new friend, Peter F. Evans, repeatedly told me (and many others) to expect miracles. And, he said, "acknowledge them when they happen."
Then later that night I saw two miracles. Two people who had been hit by cars (traveling at 45 mph or faster) came to a meeting that I was conducting. The miracle? They were alive and talking.
I told them that God is good. He works miracles daily.
I hope you'll have eyes to see His miracles.
Posted at 06:08 PM | Permalink
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For several months my wife and I have asked our 12-year-old son, Joseph, to get up by 7 AM so he can be ready for school.
Then last week I gave him an Ironman watch. And you know what? He got up on his own by setting the alarm. No help needed.
I should have used a simple tool to preserve our relationship several months ago.
Do you need to give a watch to someone?
Posted at 05:08 PM | Permalink
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A few days ago I mentioned to my 16 old legendary, daughter (she's frugal, brilliant and righteous) that I wanted to buy a used iMac.
She asked how much they usually cost. I said as much as $2,500. She said, "just drop the zero."
Drop the zero and a $2,500 iMac becomes $250!
What experiences could you enjoy if you consistently dropped a zero? What could you buy if you dropped a zero? What could you pay off by dropping a zero?
You can live within your means, pay off debt and pay as you go if you simply drop the zero.
Look for ways to remove a zero. You can live much better at less than half the cost by constantly dropping a zero.
A few years ago I heard a man said something that made me think deeply. He said something like this:
Stepping back to see the big vision for our family compels us to work diligently to make the vision reality.
Expanding our vision causes us to overcome the inertia of proximity to our problems. Oftentimes the closeness of our problems causes us to feel overwhelmed and dejected.
Looking at our problems with a Seurat-esque perspective causes hope to soar. Standing back a little to view art is a lot like life. We see the big beautiful picture by simply expanding our vision. Similarly looking too closely at a piece of art causes catatonic confusion.
What is your ideal image for your family?
How could you expand your vision?
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Posted at 04:09 PM | Permalink
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