Ten Ideas to Help Your Son or Daughter Pay for College

10 07 2017

My wife and I helped three children through college and we learned a lot from that experience. There are some things we would do over if given the opportunity, but more so we wanted to pass on to you some ideas about paying for college. It can seem impossible, but we do not believe that your son or daughter has to leave college with huge debt that inhibits them for their future. So here are our recommendations for those children who may be college bound.

  1. Take as many college courses as possible while still in high school. This can start while your student is still a junior in high school and it’s cheap. These courses are typically affiliated with a local college campus and they love starting students in their educational programs early.  Also, high school AP courses are often accepted for college credit.
  2. Start looking for scholarships while still in high school. Have them talk to their high school counselors about local scholarships. Money is out there; you have to make it your job (and your student’s job) to find the resources. We even found interest free loans from agencies in our local area that helped our children. Some schools, in conjunction with local rotary clubs and the like, have loan funds available to students.
  3. Attend a school in your state. Often there are heavy discounts for attending a school in your home state. (Obviously these are state schools only and not private schools.) Sometimes scholarships are available just for staying in state.
  4. Take your general education courses (normally the first two years) at a local community college. Community colleges are so much less expensive than universities offering the same courses. Live at home and go to community college and then attend your last two years on the campus of your choice to complete your education. It doesn’t sound as exotic, but it dramatically lowers the debt load.  As well, take advantage of on-line courses. Nine out of ten colleges now offer on-line courses at a far less expense.
  5. Take a year off to work after high school – a “gap” year. There definitely is a gap year advantage as most students do not know what they desire to study. Enter the work force and learn about labor, serving, hourly wages, taxes and saving for college. Perhaps you can locate a job that will continue even as you enter college. Two of our children were waiters at local restaurants and made good incomes in the field.
  6. Do you have a grandparent that would like to sow into their grandchildren’s education? Ask…perhaps they are waiting to help in any way possible. Start 529 Education Savings accounts into which parents and grandparents can contribute and those contributions may be state income tax-deductible.
  7. Be very aware of which loans you sign up for. When parents co-sign for loans they become responsible for those loans. You cannot predict what might happen in the future. Know that federally “subsidized” loans have deferred interest until six months after graduation. Complete your FAFSA forms as early as possible for possible state grant money.
  8. Keep working to lower your borrowed dollars. Your student should work full-time during the summer and at least part-time during the school year. There are jobs on campus and off. It all adds up and helps tremendously.
  9. Keep a close eye on all your loans, the accrual and the interest rates. A good rule of thumb is that your child would graduate from a four-year college program with no more than one year of tuition debt.  (For example: if tuition is $28K per year, your student would graduate with no more than $28K in debt.)
  10. Finally, consider a career assessment test for your son or daughter that helps them to narrow down and/or identify possible majors to study. When your child knows what they desire to study according to their gifts, wasting money on subjects that will not relate to his or her field of study will decrease.

Bonus: Teach your son or daughter to utilize a budgeting tool so they learn how to budget their money and help control their spending and saving while on campus. It might help them to not visit Starbucks daily, purchasing five-dollar drinks. Train them to use cash or debit cards and not credit cards for common purchases. Finally, check out this blog on 7 Ways To Go To College For Free.





Three Very Important Days in Each of Our Lives

26 06 2017

There are three days that we each share (to add to a Mark Twain quote): The day we were born; The day we were born again: The day we discover why we were born.

The day we were born:

Regardless of where you were born, what family you were born into or any negative aspects of your birth and life, our heavenly Father so much wanted you to be born that you were given life by Him. He created you and He breathed life into you for this exact time on the earth. Life is a gift from God!

The day we were born again:

This is the day we realized God’s love for us and our sinfulness. This is the day we were given eternal life through the death of God’s Son, Jesus. This is the day our Savior longs for in the life of each and every being He has created. It is this day which marks us for an eternal kingdom, a kingdom not of this world.

 The day we discover why we were born:

The why of our life… every person on earth wants to know the reasons for which they exist. Everyone longs to know their purpose, their call, their gifts and their contribution to this short season on earth. When we discover our uniqueness, our calling and our purpose, we discover the Jesus call to live life through Him, for Him and from Him.

So we keep praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. (II Thessalonians 1:11)





Five Reasons To Read And Study The Bible

11 06 2017

Do you love God’s word enough to read it regularly? Francis Chan in his book, Multiply, wrote, “When we talk about the Bible, we’re actually talking about something that the all-powerful, all-knowing, transcendent God decided to write to us!”

Here are just five reasons for reading this awesome, mind-blowing, truth-filled book:

1.To know the Author of the Bible. God wrote a book to you and me about Himself. In reading it, we will know more about the character of the One we love and serve, growing in relationship with Him.

2. To know the Author’s Son, Jesus. The Old Testament shares of the coming Messiah and the New Testament is about His life here on earth. When we read His words and learn to do what Jesus did in order to live the way Jesus lived, we will be walking examples of His kingdom coming to earth.

3. To learn more about me, who I am as a creation of my Father. The Bible will expose, “…The thoughts and the intentions of the [my] heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading God’s word will help me to see the real me and become more like Him in the process.

4. To receive direction in my life. God’s word is full of practical life applications. Reading His word will give us daily wisdom for our relationships on earth. As we discover what God values, we will receive insight into everyday problems. When we handle those problems in a biblical way, it will provoke change in others and in us.

5. To have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). To read the parables, to enter into the written teachings of Christ and to hear our Lord’s response to His Father recorded in the Bible, is like being given a map for communication with God. As we read, our spirits receive truth and our thinking changes according to His thoughts. Through His life transforming word our actions can become His actions.

 





Supporting One Another as Husband and Wife

5 06 2017

There are so many practical ways to support our spouse on a daily basis. We have grown in this over the last 42 years. It does mean dealing with our own selfishness and seeing the needs in another, maybe even before they see them. For your marriage encouragement, here’s a dozen ways to provide your life mate some support.

 

  1. Try not to over manage one another. Give each other space. Stay away from the constant, “Did you do this?” And the, “When are you going to…”
  2. Speak words of encouragement. Of course there are a lot of things to nitpick about, but try encouragement first. For example, “I appreciate how you keep up with the wash without complaint” or “Thanks for working so hard and helping to provide for our family.” Words of encouragement turn something mundane into something to conquer.
  3. Call forth your spouse’s gifts, both spiritual and practical. Most often your spouse does not see all of their gifts. When you believe in them and encourage them to use their gifts, you are in effect calling forth something that God has placed within them.
  4. Be protective of your spouse. Watch out for the things that your spouse does not see coming or is not tuned in to. We all need protected from things people say or do that might be hurtful to one another.
  5. Pray with your spouse. Do not pray at them, rather pray for them. Cover one another in prayer. Do not just have their back, but have all of them. There is no greater intimacy of support than prayer.
  6. Compliment your spouse regularly. Be sure to tell them when they look good in that new shirt or new haircut. Let them know regularly that you are still attracted to them.
  7. Communicate regularly even if it’s about nothing. Send your spouse a text in the middle of the day to say hi or that you love them. Let them know you are thinking of them. Send them a card in the mail or put a Post It note in with their lunch.
  8. Praise in public; construct in private. Verbally affirm your spouse around others. Never challenge your spouse in front of others. If a word of input is needed, save it for a one-on-one time.
  9. Take time to regularly have the deeper talks. Do not let your communication go for days without connecting deeply concerning your relationship, the kids, your job, your spiritual walk or the finances.
  10. Speak words of honor. Honor is often lost in our cultures today. When speaking a word of honor your spouse will feel honored, appreciated, praised and trusted.
  11. Be physical. Touch your spouse, hold hands and kiss several times a day. Put your arm around one another. Rub each other’s back. Hug for no reason other than good, comforting and sustaining physical touch.
  12. Be a rock. Let them know you can be counted on. Be there and be on time. Be faithful in all you do and say, especially in your walk with God. Never give yourself emotionally or sexually to anyone or anything other than your spouse.




The First Day

30 05 2017

First days, you either love them or tolerate them, there is hardly an in between. The first day of school – tolerate or love? Or, how about the first day of a new job? The first day is critical and so it was at creation.

Genesis one verse’s one through five records the Godhead creating the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness, the evening and the morning all accomplished in creating, “…The first day.”

How do you feel about first days? Someone recently shared with me that the first day after surgery is a real bummer. Another shared that the first day of vacation is exhilarating and full of anticipation. I can tell you that the first day of military boot camp is terrifying. Can you imagine the first day after the loss of a life marriage partner? I don’t even desire to think about that first day.

The first day of my first child’s birth was a great first day. The first day of the loss of my grandmother who I was extremely close to was a challenge. The first day of marriage was off the chart filled with expectancy, excitement and love.

There have been many first days in our lives and there will be many more. It will be up to us how we handle those first days. We can choose to embrace them or tolerate them. We can call it an adventure or a disaster.

Genesis one records the first day of our heavenly Father in the act of creation for you and me. He made that first day and second day and this day in order to walk and talk with you and me. And if we think about it, everyday is a first day with Him.





Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

15 05 2017

Saint Patrick, Ireland’s beloved patron saint, has a prayer of divine protection attributed to him which was later made into a hymn. There are different versions, but one goes like this:

I armor myself today with the power of the Most Holy Trinity, in the oneness of God, Creator of the universe. I armor myself today with the baptism of Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection, his ascension and glorious second coming.

I armor myself today with God’s guidance to direct me, God’s might to sustain me, God’s wisdom to instruct me; God’s word to give me speech, God’s shield to protect me; God’s army to defend me against the snares of demons, against the lure of vices, against all who plot me harm.

I invoke all these virtues today against every hostile and merciless power that may assail me, against the incantations of false prophets, against the laws of heathenism, against the false laws of heresy, against the deceits of idolatry, against every art and spell that binds the soul to evil.

Christ guard me today against every poison, burning, drowning and fatal wounding.

Christ be with me, Christ be behind me, Christ be within me, Christ be beside me, Christ to win me. Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ to be where danger threatens, Christ be in the hearts of those around me forevermore.

Christ be with you!





When Tithing Really Counts: The Trust Factor

7 05 2017

Recently I read some research on charitable giving. It was amazing to see how generous Americans are. Last year, 2016, Americans donated $358 billion to numerous charities. That’s the good news.

The bad news is unbelievable when it comes to unscrupulous nonprofits that exist today. For example, the Cancer Fund of America based in Knoxville, TN has a record of only 3% of all funds donated directly aid anyone with cancer. What happened to the 97%? According to the Federal Trade Commission the money was spent on the charity’s staff with trips to Disney World, trips to Vegas, exorbitant salaries, cars, luxury cruises and even college funds for the executive’s children.

This one really bothers me as I travel to this nation annually. In 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti killing tens of thousands of Haitians, while many more lost their homes. Generous U.S. citizens donated approximately $488 million to the Red Cross. A year later the Red Cross announced that it expected to spend $100 million constructing permanent homes and various community development projects. Four years from this time NPR reported, “Despite having spent nearly half a billion dollars…the Red Cross had built a grand total of six new homes in Haiti.”

When we are tithing to our local church, we know we can trust the leadership to make right decisions with the money we’re giving to God. And as we share our offerings to that trusted missionary organization or homeless shelter in our community, we can literally see the difference that our giving makes. Use wisdom in your giving; do your research before you donate. Check out the ministry/organization on their website and do not hesitate to call and request them to verify the percentage of your donation that will be used for administration. You worked hard for your income; be sure to pray and ask God about your giving. Imagine inadvertently donating to some nonprofit executive’s children’s college fund when you have yet to start a college fund for your child.








%d bloggers like this: