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Monday, November 30, 2015

17 Days to a Better Job

[From my current blog over at]

Today I am going to offer a little encouragement for those of you who are discouraged in your worklife.

Not only offer just a little encouragement…but today I have some practical advice for you to change your situation.

In one of my recent blog posts (found here) I wrote about the 2 types of ‘unsatisfied worker’. I wagered that 90% of everyone who reads my blog are unsatisfied in some way with their job. [Spend 30 seconds scanning that post, then come back.]

Think that’s an exaggerated percentage? I don’t. I work very long hours and working with the public, run into many people every single day. I talk to them, ask them about their jobs, and a large number of them are not happy and have NO job satisfaction.

For those of you who are working your dream job and your office is filled with rainbows and bunnies, I solute you. This material is not for you. For the rest of us who are not there yet, we need some guidance.

Looking at the 2 categories of the unsatisfied worker, this post addresses the latter of the two: The one who dislikes their job altogether and it’s time to get out!

If you are simply fed-up, and there is no hope to bettering your situation at work, it’s time to do something about it. And I can help you.

I have developed a 17-day plan packed with practical, step-by-step information to help you transition from a job you hate, to one that provides a better level of job satisfaction. I’m not talking about a pie-in-the-sky idea. No, I’m giving you a detailed track, a place to set your sights.

It’s all yours for simply signing up for my weekly newsletter. Enter your email below, and you’ll be sent directly to “17 Days to a Better Job”. [Then, please check your inbox and look for the confirmation email…you’ll need to click on the link in that email to confirm your free subscription.]

The only thing I ask of you in return is this: Please forward this information to as many people as you can…people who are suffering thru their jobs.

Hope is a powerful thing. I want to help provide a little hope today.

[Sign up for my free newsletter and view the report at!]


Monday, November 16, 2015


Faced with a decision today? If so, read on, you will find some encouragement!

[taken from, so click on over to find some other good content!] 


To be stuck in the middle, between decisions, can be killer. There’s nothing worse–it seems–than not being on a planned track.

You want to find that perfect, planned track…the road you were meant to be on.

Are you facing a decision in your life… worklife or otherwise? There are more people than you might realize who are.

Decisions can be viewed like this: You are standing in a train station. There are many trains leaving in all different directions. Once you board one of those trains, you cannot turn around. You have to be armed with as much information as possible about the destination before you get there, before stepping onto the train. Such is the path of life.

We can look back at all the forks-in-the-road in our life now with clarity. After all, hindsight is 20/20. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have the same view on our future decisions? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way.

So what to do? The next best thing, which is look at all the given options, analyze best as possible, and then make the decision. Don’t over-analyze.

Study what is available to you on this end of “the fork”, talk to people who have been in your shoes, then go.

Don’t be stuck in a position of indecision for weeks, months, and yes–even years. Ever heard of paralysis by analysis? Don’t wind up there.

(By the way…to not decide is to make a decision anyway. So choose already.)

Let’s make this an awesome Monday!


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Why Am I Here?

[Note: This is my most current post over at, my active blog. Feel free to check it out and make sure you get on the new mailing list so you don't miss anything.]

Why Am I Here?

There is a reason why you are here. “Here” meaning where you are in your worklife at this moment.

[I hesitate to say professional life, because some people misinterpret a professional to be only someone in a business suit. To say worklife covers us all.]

Remember that when you walk into work today, there is indeed a reason you are there. Knowing that you are in the midst of a plan already in action helps to motivate. No, you are not just randomly wandering. Be encouraged.

When I look back at where I was professionally 10 years ago, I can safely say that the good Lord was  preparing me for what I am doing right now. At that point, I owned my own business and I was gaining a mountain of experience. I go back further (back in the late 90s) and still remember valuable lessons I learned from working with an electrical contractor.

I could go on. The point I’m making is this… Don’t think that you have failed (or are even wasting your time) if you are in a dead-end position, or one that simply provides little-to-no job satisfaction. Knowing that you are there at this moment in time to absorb as much knowledge and experience possible will motivate you. You are being prepared for a much greater task down the road.

Think of this. At the very least, you are in the process of eliminating what you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. Simply despise where you are at? You have identified one more company or industry you will not go to work for ever again.

Remember how many times Edison ‘failed’ when inventing the light bulb? He has been quoted: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Think about it.

Enjoy where you are at today, you are there for a reason.

Thanks for reading. Let’s have an awesome Monday!


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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Change is a Good Thing

Summarizing today's post: Change is good.

Change is inevitable. It can also be frightening. But when you get down to whether it is good or bad, I have to say it is good

To be stagnant is not where you want to be in this day-and-age. With things constantly changing in the world around you and I, we need to be able to bend and flex to keep up. 

Changes are coming to the blog and the little space I have created over at, so stay tuned. I am tweaking and redirecting my core message just a bit, and will be posting on a more consistent basis very soon.

Have a nice Tuesday!



Saturday, April 18, 2015


Summarizing today's post: Morning sky, hope in new things.

Morning sky
shot at 60mm, ISO 200, f/4.8, 1/125th of a second

Hope is a powerful thing. And I find hope when I get up in the morning usually. It's a brand new day after all.

When I get to the end of a long workday, there doesn't seem to be much hope left some days. I know this is reversed for a lot of people. You may drag yourself into work in the morning, and as the day goes on, things seem to "brighten up". This is simply due to the fact that you get to go home.

Careful tho, because that's how we fall into the 'Oh God it's Monday, Thank God it's Friday' mentality. 

What is the difference?

It lies in job satisfaction. If you are satisfied with your work, you will not be so thrilled-to-pieces just because you get to go home at the end of the day. No, not at all. You will be happy at 6pm because you feel like you have made some sort of a difference in someone's life during the course of the day at your job.

If you are not satisfied with your job, if you are not feeling that good and satisfied feeling at the end of the day, know there is hope. And don't give up that hope. Just know that there is some place for you out in this world of ours. 

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Flying Alone

Summarizing today's post: Going along with the pack or not, having your camera handy at all times.

birds, photography
shot at 170mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1000th of a second

What do you see when you look at the photograph above? Interpretations can vary from one person to another. That is what makes art so interesting. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but those words are can be heard in different ways by different people. 

What I see and think about when I look at this image is a young bird struggling to make it on his own. There is a whole flock of his peers right behind him, but he chooses to branch out.

Sometimes that's what we have to do to find the fruits of life. Dare to be different for a change, test your creativity, and see what happens. You may find that simply shaking things up a bit and changing your routine of doing the same things that everyone else is doing may give you an epiphany of some type.

I took this photograph on Thanksgiving Day 2010. I didn't imagine that I'd find new meaning to it years later. That's why it is so important to keep your camera handy, because you never know what you may capture and what it'll mean to you later. 

A challenge to you: Do something different -- away from "the pack" -- today. Turn off social media for one day. Don't check your email. Stay off the phone as much as possible. Then focus on what you can do to better your life. Get creative and make a few goals. 

Realize that you don't always have to fly with the pack...not every single day.

Thanks for reading and have a nice Sunday!


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Friday, March 6, 2015

A Winter Wonderland

Summarizing today's post: A few photographs of our winter wonderland.

snow, photography
shot at 90mm, ISO 200, f/5.3, 1/640th of a second

I hope everyone survived and stayed warm thru all the winter weather we have had over the past few weeks here in NC.

As much as all of this white stuff (at was mostly ice for a lot of people) throws our schedules for a loop, I still love it. I makes me feel like a kid again.

snow, photography
shot at 135mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640th of a second

I simply wanted to show a few photographs I took last Thursday after I opened my blinds to my back patio. So simple but so beautiful. 

snow, photography
shot at 170mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640th of a second

I hope that you stopped for just a moment and truly enjoyed the gift and simple pleasure of a winter wonderland. My wife and I found a couple of hours that Thursday morning to do just that before I headed off to work. 

There's just something about snow that seems to purify things.

Have a nice weekend and thanks for reading.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Can You "Bear" It?

Summarizing today's post: Can you "bear" what life throws at you? Yes you can.

photography, bear
shot at 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/60th of a second, WB set to shade

Sometimes the things and happenings in your daily life can almost run you aground. Or, to be more plain, it may be the things that try to hoard in on you while you are trying to live your "daily life". 

There you are minding your own business, doing what you normally do during your daily grind, and WHAM...something hits. Your boss asks you to work the weekend and you have to cancel family find out that your little one is sick...or you get a call from your tax guy and he tells you "Oh, about that refund you where expecting...yeah, you actually owe a thousand bucks this year". 

The list goes on and on.

Can you "bear" it? Yes, it turns out you can.

I took this photograph of a brown bear last year while at the NC Zoo in Asheboro with my wife and son (see more here). Everytime I look at it, I think to myself what a magnificent animal! Most people are scared to death of his kind and just want to kill them so they don't harm anyone. But is it his fault he was born a bear?

And you thought you had problems. 

The reason I am writing on Sunday instead of Friday this week is that I got very ill very suddenly last Thursday and my plans of publishing a new blog post got ruined. My world got turned upside down for about 36 hours. I'm sure you have gotten a stomach virus too, so you can imagine.

It was a bad ending to a not-so-good week. I almost couldn't bare it. But with the help of my bride, I am back on my feet again. She helped nurse me back to health so that I could tackle life again.

I was going to scrap this week's (now last week's) blog post, but then that would be giving up. I had a little time this morning, so I thought better late than never. 

Life isn't perfect. You will get a wrench thrown into your plans from time to time. I think the point is to learn to bend and flex and not get so stressed out when that happens. Plans change and life's events get postponed. Big deal. We'll make it.

Can you "bear" it? Sure you can.

Thanks for reading.


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Friday, February 13, 2015

How Do YOU See It?

Summarizing today's post: Looking at the many different ways to view the same situation, & adjusting shutter speed to achieve different results in photography.

photography, moon
shot at 130mm, ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/10th of a second

What makes us all unique is that we see things differently. That can be quite scary sometimes if you think about it too hard. How things are viewed so differently between groups of people can make nations go to war with each other.

Other times, it can be a beautiful thing. I do believe that the Good Lord made us all just a little bit different for reasons I am not sure of. If we all were the exact same, and liked the exact same foods, and all liked the exact same sports team (etc.), life would be pretty boring...wouldn't you agree?

What makes life so interesting, for example, is that my wife and I can be watching the same movie, or read the same book... talk about it afterwards, and interpret parts of it completely different. Pinky can bring to my attention things that I completely missed, and vice versa. Neat.

I can relate this concept to photography so easily. Look at the photograph above. It's a picture of the moon of course (at least it's obvious to me). You may see a bunch of clouds with a spotlight in the center of it, or maybe it's a freaking on-coming train in thick fog?? 

photography, moon
shot at 200mm, ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/500th of a second
How about now? Yes, a little more obvious that you are looking at a photograph of the moon. It's the exact same moon, taken just seconds after the first photo. All I did to eliminate the clouds is increase my camera's shutter speed, limiting the amount of light coming in and hitting it's delicate sensor inside. You can see more detail in the face of the moon too.

Which photograph is "correct"? That's a matter of interpretation. I think they are both nice in their own way. I love taking photos of the moon, it can be so beautiful. I don't think any one way is more correct than the other personally.

Pretty neat. It makes me think about that whole concept of how we are all different and can see the exact same situation in completely opposite ways. 

Lesson? Maybe cut your spouse a little slack the next time you guys see things a little differently. After all, we are all beautifully human.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading!


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Friday, February 6, 2015

Doing What You Love

Summarizing today's post: Finding time to do what you love, happiness, & photography as an amplifier.

Photography, karate
shot at 170mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/50th of a sec, WB set to fluorescent

Life can be so challenging. The hum-drum of everyday work life can really get to you if you aren't careful. The old saying "too much work and not enough play makes Jack a dull boy" rings very true when you pass that 60th hour in the work week.

The same thing applies with our young ones in school. Too much school and not enough time for extra "fun" stuff is not a healthy thing. I believe it is so important for kids and adults to have time for some fun stuff.

photography, karate
shot at 82mm, ISO 800, f/5, 1/50th of a sec, WB set to fluorescent

Our little boy enjoys Karate, and it is very good for him. Four times a week he gets to take a break from school and be with kids that share the same idea of fun that he has. Martial arts is so good for young ones because it teaches them discipline and allows them to have an outlet for their pinned-up energy at the same time. And if they enjoy, you have struck gold. It can turn into a lifetime of fun for them.

We are so proud of Gavin for sticking with Karate for almost 2 years now. We go see him practice whenever we can. He is "in his element" when he's at Karate. (See more on being in your element here.) 

Photography, happiness, karate
shot at 95mm, ISO 800, f/5.3, 1/50th of a sec, WB set to fluorescent

I really believe in photography as an amplifier to whatever it is that makes you happy in this life. It makes us all smile when we go back and look at these photographs. I'm so glad I had the chance to take the photographs you see above of Little Bud having a good time after a long day at school.

What about you? What do you do to break the work cycle every week? It is so important to find time--even if it's just a few minutes--to do something you love to do periodically thru the week. It's good for you.

Find your element, your happy place, and slip away for a moment today.

Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend!


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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Light Went Out

Summarizing today's post: A tribute to Penelope, our beloved cat.

Penelope, pet, photography
shot at 55mm, ISO 800, 1/250 sec, f/4.8, on camera flash 1/32 power
A light went out this week. Our beloved cat, Penelope, went home last Monday, January the 26th, 2015. She was 19 years old.

Life can be rough sometimes. The little joys that make things bearable--like our pets--we can easily take for granted. I took Penelope for granted. I always thought she would be here. 

The thing is, she was older than we about 5 years. Until we talked this week to her original owner, we had thought that she was about 14 years old. And since she was in great health (we thought), I just assumed that we had many, many years left to enjoy her.

Not so unfortunately. She got sick very suddenly last weekend. It was such a shock to lose her.

I think back on how many times I walked right past her as she was sitting on the couch...and paid her no mind. How many times I forgot to say goodbye to her before I left for the day. How many times did I not give her enough treats when she was asking... the list goes on and on.

It is like a lamp that is always burning nice and bright, you never go over to it and thank it for light up the room for you. You just always assume it will be there, doing it's job, making the room liveable. It's not until the light goes out that you realize what was there. Funny how that works (actually it's not that funny at all).

We loved Peaches so much. I really don't know how we will ever fill the void that she has left. She gave us so much joy, so much love. We can't hardly wait to see her again one day. 

Is there a lesson to be learned here? I think so. Cherish your loved ones, your family. Whether we are talking about humans or pets, it doesn't matter. Don't take any day that you have with them for granted. Thank God for them everyday. 

Put things into perspective. All the things that you think are really important in your life--all the small stuff we sweat about every single day--really isn't all that important at all.

The photograph above, Penelope is relaxing on the bed, as she loved to do so often. I took this picture exactly one year before she left us. January 26th, 2014. I thought I'd share today. We have tons of photos of her, and I am so glad.

Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend.




Friday, January 23, 2015

Finding Your Relaxation Point

Summarizing today's post: Finding your relaxation point, appreciating the little things, & doing what you love.

photograhy, sky, outdoors
shot at 18mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/320th of a second
Sometimes you have to get away from all the stress in life and simply find your happy place for a while. I call it your relaxation point. Its the place you go to deliberately cancel out all of the negativity that tries to swallow you up day after day, hour after hour.

I have several relaxation points that I rely on. Primarily, being with my family. I can always recharge my batteries after a couple of hours of relaxing at home with my wife for example. But sometimes our schedules can be so hectic that we don't get to spend the time together we want. So I rely on other simple things to bridge the gaps.

You must learn to appreciate the little things all around you to achieve contentment. At least I think so. I love nature, and I especially I love taking photographs of the sky. It can be so relaxing. 

photography, sky, outdoors
shot at 20mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/800th of a second
I have posted photos of the sky and clouds before (see here for a nice one of the sunrise) so this idea is nothing new. It's such a simple thing that brings me a lot of joy to capture.

You ought to take notice the next time you see a nice sunset, or a neat little cluster of clouds on the horizon. You can at least enjoy it for a moment. Or better yet snap a photo of it, you don't have to be a professional photographer. Your smartphone camera is more that capable of taking a nice shot for you to enjoy later.

Your relaxation point is probably not the same as mine (and probably is not...we are all different). The point is to find something you love to do and do it more often. To identify what gives you peace, so that when life gets a little rough, you know instantly what you can do to get to a place of quick as possible. 

With all the things that can bring you down in the course of a day, its important to have little things you can rely on to help you get thru those not-so-good times. If nothing else, you can simply think about those little things until you can experience them again. I keep photos I have taken (of simple things like the sky in these examples) handy that I can view quickly when I need a quick shot of contentment. 

Have a nice Friday and thank for reading.


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Friday, January 16, 2015

In Your Element

Summarizing today's post: Being in your "element", doing what makes you happy, and going back to basics.

photography, family, park
shot at 36mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/100th of a sec, ambient light only
One way contentment can be defined: Being in your "element". Ever heard that phrase? It simply means to be somewhere, and to do something that comes natural to you. Some place, some thing, some task that naturally brings you to a happier state of mind.

Like a fish in water. A dog curled up at the feet of his master. A painter at her canvas. The list goes on.

I just love being with my family. They are my world, my reason for getting up in the morning. I love spending time with them, and I feel like I am in my element when we are together. In the photo above, Pinky is about to 'release' Little Bud to go play on the playground at a local park. I told him I needed a smile first before he went :)

These little trips to the park (or simple walks together around the neighborhood, etc.) are extremely special because of several reasons. Namely, it increases our bond together and puts us all in a happier place. I wonder why that is?

The reason is this: we are all in "our element" at the same time. Gavin is in his element, playing on the playground, hollering at us to join him. Pinky is in her element, laughing at Gavin running around and chasing him. And I am in my element, for sure. Watching them play and snapping photos of them. (It's a double-whammy for me actually...I'm combining my two passions, my family and photography.)

It's important that you catch the fact that we are all in our element--our natural state of contentment--at the same time. This is how bonds are formed between people.

I challenge you to do something with your family this weekend that you all enjoy doing at the same time. It could be something as simple as watching a movie, playing cards or a board game, or going for a walk. Get back to basics. Get into your element together and let the sense of happiness that comes over you wash away all the troubles of the workweek. 

Don't forget the camera...take a moment to capture your happy times while you are at it (more on that here).

[Sidenote: Everyone's family is different. Your family might just be a special friend or two. That's okay, the point is to spend time with the people who are important to you.]

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Friday!


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Friday, January 9, 2015

Our Loyal Companions

Summarizing today's post: Overhead, off-camera lighting using our loyal companions (the pussycats) as models.

Photography, off camera lighting, pussycat
46mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/125th of a sec, off-camera lighting using softbox overhead
Who are your companions...your true everyday loyal followers? I say followers in the literal sense because I'm referring to the pets that most of you have. And, yes...they are followers, especially puppy dogs and pussycats. If you are home right now as you read this, look beside you: You probably have a pair eyes looking at you. 

Right now our sweet ole pussycat is sitting beside me watching me work, completely satisfied with just a simple scratch on the noggin every few minutes. "Kitty", as she is known by, is shown above in one of her traditional positions. She's almost 18 years old and been with me since she was a kitten. She is a true companion, we love her dearly.

I love to take photographs of our kitty cats in there natural state. They make such good models because, for the most part, they don't move! If you ever wanted to play around and develop your photography skills, I highly recommend using a pet as your subject when they are just lying around. It's just hard to mess up, and you can shoot and shoot a hundred times until you get your lighting right. 

It's all about lighting you know. Photography is basically painting with real time. I have spoken plenty of times about off-camera lighting and you get can get the basics by scanning my past posts (start here). If you want to let your creativity shine, you need to move your lighting source off-axis (away from your camera). It's a wonderful way to turn a snapshot into a photograph.

In the photo above, I moved my strobe (I call my flash a strobe when detached from my camera) directly above Kitty. Moving your light source from side to side, over and above, behind or in front, all effects the mood of your image. One of my favorite positions is directly overhead. It really creates a dramatic effect.

cat, photography, off camera lighting
48mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/125th of a sec, off-camera lighting using softbox overhead
Off-camera lighting truly does add a different perspective to your photographs. It adds a 3 dimensional aspect that's hard to manufacture any other way. The positions of your light source is infinite, and is limited only by your imagination. 

Here's another shot of Penelope, our other loyal pussycat, all curled up in her bed. This is where she spends a lot of her time. She blends right in with the bedding, and its hard to get a good photograph. I captured this image using the same off-camera lighting technique, but my strobe was off to one side slightly. The lighting setup gave dimension to an otherwise flat image. Try it.

What to do if you don't have a "fancy" camera and equipment? That's no excuse, you can still play around with off-camera lighting using your point-and-shoot camera or cell phone. Here's how:

First turn off your flash. Find your subject (a worthless pussycat will do just fine). Have an assistant shine a flashlight over your subject, but filter the light by shining it thru a piece of copy paper. This will change the color to a nice white and also soften the light. Then back up a few feet and shoot away and see what you get. I bet you'll be surprised.

You hear me talk about how happiness is linked to photography all the time (see here). When you look at your results, I bet you can't NOT smile. It's so fun to play with lighting.  Put your pets to work and go try this, you can't mess anything up...except maybe naptime.

Have a nice Friday and thanks for reading!


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Friday, January 2, 2015

The New Year Is Here! Any Goals for 2015?

Summarizing today's post: Making a plan for 2015, a quick resource guide for you, & developing your photography skills.

2015, happy new year
graphic courtesy of (artist info)
Today is the second day of 2015, hard to believe the new year is here! I hope you didn't make any "new year's resolutions" this year, but instead made a goal or two for yourself. Resolutions (95% of them anyway) dissolve by February. Goals are real. So don't jinx your plans by calling them by the wrong title.

What's the difference? A resolution is something made on a whim without much thought. It's just something you say. A goal is something you write down. Then make small, measurable steps towards achieving it. It's not a pie-in-the-sky dream, it's something that can really happen.

Don't know what to shoot for in the form of a goal?

Here's the quickest and easiest thing to get you started: Start reading something in an area that excites you. Search out resources that line up with your interests. Join online communities that talk about things you are interested in. You don't have to set the world on fire (as I said here), just start doing something a little different.

With that in mind, I wanted to give you a few links to some resources that you may find interesting. These are some of my personal favorites that I refer to constantly to help better my own life.

  1. Joe McNally's blog, found here. One the best resources for developing your photography skills, written by a professional photographer.
  2. David Hobby's blog, found here. One of the best sources of free information about off-camera lighting in photography.
  3. Seth Godin's blog, found here. He is a marketing guru that gives practical advice on achieving your entrepreneurial dreams.
  4. Michael Hyatt's website, found here. He talks about this very idea of developing goals for yourself, and also building a platform for you to speak from.
  5. Dan Miller's "48 Days" website, found here. Huge inspiration on generating ideas and developing plans to better your professional life. He also offers a podcast as well.
  6. Lastly, Dave Ramsey's website, found here. I can't leave him out. He has truly been a life changer for me in the way I view finances. He's a Godly man who gives practical instruction on how to get out of debt and win with money. He offers a multitude of free information via his radio show and podcast. 

I will stop with these six for right now, but there are many more I could list. My resource list go beyond the heading of photography, but I list them because they help me in other areas my everyday life. I thought you'd benefit, so I wanted to pass it along.

The important thing I want to get across to you is that you need to rely upon some good quality resources in order to help you achieve your goals in 2015. Don't try to do it alone. We all need help. Make a plan to do something this year.

I truly do wish you a happy new year. It's going to be a good year, I can feel it. Can't you?

Have a nice Friday and thanks for reading!


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