How much money do you think you spend a month? Give a quick guesstimate! Suze Orman finds that most people underestimate their spending by about 20%. Discovering how much you actually spend each month is the first step to take before creating a realistic budget. Ormon offers a free expense tracker at:




We recently had a bout of storms move through the area that led to a disruption in electricity. It happened just as it was getting dark and was the fitting way to end what had been a really crappy day. As an added “bonus,” I was behind in my class work and had just sat down to plow through 5 chapters of reading material that was designed to be completed over five days.

Losing power reminds me of the occasional earthquakes that would rattle our home years ago when we lived in California. The problem in both situations is you’re never sure how long the event is going to last. Usually, our power will flicker on again after a few minutes..half hour max. When you go past thirty minutes, that’s when you begin to dread the worst, gathering  candles, matches, batteries and admonishing your kids NOT to open the fridge except for DIRE emergencies.

A few hours after the lights went off, just as it was starting to get uncomfortably warm in the house, our power came back.  The whir and  beeping that heralded the resetting of all our equipment was sweet reassurance that we would not be suffocating through a long, dark, humid night.

The following morning as I took my shower, I thought about how much I take for granted..

my washing machine…


a refrigerator…

air conditioning…

hot water…

I could go on and on.

Being grateful is a discipline; a learned ritual of active thanksgiving that needs to be practiced often so that it becomes a habit.  Some days it may be a challenge to think of even one thing to be thankful for, then suddenly-

the lights go out..


and it becomes crystal clear how blessed we really are.


James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.




Say it isn’t so! Each cup of unfiltered, french press, coffee contains “cafestol.” A study found that drinking four cups of French press coffee every day for four weeks could increase your cholesterol by almost 8%!  To remove cafestol, brew your coffee with paper filters or in single serve machines. Paper filters are better at removing cafestol than the metal filters. I know, I know… what are they coming for next…the baguette?

(ML Ricketts, PhD-U of Nevada, Reno)