So, what is a starnado, and why did starnado make the cut as the name of this blog? After asking my colleagues for ideas and getting responses like “johnsiedoesbikesandteachin” I decided to ponder ideas on my own. Honestly, my favorite idea was “jackofall” since I do often feel as though I am a jack of all trades, master of none. Continue reading
Christmas Day is just inserted in the title because it is referenced later and it nicely abbreviates to CD. This abbreviation also happens to be the same for a Certificate of Deposit, which is really what this post is about.
I imagine most of us have likely been in the position where it is right before Christmas, a family member’s birthday, or a trip and the time to pay for the event is upon us before we have set aside the money needed to pay. With the convenience of the credit card, we charge the necessary amount needed to get through the event. If we are fortunate enough, we pay off the credit card balance before finance charges start to build. If we are like the majority of Americans, we now have more debt hanging over us.
What I would like to propose here is a way to relieve the financial burden of such scenarios, and in the process actually make a small sum of money. In essence this small sum is like paying yourself for exhibiting self-control related to finances and planning.
In this scenario I will be using actual numbers for account minimums and interest rates from my local credit union. Collectively, local credit unions have lower minimums and higher interest rates. Credit union vs. Bank is a whole different post someday…
Here we go! For the sake of minimums I will be using our credit union’s CD minimum of $500. This $500 would be money used for purchasing gifts for the Christmas holiday. (By the end of this post my hope is you can insert any life event using the same concept).Continue reading
I sit. I Listen.
I allow silence to surround.
With winter fading and spring awaiting,
no leaves on tree or ground.
With little wind the forest rests,
and invites me to do the same.
I close my eyes and rest as well,
and let the woods reclaim.
With mother nature all around it’s easy to let go.
Of all my stress and worry, right now I do not know.
And as I sit and listen to the stillness of the breeze,
my focus shifts to “Posted” signs, stapled to the trees.
They rustle and they rattle and break the peaceful quiet.
We have broken nature, though society denies it.
Nature is the great inventor of what was and is to come.
While we continue to abuse her, we become more numb.
What can a single soul like me do to help amend?
Certainly not turn away, ignore, or just pretend.
Nature needs us more than ever, this I truly know.
Our gifts alone can help or harm, destroy or let regrow.
Remove the “Posted” from the land, and also from your mind.
Nature is here to be protected, not destroyed by humankind.
I sit. I listen. I think of what could be.
For nature has already given all needs for you and me.
Last week in The Grand Rapids Press I found it interesting to find two articles which seem to pivot around the same idea. Article #1 titled “These toys can help kids have healthier minds, bodies” was written by a Harvard Health doctor and the list of toys to help a child’s mind includes: Blocks, drawing materials, dollhouses, cars, play kitchen, dress-up clothes.
For those of you who read this list and said “yeah right, any child would get bored with these.” you are not alone. Dr. McCarthy admits boredom might be the result of some of these toys, but she also points out that boredom might be a key piece to breeding creativity. “If they are constantly entertained, they will never learn to entertain themselves, and they will miss out on important opportunities to create and explore.”
Now just a few pages later in the same edition of The Grand Rapids Press is the article titled ” ‘Fortnite’ addiction is forcing kids into video-game rehab”. Whoa. In this article Jef Feeley and Christopher Palmeri give a laundry list of issues with kids being hooked into gaming, specifically Fortnite.Continue reading
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed getting mail of any kind. Packages, junk mail, bank statements, ads, and newspapers were a welcome addition to my mailbox. For me those days are numbered. I am getting tired of carrying junk mail from mailbox directly to the recycling bin.Continue reading
Today is giving Tuesday and if you are fortunate enough to give this year there is no shortage of options for where to send donations. This past week alone I have received an e-mail or a letter from a zoo, a food pantry, a church, nature preserve, and a school.Continue reading
What’s in a name?
William Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous person to ask this question in Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet”.
But my question is not referring to bridging a gap between disparate families. My question is different but perhaps just as complex.
What value does your name have?Continue reading
Growing up in western Michigan I traveled to Lake Michigan with my family before I can even remember. Photographs of being at the beach is my only evidence for how young I was when I first experienced one of Michigan’s greatest natural resources, fresh water. I have also felt the lakes presence both directly and indirectly due to the lakes great effect on the local climate and its affect on the ecosystem. The Great Lakes contain 95 percent of the United States fresh water supply, and only trail the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia in total volume of freshwater globally. Without the Great Lakes, the entire region surrounding Michigan would be much different, including the types of jobs and natural life in and around the state. Continue reading
For those who know me you might be able to envision my reaction when I read the opening line from David Elliot’s book, Bull. Sorry Mom, I am just quoting here.
I literally set the book down.
But like a curious cat the intrigue of why a book would start in this way got the best of me so I reread the preface and started again.
I quickly understood this would be a unique read for me. I seem to stay in the non-fiction genre most of the time and this verse-novel version of the Minotaur tale from Greek mythology piqued my interest early.
With some thematic elements and some literary imagery fit for HBO the story reads quickly and presents the epic in an engaging way. Each of the seven characters communicates through their own poetic form. Another bonus in my mind is given the short stanzas of poetry, the story reads quickly. Continue reading
Have you ever come across an odd spider, insect, or plant and thought, “Hmm, what is this thing?!” Enter iNaturalist.
After downloading the app you can ‘Make an Observation’ by uploading a picture of the organism in question and the iNaturalist database will give you closely matched options. If the app does not automatically find a perfect match, the community of citizen scientists can suggest species information and help identify your unknown sample. Continue reading
A soft, steady click. Not more than the light click of a spacebar.
This little click is all it took to cause a week-long headache of a recurring battery failure on our Ford Explorer. A headache that peaked when the dead battery caused our son to be late for his first day of pre-school.
The issue in diagnosing the problem was the battery was fine to drive from Grand Rapids to North of Detroit, then the next morning it was dead. After recharging it was fine for a day. Then dead again. After recharging again we drove back to Grand Rapids with no trouble. Finally, another full day later the battery was dead on pre-school day #1. Continue reading