When you look at the rainbow what do you see?

I’ve been shying away from writing this entry but I’ve finally been moved to just get it out of my head.

I’m always a little taken aback when someone says to me they don’t see color. I’ve heard people of every race and color utter these words. The reason these words give me pause is because I’m apt to believe if these people do not see color then they don’t see me.

When I look at the rainbow I see all the colors that make up the sum of the whole. Ok, I may not be able to distinguish every single color but I’m sure you catch my drift. I see the different colors and appreciate that it takes all of these colors to produce this great visual effect. Each is its own separate color. Each color doesn’t have to blend into the other colors to be of significance. In fact they are of significance because they are each distinct. If they all blended into each other there would then not be this thing we know as a rainbow.

We can appreciate a rainbow by recognizing that each color contributes to the whole and that one color is no more or less important than the other. We do not have to minimize or elevate any one color to give significance to the whole. We recognize each color as playing an important role and we accept it.

We do not then need to say we do not see color to prove that we accept each other as human beings. We should acknowledge that we are different shades but that we are all part of the whole. I see my color every time I look at myself or I look at my reflection in the mirror. We should not judge each other by the color of our skin but we can’t ignore that a variety of skin colors exist.

 

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Change of Plans

At the end of my current trip, upon my return to the US of A I will be laying down roots for a while. I’ll still be traveling out of the country but only for short periods of time. I’m also going to take the opportunity to explore the state of Georgia. My sister N told me the reason I think I don not like Georgia is because I haven’t given it a chance. I am going to give it a chance.

Unfortunately this means some of my travel plans for the remainder of the year have been cancelled. I will probably only visit Spain and Scotland this summer. My adventure to the African continent has been postponed to a future date (not yet scheduled). I am happy about these new plans because I want and need to be close to my parents right now. I will be within walking distance and I think that will serve us well. I shall still try to maintain my minimalist lifestyle and will be blogging about the move, setting up house, everyday life and exploring the state of Georgia among other things.

Please continue to follow my blog as I enter this new phase of life.

(This is not not my car in the driveway, I will be purchasing one by the end of the year hopefully)

 

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The best laid plans

I’m taking off tomorrow for 31 days to St. Martin and Guadeloupe. Looking forward to spending time at the beach (sun, fun, rum), enjoying the company of extended family, and hopefully making new friends.

We are in the 4th month of 2014 and it’s looking like visiting the African continent which is number ten on my Goals and Aspirations for 2014 list may not happen this year. My mother needs to have back surgery and I want to be around during her recovery.

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White limestone roofs of Bermuda (photo taken by me)

I have fulfilled some of them already (number eleven “take my mom on a vacation to a country she has never been). We went to Bermuda in March for 12 days. Neither of us had been there before. We discovered it together and had a splendid time. Some of them I’ve neglected completely (I have not kept up with my Spanish lessons), and the rest of them are constant requirements.

Helpful Money Hints…things that worked for me

This started out as a status update for Facebook but I decided to turn it into a blog entry when it got so long.

I don’t think I’m the best person to give financial advise but I was told by a few people maybe I should share some of the ways I’ve saved for my “early” retirement. If it helps anyone then that would be great. If it just goes in one ear and out the other at least I know I put it out there. Everything I’m about to say has already been said by a million and one people before. Wish I had started as soon as I began earning a paycheck…but hear goes.

1. Save at least 10% of everything you earn (even though it’s just $10)

2. If your employer offers a 401k plan or a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), contribute at least 10% whether or not they match it. If you feel you cannot start at 10%, start at 3% and increase it by 1% every year until you get to at least 10%.

3. Contribute the maximum allowable to a Roth IRA annually.

4. Pay with cash as much as possible. If you do pay with credit cards to get the rewards (travel miles, cash back etc.,) pay off the balance when the bill arrives.

5. Save up for big purchases.

6. Build an emergency fund of at least three months living expenses.

7. If you have more money to invest after you’ve done all of that and taken care of your regular living expenses open a separate investment portfolio than your retirement portfolio (Roth IRA, TSP etc.,). You can always sell some stocks or mutual funds if you need to in case of an emergency and because you shouldn’t touch those until you are 59 & 1/2 years old. Also you can only contribute earned income to those types of accounts (if you stop earning money you will no longer be able to add to those accounts). These accounts will still keep working for you, earning dividends etc., you just won’t be able to add to them.

8. Increase the deductible on your car, home owners, rental insurance etc., and keep that amount in a liquid account in case you need it. It is not worth paying all that extra premium for a $200 deductible.