faith, Hope, money, triathlon

5 Ways To Help A Friend In Need

1 Comment 01 September 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 6.52.46 PMHow do you help a friend who has suddenly been hospitalized?  I had a good friend who crashed on her bike yesterday training for Ironman Chattanooga, suffered a severe injury and is now facing a long hospital stay and even longer recuperation.  I’ve had a surprise hospitalization and long recovery myself, so I thought I’d write down some things you can do to help a friend in the same situation.

For an oversimplified version of my story, a fist sized mass on my small intestine, which had grown from a surgery 30 years earlier, decided to explode, because, you know, it felt like it.  I went to the hospital at 3AM, and woke up sometime the next day with tubes in my nose, horrible pain, and had a half foot incision on my stomach.  After 10 days in the hospital on an IV drip, I was released to go home.  It was a high stress time, as we had a newborn, a toddler and had just moved into a new house without having been able to sell our old house (thank you, economy :).  Since they cut clear through the muscles of the abdominal wall, I couldn’t support anything, and wasn’t allowed to hold my little baby for almost two months.  Come to think of it, my intestines exploded almost 7 years ago today, and it took till about Christmas till I was back to normal.

Luckily, we had an incredible group of friends and family looking out for us, and they set a great example for how to help someone like us in need.

1) Pray 

Prayer works.  Jesus is listening, so pray for that person daily or whenever they come to mind.

2) Food
A meal list is a popular thing, but you need to make sure you do it the right way.  Sometimes people feel the size of their dish has to be big to show they care, but seriously, who can eat a gigantic vegetable lasagna in one sitting?  Also, make sure that if you make a meal for someone, it’s in a disposable dish. We ended up having quite a collection of those porcelain casserole dishes with no idea who they belonged to.  Our Sunday school class and neighbors were amazing.  Make sure you leave instruction if necessary. An Indian family across the street made us some authentic Indian food.  When we relayed that we’d mixed the rice-type stuff and the cinnamon golf ball thing together, they were like, “Yeah, you mixed the main course and the dessert together…but that’s totally, uh, fine.”

2.5) Delivery

I like to do gift cards for places that deliver, or are very close to their home or where their spouse works.  That way, they can get what they want, when they want it. If it’s a delivery place, make sure to not just give the gift card (which they can use to pay over the phone), but also include a few bucks for tip for the delivery person, which generally you can’t do with a gift card.
3) Money
Crowdrise and some other places have cool ways to collect funds for people.  Gift cards to places like Target, Wal-Mart, Publix, etc, work well (ask a closer friend who might know where they shop).

Want to always be prepared to help? Start Your Own Emergency Giving Fund!

4) House help
One of our neighbors hired a guy to mow our yard.  I was completely out of it, and it never occurred to me to do it myself.  I remember laundry was the bane of our existence for a while. See if you can help around the house, or better yet, hire a house cleaner for them for a time.  Sometimes people prefer to have a stranger cleaning things up, rather than having a friend see all their mess.  Cleaners can be expensive, so in one instance 10 friends got together and paid for it. Also, don’t forget their spouse.  Often it’s harder on them in some ways that the person with the physical recovery.  My wife was awesome, but I know it really took a toll on her, and it was great when family or friends came and gave her a break.

5) Calendar
Take out your calendar right now, whether its in a planner or on your phone or whatever, and mark it for one month, two months, and/or three months from now.  THAT is when this friend of yours really needs you.  It’s human nature to have a big emotional reaction right when an accident or hospitalization occurs, but your friend is still in need much longer.   Get them another gift card, watch their kids for them, send them a card to encourage them on October 1st, November 1st, and December 1st.

How has someone helped you in a time of need?

ALSO READ: 3 Small Steps To Make 1 Big Difference


halloween, kids, money

How To Use Halloween Candy To Make Your Kids Rich

1 Comment 02 November 2013

They did a study where they put a child in a room with a marshmallow.  They told the child they could eat this one marshmallow now, but if they waited 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallow.  Most of kids couldn’t wait and gobbled up the marshmallow right away, but some kids were able to wait the 15 minutes and got two.  They then tracked these kids through high school and into adulthood, and found some pretty incredible things.  The kids who could wait ended up averaging 210 points higher on their SAT skills.  Because these kids could practice delayed gratification- putting off something good now for something better later- they became better savers and investors and became much wealthier in life.  (from Richard Paul Evans’ “Five Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth.”) Continue Reading


How To Start A College Fund With Just $25

No Comments 23 September 2013

In my job as a talent agent, I get to cheat- I can ask advice from people who get paid oodles of dollars for a 60 minute speech, and they actually give me the answers.

Before Krista and I had kids, I asked a financial guru, Terry Savage, the best way to say for my child’s college. I assumed it would be expensive and complicated, but with vast amounts of time and money and mental acumen needed to start.

“It’s really simple, and will take you about 10 minutes and $25,” she replied.  I followed her advice and then forgot about it.  A couple of years later, we had our first daughter.  I remembered the college fund, and when I went to check on it, we had $1,000 saved up already!  College is incredibly expensive, and having a $1,000 head start is huge!  Here’s how you can do it:

STEP 1: Go to and set up an account.  Once you sign up, you’ll start noticing the UPromise logo everywhere.  Any time you buy from grocery stores, several restaurants, or even online at places like Target, Groupon, Best Buy and others, you get 1% to 8% into your child’s college savings account.

You can get a UPromise credit card if you want, but you don’t need to. Just register your other credit or check cards. You can also have your parents, aunts, uncles, etc, register their cards, and money will go into your account as well.  If you have other family with college savings accounts, those relatives can divide their amounts between several kids if they want.

STEP 2: Set up your 529.  Each state has one.  If there’s no tax benefit to joining your own state’s 529 program, is a great one to join.  You can start with as little as $25, and invest as little as $25 each time.  The money goes into a Vanguard account (a financial institution with incredibly low fees), and grows from there.

That’s it.  You’ll be earning money for your children’s college education practically every day without thinking about.

So what’s keeping you from starting today?


NOTE: I am not a financial advisor, this is just my personal advice.

PS: Terry has a lot of great stuff on her website, newsletter, social media, etc



No Comments 11 August 2013

Right before most people get their paychecks (at noon on the last day of the month and 14th, since most people get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month), I’ll be posting on twitter @premierebrian on how you can give a little and save a little from each paycheck.

For giving, I’ll share some of the organizations I think are doing a great job of helping others in this world, especially widows and orphans.

For saving, I’ll be sharing quotes, blogs and insights from experts like Michelle Singletary, Ron Blue, Dave Ramsey, Sami Cone and many more.

You can help your friends and family by retweeting these, too. If you’re giving and saving, they’re more likely to do the same.

If we are start giving and saving, just think of the difference we can make!

coca-cola, coke, money

25 Ways To Throw Away Money

No Comments 03 March 2011

Photo Credit:

Here is a cool article from Kiplinger on how people throw money away.

Interestingly, literally throwing away money in the trash to lose weight wasn’t one of them.

My wife Krista is actually really good about doing a lot of these things.  She has no hesitation to take anything and everything back to the store rather than let it sit, she hates late fees, buys generic foods (when appropriate- staying on the Coke theme, we will never buy Sam’s Cola).  Married a good woman, I did!

What are some ways you’ve learned not to throw away money?

coke, fat, money, triathlon, wife

Literally Throwing Away Money To Lose Weight.

3 Comments 28 February 2011

Q: So what’s this about throwing money away to lose weight in March.  You mean that figuratively, correct?
A: No, I mean that literally. In an effort to lose poundage and body fat, I’m going to crumple up a dollar bill and throw it in the trash every time I drink a Coke or a sweet tea in the month of March.  I also have to blog my justification out to you in blogosphere. (Just realized there are 31 days in March.  Should have come up with this idea for February instead.)

Q: Do you think throwing away dollar bills will actually keep you from drinking Coke?
Yes.  The idea of throwing away dollar bills makes me sick.  I’ve done this before with throwing away pennies when I bit my nails and quarters when I’d spend too much time on, and it seemed to work.  But I really love Coke and sweet tea, so I had to up the ante.

Q: Do you think your budget-crazed wife will dig through the trash to find the discarded money?

Yes.  Therefore, I plan to occasionally plant empty Coke bottles in recycling, especially when the trash is full and has gross/smelly things in it.  Marriage should be fun.

Q: Why not just put the money in a jar or donate it to Haiti or something.

That’s what my wife said.  But then I would end up trying to drink like 200 Cokes this month.  No, for this to work, the dollar bills have to serve absolutely no purpose, which is what makes throwing them away so wretched.

Q: You know, you could just work out more.
On May 2, 2010, I weighed in at 190.4 pounds, and 20.2% body fat.  Over the past 10 months, I’ve swam 43,525 meters (27 miles), biked 1,017.47 miles, and ran 247.1 miles.  This averages out to swimming just under 3 miles, biking over a 100 miles, and running almost a marathon a month (also throw in basketball and weight lifting).  This is low by triathlete standards, but should still count as an active lifestyle.  This morning, February 28, I weighed in 191.2 pounds and 20.4% body fat.  So, with all that, I still had a slight rise in weight/fat.  If the problem isn’t not being active enough, it has got to be diet.

Q: So you got nothing out of doing all training?
Actually, I got a lot.  I’ve gotten a little faster in running, faster in biking, and a lot faster in swimming.  I got to do the Ragnar Relay with several friends, and hopefully helped them get in better shape as well.  My heart rate is down to 60, and my cholesterol is great.  The only area that didn’t improve is the weigh/body fat, which is why I’m trying this.

Q: Did you start this plan one day early in order to get a head start on success?

No.  I got a sweet tea at the Chick-Fil-A drive through and got a Coke at lunch with a Dr. Pepper refill.

Q: I should ask- since you keep saying Coke, does that mean its OK to drink Pepsi?
First of all- yuck- Pepsi sucks.  Secondly, I’m from Indiana, so “Coke” is what we call any type of sweet soft drink.  I will get unsweet tea and probably some diet soft drinks, but as those don’t taste as good I probably won’t drink as much.  To satisfy the craving, I may allow myself a Jolly Rancher (23 calories vs. 240 calories in a 20 oz Coke) after a meal.

Q: But isn’t caffeine bad, too?
One of the best lessons I learned about dealing with addiction came from reading a Tom Clancy novel.  In one of the later books that they didn’t make into a Harrison Ford/Alec Baldwin movie (I’m intentionally ignoring the one they butchered starring Affleck), the main character, Jack Ryan, is so messed up by life that he become an alcoholic and chain-smoker.  His wife/doctor realizes this, and tells him, “Jack, you need to stop drinking, and if you need to smoke, please do it outside.”  He realizes her wisdom in getting him to attack one addiction at a time, and just try to control the other (smoking).  So, I’m trying to defeat this addiction, and control the other.  One thing at a time.

Q: When will this hurt the most?
When I get Mexican or pizza or go to a movie. Coke tastes so good then.

Q: What inspired you to do this?

A big part was actually my wife.  She hasn’t run or really walked since we had our second daughter four years ago, and this year she just finished her second 5K and signed up for her third next month. If she can make herself get active again, the least I can do is to change one thing in my diet.

Q: What happens on April 1?

I probably will have Coke.  I’m not trying to give them up forever.  I think I’m just trying to show myself that I can handle this.  I also want to test to see how much of an effect cutting out sweet drinks has on my weight and body fat and racing performance.

Q: Would you encourage other people to try this?

Yes, except instead of throwing away the money, they should send it to me instead since I gave them such an awesome idea.

Brian, thank you for taking the time to interview yourself today. 

M:  You’re very welcome.

Audience participation: So, how many pounds or how much body fat do you think I’ll lose in a month?  Is this a stupid idea?  How can I make it better?

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