Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Did someone move Abilene to the Southern Hemisphere while we were gone to Missouri? Yesterday, January 3, it was 87 degrees! I don't like hot in the summer--much less in the winter. I live for winter--when it's supposed to be cold, snowy, and depressive. When I came home from work, three middle school boys were playing hoops in our driveway. Guess what? I got invited to join! They were that desperate for a game of two-on-two. We had a blast, I didn't embarrass my son too badly, and today I only have one sprained wrist as a result. - - - - Tonight, Texas gets to claim their first national title since 1970. There is that small problem of USC, but hope springs eternal. Hook-em-horns! - - - - For a better 2006 . . . STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE The gap between what you really need and what our consumer society shouts out that you really need is growing rapidly. But that gap wouldn't matter if people couldn't pay to stretch themselves too far. And that's where credit cards come in. Enjoy now. Pay later. Slide the card. Take out the loan. Borrow just a bit more. And we ministers see the broken results all around us. People are in debt up to their eyeballs. They aren't free to do the things they want to do like respond generously when they see others in need because they have no financial margin. So here's the difficult truth: your children don't need cell phones; you probably don't need a cell phone; you don't need a health club membership; you don't need an expensive vacation; you don't need an SUV; your kids don't need the latest fashions; your family can survive without high-speed internet and cable. I'm not saying these are wrong. If you can afford them while living with generous hearts, then great. But they are not worth living without financial margin. STOP DIETING Whacky diets continue to come and go. Stop the starve-and-balloon diet process. Eat right. Don't overeat. Cut back -- WAY back -- on fast food. (If this is hard for you, check out "Supersize Me" and watch it every couple months. That should help.) Vegies. No secret there. Vegies, fruit, beans, nuts, lean meat (most of the time). But enjoy a steak. Slap on the butter when you want it. Just eat reasonably most of the time. Party on Friday. STOP OBSESSING ON THE LAST TEN POUNDS When anorexic models are plastered all over the covers of magazines, it's easy to obsess on getting rid of those last ten pounds. To be honest, that isn't very reasonable for people who are over 30 and can't hire a personal chef and don't have four hours a day to work out with a personal trainer. For health reasons, keeping weight down is usually good. But it's a huge leap from that to our obsession with being perfectly fit and trim. Part of what happens in a health club is, well, healthy; but much of it isn't. Find a work-out routine that works for you. Something to get the heart rate up a bit: jogging, climbing stairs, biking, walking, etc. Get into a regular routine. The goal here isn't to ditch those last few pounds (though if it happens, you won't be offended!) but to get your heart pumping a little harder. That releases energy that tends to spill over into other areas of your life.


  • If you like cold, snowy and depressive you could try Michigan. Today is forecast to be the 12th day in a row with no sunshine, though it's downright balmy at 40 degrees. (Tomorrow comes the snow and a bit colder temps just in time for a weekend of healthful "heart rate elevating" shoveling.)

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 1/04/2006 05:10:00 AM  

  • Sound advice, Dr. Mike!

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/04/2006 05:35:00 AM  

  • I'm with you on the cold weather...that dark, gloomy, perfect-napping weather...although that would require time to take a nap!

    By Blogger tine, at 1/04/2006 05:52:00 AM  

  • As a die hard Razorback, I was horrified to read "Hook 'em Horns" on a blog that I love to read! Ah, but alas, tonight we have a common enemy - USC. Just goes to show - given the right enemy - who will join ranks (Horns & Hogs) to slay the giant. Anyone have a slingshot handy?

    By Blogger Randy, at 1/04/2006 05:56:00 AM  

  • I just can't bring myself to say "Hook..." Nor "GO USC!" What a quandry I'm in as a Sooner fan this year. Guess I'll go out with the girls or something to take my mind off it.

    By Blogger Amy, at 1/04/2006 06:16:00 AM  

  • With half our grandkids in California and the other half in Texas, we could be a divided family for the game. Guess Grandma can ride the fence.

    Go UTUSC!

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 1/04/2006 06:34:00 AM  

  • Being a die hard Cornhusker fan (and it has been a hard couple of years), I must root for the Big12.

    Being a die hard food fan, I have chosen to follow the advice of Gary Richardson, minister at Westlink church of Christ in Wichita, KS. "Don't diet. Engage in an eating plan."

    Being a warm weather fan, I have moved to Florida!

    By Blogger tmthyjcbsn, at 1/04/2006 06:36:00 AM  

  • I understand your situation, Serena. However, my dilema is confined to my torn loyalties.

    USC? YES! So. CA school."Fight on, USC."

    UT? YES! New home state's school. As Mike says, "Hook 'em, Horns!"

    I'm really leaning toward my sunny Southern California team. [Said while avoiding incoming] ;) :O)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 1/04/2006 06:44:00 AM  

  • You think it’s hot in Texas, what till Texas is in California. I have $5,000 left on my last credit card and will bet any one that UT will bet USC and I will give 21 points. If UT loses I will eat my hat and that is after the 10 pounds of wings I will be eating during the game. No problem I start my diet tomorrow.

    By Blogger Clint, at 1/04/2006 07:04:00 AM  

  • Read these and liked them:


    ~ I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently, you have to show up.

    ~ If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up our body.

    ~ I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them

    ~ If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

    ~ The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

    ~ I don't jog. It makes the ice jump right out of my glass.

    ~ I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

    ~ I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

    By Blogger Emily, at 1/04/2006 07:18:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Thanks for wrecking my day. After I ate lunch at McDonald's, I was planning to go buy an SUV after I stopped by the Sprint store to get Emily a cell phone.

    About that two-on-two b-ball...
    When they get in High School you will be spraining ankles trying to keep up with their cross-overs.

    USC should win but could be upset if they don't play defense.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 1/04/2006 07:30:00 AM  

  • Did Mike Cope actually suggest surviving without high-speed internet? I'm going to re-fresh my screen and read that again!

    By Blogger Lane Smith, at 1/04/2006 07:48:00 AM  

  • I, too, live for the winter (and the fall, and spring...summer, eh). Something about cold weather makes coming home extra special. Walking in the door, feeling the warmth, shedding the coat & boots, grabbing a cup of warm coffee or tea--these are highlights that only happen this time of year. Yesterday I shoveled the four inches from the drive and snow. I love the snow on the limbs of evergreens and crisp, energizing air.

    87? Yuck. I've heard of people who like that, but I think the heat's gotten to them. There's a reason Scripture uses heat/fire as a picture of punishment. :)

    On the money thing: A quote from somebody on the radio once: "With credit, you borrow from the necessities of tomorrow for the pleasures of today." Good point.

    By Blogger James, at 1/04/2006 07:49:00 AM  

  • Mike, regular reader and always appreciate your diverse writings.

    I am a financial advisor, and regularly see the disaster that results from overspending. Capitalism runs on spending, and we are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, even when we shouldn't.

    Unfortunately, I see little distinction in my practice between Christian and non-Christian families. Money management and debt load seem about the same. Barna research seems to confirm this.

    I always tell clients in a financial bind that they have two choices: earn more or spend less. Nothing magical there, but a hard road to travel for many of us. Also (for families out there), own enough life insurance that your family can survive should God call you home. This is especially true if the mortgage is big, the car is not yet owned, and VISA has paid for your furniture and groceries.

    By Blogger Brian, at 1/04/2006 08:02:00 AM  

  • Lane - Up until now we haven't had high-speed internet at home. (We have at church, of course.)

    Serena - The critical thing here is that GRANDMA lives in Texas! Love the CA grandkids, but root for the horns.


    By Blogger Mike, at 1/04/2006 08:10:00 AM  

  • Currently 58 degrees about to head toward the MTA, taking the Blue Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line, get out walk 3 blocks to the shuttle that takes me to gate 6, walk a quarter mile to the driving range and the Longhorn Foundation Tailgate party. About 4PM into the stadium sit about 30 rows up between the 40 and the 45 in a sea of Burnt Orange and turn around and yell after every USC touchdown "Now who's your daddy?" But it will make for a long ride home back to Austin.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 1/04/2006 08:18:00 AM  

  • Headline.....Abilene....

    Cope has gone to medling....

    Just kidding of course. Very good advice all around.

    By Blogger Paul W, at 1/04/2006 08:29:00 AM  

  • Great comments on money (Mike and Brian).

    However, I would go a little further. Owing that money does not only dampen generousity, it controls your life.

    For example, debt will lock you into a job or career path so you can make the payments on all the stuff you've bought. In fact, some part of almost every decision involves debt as you determine whether you can or can't afford some course of action in your life. It affects us all far beyond the checkbook balance.

    Well, I'll leave the preachin' to the preachers.

    By Blogger abileneblues, at 1/04/2006 08:40:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Perhaps the reason that there is very little difference between Christians and non-Christians regarding consumer debt and money problems is that many of our churches (especially the wealthy ones) are only mirroring the larger consumer mindset. I worked for a very wealthy church that threw exhorbitant amounts of money at technology, facilities, and tremondous overkill items for small needs. Money was available for any whim, and this produced gross excesses in the overall church life, with very little benefit to the spiritual wellbeing of the community.

    So I agree with Brian that earning more is one solution to money problems, but only in that spending is locked or reduced.

    The real solution is systematic - we've got to develop atmospheres and a culture that don't assume that money in hand (or by credit) is for consumption only. The church, of all places, should be where this is exemplified. Unfortunately it is often not.

    Oh, and Boomer Sooner.

    By Blogger Cary, at 1/04/2006 09:06:00 AM  

  • Great post...

    Little by little I'm learning to manage life in the ways you suggested. Why does it take us so long to do what's best for us?

    By the way, canceled rehearsal tonight just so everybody could be home to watch the game. I NEVER cancel practice! They're all shocked.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Fresno in a couple of weeks.

    By Blogger Sandra, at 1/04/2006 09:26:00 AM  

  • I think Paul W.'s semi-joking comment about preachers or Christians in general giving financial advice - particularly from the pulpit - as "medling" actually has quite a bit of truth to it. Debt mgt. falls under the general category of giving for believers - most do a mediocre to lousy job at it - but they sure don't want advice or comments on the topic. Now, what was one of Jesus' highest teaching priority topics again? Starts with M, ends with Y.

    By Blogger KentF, at 1/04/2006 11:07:00 AM  

  • Mike I cannot bring myself to root for the Horns.

    Hope you still let me post on your blog.

    A sad Red Raider fan.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 1/04/2006 11:12:00 AM  

  • The 87 degrees yesterday was disgusting!!! We may have to buy stock in Kleenex after what that weather is doing to our nasal passages. I think our bodies know it's not supposed to be HOT!!! Yuck! I'm a temperate girl... not too hot and not too cold are just right for me.

    Good thoughts about money. What is amazing to me is to see how much children are influenced about money and spending by how they were raised. I love hearing Andrew say, "Mom, if we get X instead of Y, we could really save some money." YES!!!!!

    One thing that I've figured out with our family is that there are plenty of places in our lives where junk food will be served and available. Because of that, there really isn't a reason to BUY cookies, fat loaded chips/snacks, etc. to have tempting us in our pantry. We don't stick to this religiously, but we generally don't have lots of junk just sitting around. For me, if it's there... I'll eat it, if it's not there... I won't really even think about it... which is precisely why I'm sitting here at the computer eating candy leftover from stockings!!!! Blah!

    Of course, you know I like the exercise comments. I don't really like to workout alone, so I've got the classes I enjoy and a few people who will go walk with me and I'm set! Glad you said something about being over 30! Before I turned 30, I could eat pretty much whatever I pleased. What is so special about 30? Does it hold some magical power? "Ha-ha... you're 30 now... let me show you some jiggly pounds!!!" Truly disturbing. Oh, well... maybe I'll start looking for that personal chef.

    By Blogger Amy Boone, at 1/04/2006 11:32:00 AM  

  • Mike, you really hit home with this post. I have been reminded so much lately that we have too much....our whole society has too much and we complain when it becomes hard to get more stuff. We need to start shoveling out our stuff to people who need it and be more careful about our purchases. We have made shopping a sport and not just something we do when we need something....emphasis on need. We truly don't know what it means to need anything.
    Okay, the eating and exercise part speak to me also. You know that I walk often but being more careful about my diet (not dieting) needs to be my focus over the next year. I will continue to walk...that is my prayer time...exercise and time with God...amazingly priceless.
    Keep challenging us.

    By Blogger julie, at 1/04/2006 02:12:00 PM  

  • I may not be able to spel but I can pick a national champion. The eyes of Texas are upon you.

    By Blogger Clint, at 1/04/2006 09:30:00 PM  

  • Fabulous common-sense life advice. Sounds eerily similar to what Jesus and his compadres talked about!

    Hook 'em.

    By Blogger Jana, at 1/06/2006 10:25:00 AM  

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