Review This and That

reynzo-522685-unsplash My girl enjoying paddle boarding. Photo by Reynzo on Unsplash

“So what do you think?” I whispered to Mr. Divine as he suited up in a life jacket after the demonstration about how to use a paddle board.

“Not bad. The man answers questions with patients and tries to tell you everything you need to know. He explains potential problems and understands not everyone is at the same level.”

I nodded. “He runs a very tight ship. I like that.”

“So he goes on your list of people to approach about a partnership.”

“For now. I know you need to do your investigative wizardry to make sure the people who looked good were truly good.”

“I’ll get my man on it at once but for now let’s enjoy this.”

We spent the next hour playing on the paddle boards. The kids were truly enjoying themselves and after the time was up we went back to the car and got the picnic we had packed.

“So what did you guys think?” we asked the children. We hadn’t told them what we were going because we wanted an unbiased, unfiltered reaction.

Over the past few weeks, we had also been teaching them how to evaluate businesses, situations, events for business potential. Kylie was an ace at it so far but more than once Shane had revealed some truly amazing insights. In the quiet of the night when we talked, Mr. Divine noted that the children truly had the potential to dive into the business arena and do amazing and noteworthy ventures. They just needed to be trained to too at the things often overlooked by people on a daily basis. Believe me, they are getting the training.

Since the initial talk about making your money work for you, the children had been devouring information about business. Learning as much as they could about the stock market and how to choose stock. Right now, everything business caught their attention and they were always trying to come up with good business ideas.

“This guy is really good mom. Can we come again? He really knows his stuff.” They went on to explain what they thought about everything and why. The guys were on track and so were we.

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Business Boost

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I always make sure I put in the work to get my business right. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

For the last few days, Mr. Divine and I have been talking back and forth about what I want I want to do which my business. Well maybe do is to vague a reference. It was more about what we are trying to accomplish while I tried to develop new, solid business ideas to strengthen and possibly expand the business.

Since it started, the business has been getting steady calls to take groups on various types of hikes. Due to the fact we traveled quite a bit this year I hired another staff member of staff so I could have an extra person to keep on top of office work and make sure everything was running smoothly. By making that hire, things got better organised and we were able to add a few more hikes to our schedule. Now its time to see what else was possible.

“Okay,” I murmured as we sat down to talk one morning while the children were out visiting friends. “The company has a solid handle on the hikes. It’s now to consider what we can add to make things more interesting. I was thinking to add some other outdoor activities to our hikes, maybe by teaming up with some other companies.

“I love the idea of more outdoor activities but my worry is the other companies. Finding the right ones to work with is the hard part. Your company has a top rep. One wrong move by working with the wrong company and that could ruin you.”

“So we do intense research to make sure whoever we do work with has the values we agree with,” countered Lindsay.

Mr. Divine smiled. “Okay. What do you think is the best to add to the hikes?”

“From just doing some basic research I’ve been thinking of some related things like paddle boarding, scuba diving. Maybe some horseback riding. I also remember coming across a place that does zip lining.”

Mr. Divine nodded. “These are good additions. What do you think about adding a photography focused hike?”

“That sounds super interesting. In fact, I think it is something I would love to add to the business. But how?”

“I think we can do it the same way we do the hikes now but put more emphasis on stopping at key points to take pictures. You have to get your skills up with the camera showcase what elements they can discover. It would be a good way to draw their interest.”

“We will get all these things to come together and it would be a brilliant new addition to the business.”

I smiled as joy filled every inch of my being.

“Time to go out and figure out the best companies to collaborate with dear. Time to have some fun.

Business Mind

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Making sure my business work for me means knowing what my money is doing every day. Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Money and how I use it has been on my mind for the past few weeks and the next money related item in my agenda to tackle is my little side business. I have it on a separate account at the bank, but I think I need to make some changes.

Mr. Divine found me one afternoon making notes I’m going over the paperwork for the company.

“What’s up?” he asked sitting down next to me.

“it’s not so much that something is up but that I would like to set things in place so if that the money that is made by the company is allotted usefully.”

Mr. Divine urged me to explain what I had in mind. “I want to establish a salary for myself and the children so I can take the money that comes in and invest it like you do. I have some money that I put into an investment a while back but I have not added to it.

He listened as I continued to explain my overall vision. From there we started to toss ideas back and forth as we looked at the company’s income and what was the best course of action. By the end of our pow-wows, I was truly happy with the ideas we came up with and the decisions we made.

With a solid plan in place, we made appointments to go to the back and put systems in place to transfer the money to the various organisations where I needed them to go. We also took out a lump sum from the account to start the rotating investment plan that Mr. Divine explained to the children.

We visited the various financial companies that we planned to use and started the accounts that were needed. To do the three month rotation we figured out how to get things done while we were travelled and it was not as difficult as we initially thought.

“I’m so happy that we got that done,” I told Mr. Divine as we walked through the car park.

“Me as well,” he said pulling me closer. “Now we just have to look at the business and see if  there are any major changes you want to put into place before we have to leave and take the children to school.”

“Back to some major brainstorming to see what possible ways we can maybe up the business,” I said with a smile.

“Brainstorming. That is always non-stop fun. Let’s get going,” said Mr. Divine as we got into the jeep and headed home.

Book Review – Dating a Cougar

Dating A Cougar

The title of this book is what drew me in and when I finished the story I was so happy I discovered this new author. Dating A Cougar by Donna McDonald is the first book in the Never Too Late (7 Book Series) and it was so good I got the other books in the series as well.

The story is about Alexa Ranger, a former model turned businesswoman who after two decades of trying to find that special someone, finally throws in the towel. That was when a much younger and determined retired Marine Casey Carter entered the picture intent on becoming involved. Alexa tried to avoid being with Casey because of the age difference and all the other complications but sometimes how you want things to go is not how they turn out.

I loved this story. It was truly an amazing example of an older woman who is determined and ambitious and must battle through her uncertainties when it comes to the complications of love and relationships. The characters in the story are funny and combined with the pacing of the story, it allowed me to read it quickly. I recommend this story as a must read. In fact, I suggest you read the whole series. I did and loved every moment of if it.

So get a copy of Dating A Cougar and give it a read. Enjoy.

 

Money Lessons

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I had so much to learn about money and how to make it work for me. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I came home from visiting Noel to find everyone in the kitchen cooking. We got to talking and after I told them about the incident that happened while I was as Noel’s. It prompted a lesson about money and how to make it work for you. The conversation had the children’s full attention and when we sat down to dinner that was when the back and forth started.

As we settled down to dinner we continued to talk.

“So dad, explain how you made your money work for you?” urged Shane as we sat down.

“Well they are several methods,” he stated to tell us. “ Some low risk, some middle risk and others insanely high risk.”

“Which ones do you use?” asked Kyla as she poured salad cream dressing over her veggies.

Mr. Divine laughed. “All of them.”

Kyla smiled at his comment.

“I rotate my money between stock market investments, high yield accounts, money market and treasury bonds. I set money into fixed, high-interest accounts in cycles or fixed deposits.”

The kids looked at Mr. Divine confused as they waited for more of an explanation.

“So I have a business from which I get a monthly salary. From that, I established a budget. What I need to send each month to pay bills and survive and a little fun money. Then I have the money I plan to save and use for investment. I also have an emergency fund.”

As we ate he explained more. “For me, a cycle is every three months. I take the money I saved over three months then divide it into sections and invest it. Some I put into investments that mature in five years. Others go into the money market, another set into the stock market.”

The children sat there listening, and I could see Kyla had on her thinking face.

After Mr. Divine paused she started with the questions.

“So you have your investments set up that after the initial investment period you get a lump sum coming at you every three months. You can then re-invest it as is when it matures or add on money that you set aside to invest.”

Mr. Divine laughed in delight. “And you, my dear, are thinking like a successful business person.

We spent the rest of the night talking about investing and investments. How to manage them. The risks of the stock market. Making smart investments. Overextending yourself. It was an educational night. Not just for the children but for me as well.

The next day I dragged Mr. Divine with me to the bank. We looked at my account and the children’s accounts. Next, we removed three-quarters of the money from each account and make our way to the credit union and investment broker. It was time to make our money work for us.

Money Madness

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Talking over dinner.

When I got home from my visit with Noel, I found Mr. Divine in the kitchen cooking dinner with the kids. From the looks of it, we are going to having some type of stir fry chicken with baked sweet potato with salad.

“How was your day, honey?” asked Mr. Divine as he stirred the pan on the fire.

“It was good. In fact, the best word for it would be interesting.”

He paused mid-stir. “What happened?”

“Well, while we were talking Noel got her bank statement in the mail and that was when the drama got epic.”

“Over her bank statement?” said Mr. Divine. “What did they do?”

“Had five dollars extra in the maintenance fee charged to her account. Then when she finally found a number of calls on one would answer. She had to press the extension for wealth management to get an answer.”

Mr. Divine’s jaw dropped. “Yikes. That’s….unheard of.”

The children watched us, listening to my explanation of what happened. As I continued the story I could see Mr. Divine becoming very disturbed by what he was hearing.

“That sounds insane. When I call the bank I never have that problem.”

“And I bet your account is under business or wealth management and you have a specific person you talk to about your account. Someone who knows you and sees to your every need.,” I said as I climbed onto the stool in front of the bar top that extended from the countertop.

He nodded as he mixed the pasta into the chicken and veggies he had stir-fried. “I see what mean.”

“So what’s the huge difference,” asked Kyla as she cut vegetables for a salad. Shane handed her the leaves of lettuce he had washed and continued on to the other veggies and fruits he had on the counter close to him.

“The way bank staff deals with you basically. Your dad has a direct line to someone in the bank and they scramble to help him but when most of us call the bank its a different story. We have to hunt for a number firstly. Then we call and call but no one answers the phone.”

Kyla looked at me shocked. “Really!”

“Sadly yes,” I replied. “That why Noel is so against banks. Nowadays its fees, fees and more fees and little or no service.”

“So what can you do?” Shane dried his hands and moved to stand next to Kyla while he asked the question.

“It’s about being very strategic with your money. Making it work for you,” said Mr. Divine.

The kids looked at us confused. “What does that mean?”

Bank On That

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Never a boring moment with my friend, Noel. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I went to visit my friend Noel after I came back from my trip to Europe to just relax and catch up on how things were going. While we were sitting there, her mail came in and I speak talk she opened the letters. When she ripped open the last one her growl of frustration filled the room.

“These people get on my last nerve,” said Noel as she waved the letter in her hand from side to side.

“What’s the matter?” I asked and she pushed what I soon realized the bank statement towards me.

“Look at that,” she said pointing to a particular line on her statement. What she was showing me was the line that said maintenance fees and the corresponding entry that said twenty dollars. After I read it my eyes widened.

“What? Why so much?” I asked looking at what she was showing me. “What bank is this?”

She pointed to the letterhead.

“I don’t bank with them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had similar fees on my statement. Those banks. When one starts something the other quickly follows.”

“My question is what is the point of the bank nowadays? In the olden days you at least used to get a bit of interest from them, but nowadays if you if you get two cents added to your hundred dollars it’s a miracle.”

I laughed. “It’s not funny,” I said as I tried to hold in my laughter. I took a deep breath. “In fact, it is sad how true it is.”

“It’s so bad that they don’t even have the branch’s telephone number on the correspondence.”

“Yeah. I noticed that on my correspondence as well. Also, the fastest thing they can tell you is to go online.”

“One minute! They charged me twenty dollars. I only went to the bank three times. They owe five dollars. I’m going to call them now and sort that out.”

The fire was in Noel’s eyes. It was on now.

Next Step

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My children love Berlin. Love, love, love it. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

While we were away indulging out wanderlust we were keeping track of the next steps we wanted to take in our lives but we were not about to let that distract us from having a good time. The news we had been waiting for reached us during our three-day stopover in Berlin. Kylie got several emails about grades, school and the scholarships she has applied for. From there we put things into place while we continued our trip through Europe. All the necessary information was forwarded to the schools the children wanted to go to so things would be in place when we got back home.

The trip became even more exciting now we got the news about the kids going to the schools of their choice. As we traveled we allowed the children to the take the lead more so they could strengthen their navigation skills in a big and times more complication environment. They helped each other, figuring out how to uses maps and find out information in a country where they didn’t speak the language.

“I’m really enjoying this mom,” said Kylie as she tiptoed and looked through the crowd to see more of the stalls set up at Kunstmarkt, a huge flea market in Berlin.

“There is so much history and culture here. I think going to school here would be a lot more interesting than the US.

Mr. Divine laughed at her remark. “That is probably very true. We can check and see if your university offers a study abroad program. Another option is to do your Master’s Degree or make sure your first job is in Europe.”

“Can I do that?” she asked excitingly.

“Yes,” Mr. Divine replied as she held his arm and looked up him in awe.

“It’s time for both you and Shane to dream big and discover the world. Strengthen your language skills and travel.”

The kids looked at each other and nodded. Their excitement visible. They both had their sights set on choosing a new skill they wanted to discover and develop, plus the fire to go after it. I can’t wait to see what language or languages they choose.

 

Discover Europe

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Artwork and architecture on a building in Milan, Italy.

Mr. Divine has brought us on a trip across the pond and when we drove out of the airport we were all smiles. Yes, the kids and I were beach babies, but we also loved to explore and discover. Right now we are in London with its blend of old and new all hidden in countless nooks and crannies just waiting to be discovered. It called to use us to explore. First, we took a tour on an opened top double-decker bus all around the city. From that, the kids took a note of the places they wanted to revisit.

 

We visited so many spots. Somehow we got in more than ten of the must see places to visit. As we bid London goodbye, Mr. Divine took a note of our sad faces.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be back again soon,” he assured us as we boarded a fast train to Scotland. When we got to Edinburgh we took in the crisp, fresh air, eager for more to discover.  We started on the Royal Mile and just rambled. After several hours we had visited The Writers’ Museum, Queen Mary’s Bath House, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Victoria Terrace and of course the Scotch Whisky Experience. The next day we took a day trip to  Loch Ness that also stopped at Glencoe and the best part is that it allowed us to discover the Highlands. The vistas we saw were truly breathtaking.

The trip didn’t end there, in fact, it had only just begun. We spent the next three weeks roaming through Europe. First, we went to Paris, then to Madrid, across to Barcelona, a stop in Marseille to see the views from the Basilique Notre – Dame de la Garde. In Monaco, we went to Jardin Exotique and Palais du Prince. We continued ongoing from one major city to the next until we had seen most of Western Europe.

We had the most amazing time on that trip and the truly amazing things we saw changed our opinions and impressions of the world. I’m sure there will be other trips like this in the near future and I can hardly wait until we all go to another. Along with the discovery and adventure, we enjoyed the togetherness and uninterrupted family time. It’s an experience we will never forget and are eager to repeat.

Road Trip

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The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

After the cruise, Mr. Divine decided to take us on a road trip along the West Coast. Restarted in San Francisco, riding around on the tram to check out all the hot spots. The view of the bridge was amazing and we took it in from three spots, Battery Spencer, Presidio Park and Mackenzie Beach. After that, we hit the usual spots, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. It was just the start and we couldn’t wait to see where we went next.

The kids and I spent the rest of the trip in joy overload because we got to see so many different places. We stopped off that Monterey Bay Aquarium and also took the time to do some whale watching. It was truly breathtaking to see those majestic animals in their elements. We visited Santa Barbara, Malibu and Los Angeles along the way and each spot was discovery and adventure amplified to levels unknown. Amazing and magnificent were such bland words to describe what we did.

By the time we got to San Diego, we were exhausted but happy. We checked out all the sights and by the time the final day of our trip rolled around, we were walking around with huge smiles. After all that driving we spent a few days in a lovely hotel just relaxing and being pampered. Kylie and I enjoyed several spa days and the boys went off and had guy time. Mr. Divine and I had some couple time, including a stimulating couples massage. My man truly takes care of me.

As we turned up at the airport I was kind of sad our trip was over. We followed Mr. Divine through the airport taking a spot and got some lunch. As we moved to catch our flight it clicked to me that I wasn’t seeing any flights to take us home.

“Honey, where are we going?”

“On the next part of our adventure my love. Time to discover something new.”

The kids were in awe and so was I. We were on our way somewhere else to continue our vacation and we could hardly wait.