I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Saturday, June 30, 2007


Some folks ride the train of life
Looking out the rear,
Watching miles of life roll by,
And marking every year.
They sit in sad remembrance,
Of wasted days gone by,
And curse their life for what it was,
And hang their head and cry.
But I don't concern myself with that,
I took a different vent,
I look forward to what life holds,
And not what has been spent.
So strap me to the engine,
As securely as I can be,
I want to be out on the front,
To see what I can see.
I want to feel the winds of change,
Blowing in my face,
I want to see what life unfolds,
As I move from place to place.
I want to see what's coming up,
Not looking at the past,
Life's too short for yesterdays,
It moves along too fast.
So if the ride gets bumpy,
While you are looking back,
Go up front, and you may find,
Your life has jumped the track.
It's all right to remember,
That's part of history,
But up front's where it's happening,
There's so much mystery.
The enjoyment of living,
Is not where we have been,
It's looking ever forward,
To another year and ten.
It's searching all the byways,
Never should you refrain,
For if you want to live your life,
You gotta drive the train.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Anger, when channeled into the pursuit of change, can be a useful tool in our emotional palette. Anger is experienced by most people, some more than others. It is when anger has no outlet and morphs into resentment that it carries with it the potential to cause great turmoil. Allowing us to assign blame for the pain we are feeling, thereby easing it, resentment tends to smolder relentlessly just below the surface of our awareness, eroding our peace of mind. The target of our resentment grows ever wicked in our minds and we rue the day we first encountered them. But resentment is merely another hue on the emotional palette and therefore within the realm of our conscious control. We can choose to let go of our resentment and to move on with our lives, no matter how painful the event that incited it. Hanging onto resentment in our hearts does not serve us in any way. Successfully divesting ourselves of resentful feelings can be difficult, however, because doing so forces us to mentally and emotionally confront the original source of anger. When we cease assigning blame, we realize that our need to hold someone or something responsible for our feelings has harmed us. We thought we were coping with our hurt when in fact we were holding onto that hurt with a vice grip. To release resentment, we must shift our attention from those we resent back toward ourselves by thinking of our own needs. Performing a short ceremony can help you quell resentful feelings by giving tangible form to your emotions. You may want to write down your feelings and then burn the paper and close your ceremony by wishing them well. When you can find compassion in your heart, you know you are on your way to healing. Free of resentment, we have much more energy and attention to devote to our personal development. We can fill the spaces it left behind with unconditional acceptance and joy. And, as a result of our subsequent freedom from resentment, blessings can once again enter our lives as the walls we built to contain our anger have been demolished.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


When Friendship or Love
Our sympathies move;
When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
The lips may beguile,
With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection's a Tear
Too oft is a smile
But the hypocrite's wile,
To mask detestation, or fear;
Give me the soft sigh,
Whilst the soul telling eye
Is dimm'd, for a time, with a Tear
Mild Charity's glow,
To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear
The man, doom'd to sail
With the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer,
As he bends o'er the wave
Which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a Tear;
The Soldier braves death
For a fanciful wreath
In Glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe
When in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a Tear.
If, with high-bounding pride,
He return to his bride!
Renouncing the gore-crimson' d spear;
All his toils are repaid
When, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the Tear.
Sweet scene of my youth!
Seat of Friendship and Truth,
Where Love chas'd each fast-fleeting year
Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd,
For a last look I turn'd,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear
Though my vows I can pour,
To my Mary no more,
My Mary, to Love once so dear,
In the shade of her bow'r,
I remember the hour,
She rewarded those vows with a Tear.
By another possest,
May she live ever blest!
Her name still my heart must revere
With a sigh I resign,
What I once thought was mine,
And forgive her deceit with a Tear.
Ye friends of my heart,
Ere from you I depart,
This hope to my breast is most near
If again we shall meet,
In this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.
When my soul wings her flight
To the regions of night,
And my corse shall recline on its bier;
As ye pass by the tomb,
Where my ashes consume,
Oh! moisten their dust with a Tear.
-=-=-=-=-=-= -
by Lord Byron

Wednesday, June 27, 2007



On this day, HIV testing sites and AIDS service providers around the globe will participate in events for National HIV Testing Day. These activities will include health fairs, community education, special events, and extended testing hours.

National HIV Testing Day is critical to the fight against HIV/AIDS because it presents an opportunity for people nationwide to learn their HIV status, and to gain the knowledge they need to take control of their health and their lives. National HIV Testing Day also provides an invaluable opportunity to dispel the myths and stigma associated with HIV testing, and to reach those who have never been tested or who have engaged in high-risk behavior since their last test.

More than one million persons have HIV and many do not even know it. With improved treatment and care, people are now living with HIV/AIDS. However, this life saving treatment never reaches people who do not know they are infected. Knowing your HIV status is the best way to help win the fight against AIDS.

Monday, June 25, 2007


As women embrace the fullness of who they are as individuals, they may find themselves supporting other women, helping others to reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom that they themselves have found. Among those who are less sure of themselves and their place in the world, it may be more common to criticize other women than to seek their help. But there are things that a woman can only learn from another woman, as there are things about being a man that can only be learned from other men. We all recognize that we have much to learn from each other regardless of gender, but sometimes we could use a supportive role model that gives us a more precise example of what and who we can become. There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women. It is only natural that the pendulum swings out of balance for a while so that we may have the experience of what we do not want. It is up to women to bring the pendulum back into balance and bring back the sacred sisterhood we yearn for at our core. If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are refuges for the insecure. As we help others to become self-assured, we create a world in which all people help each other, regardless of gender. Only women can make the change in how women are seen and understood, not just by other women but by the world at large. The way we speak about each other to other women and to the men in our lives informs everyone to treat us with the respect that all women, and all people, deserve.

Sunday, June 24, 2007





Saturday, June 23, 2007


A cheating man can cause tension in any relationship. Everyone hopes their partnership is built on trust, but what happens when that bond is broken and you suspect your boyfriend is cheating? Here are a few signs:

  1. Suspicious Computer Activity - These days, it's easy to meet men in chat rooms, forums or on instant messenger. Have you seen a suspicious name in your IM window or an unknown chat site in your browser history? A little digging can go a long way. Be careful trying to be a super snooper, though, and give your man space. It's just as easy to meet friends online as it is love interests. Your partner may just be reaching out for other gay people to talk to.

  2. Sudden Changes in Schedule - Some men may be spontaneous, but most of us keep a set schedule or standard routine in some form or another. This is especially true for day-to-day activities. Has your man's routine suddenly changed without you knowing why? Did his working hours increase or does he have a new gym schedule? Things often change in our lives. In turn, we decide to try and impress our bosses by working overtime or resolve that it's finally time to get into shape. But what raises suspicion is how these changes are communicated to you. Was the decision made without your input? Was there an attempt to include you? Are there any signs of progress?

  3. Emotional Distance - It's normal for the intensity of your relationship to decrease after you've been together for a while. There may have been a time when you couldn't bare to leave each others' sight and now you both enjoy your time alone. This isn't a sign that he is cheating, only that the relationship is starting to settle into a loving and comfortable phase. Nonetheless, take note of any emotional distancing. Has he stopped listening or laughing? Does he seem distant or spacey, almost as if he's preoccupied? Take note if your partner is there physically, but not quite "there" mentally.

  4. Less Time Together - Just as the intensity of a relationship dwindles slightly over time, so may the time you spend together. But spending less time with each other shouldn't be confused with spending no time at all. Don't react too swiftly. Who knows, his company may be ready to close on a huge deal and they need him around the clock. Or there may be some other legitimate circumstance that demands his attention. Many huge time commitments like these don't last for long periods of time and make sense. He may be working 14 hour days, but does he also leave home on weekends? Look for the unreasonable and unexplainable time commitments.

  5. Instinct - Mother always said follow your instincts and this is a time when that motherly voice can come in handy. If your gut tells you that something is wrong or that some other guy has captured your man's attention, then go with it. But take caution with how far you follow these feelings. Ask yourself if they are legitimate concerns or if you yourself are lacking trust.
These tips are not meant to turn your trusting relationship into a game of hide and go seek and there are always exceptions. Trust first, but do not ignore the warning signs. If there are just too many inconsistencies for comfort, then communicate them to your man directly. Do not let him hear of your suspicions from a friend. Also, try not to be accusatory. Simply tell him how his behavior makes you feel. He may be dealing with other issues that have nothing to do with cheating on you with another man.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Life is meant to be shared with someone you love. But the first step in love is dating to find that special someone. Nonetheless, WE SAME-GENDER-LOVING MEN are at a disproportionately high risk for HIV infection and finding LOVE in these times are risky and difficult. It’s alarming to say the least but statistic show that one out of every two men you meet has HIV. This is a sad fact that 25 years into the AIDS pandemic the numbers getting bigger and bigger and the odds are stacked extremely high against us. It would be nice if this disease had some way of being seen with the naked eye but it’s not. We are told that we should PROTECT OURSELVES EVERY SINGLE TIME. NO GLOVE, NO LOVE. RAP IT UP! Doesn’t this mean that we have to assume every SAME-GENDER-LOVING-MAN that has sex had at least been exposed to HIV, if not had full blown AIDS? If that’s the case; should we be having SEX, DATING or seek a LONG-TERM-RELATIONSHIP? I know that sex cost and is it worth it? WE can decide to become CELIBATE, but how realistic is that? From the beginning of time our soldiers that fought on the battle lines took their freedom via sex, so how or why would it stop now? I HAVE NO PROBLEMS HAVING SEX, DATING or SEEKING A LONG-TERM-RELATIONSHIP with an individual that has H. I. V. ~ A. I. D. S. I would admit that I wouldn’t throw myself into any of these situations with such eagerness and enthusiasm without being EXTREMELY cautious and adhere to the SAFETY SEXUAL GUIDELINES that can ensure that I am not in contact with this disease. I know that I will be called crazy and my actions seen as suicidal, but tell me aren’t persons that have this disease just like any other person that has a long term illness? I know this is a complex situation because we are not only facing their mortality but we are facing ours as well, and this is frightening. But I think that we need to handle this situation with delicate care and attention, we have to find ways and means to co-exist on this planet. But what is the etiquette of dating someone with HIV or AIDS? What are the safety issues for me as the negative sexual partner? These thoughts occurred to me and I wonder how does one handle a situation such as this? I say start slow and go out on a few dates and see where things go. If you dig him and he digs you, then sit him down and discuss what the options are in this situation. It wouldn’t hurt you or him and who knows this could the ONE, the LOVE that you were waiting for, LOVE is LOVE and HIV or AIDS does not diminish it. But before this stage can be reached WE need to make OUR BROTHERS and SISTERS feel comfortable and open so that they can tell us what their status is. So often too many of us live as if this doesn’t exist and just go on like it doesn’t matter. There is a stigma placed on persons that have this disease and we are not making it any easier for us to move forward and destroy this disease once and for all. Do you know how many HEALTHY CARRIERS are out there? I believe that the cure is in the disease itself, but if we keep losing persons how can that happen? Don’t you think it makes sense to try and safe guard OUR SEX? If we are REAL with ourselves we would recognize that we will always have SEX no matter what. We start out with a unrealistic or uncertain plan to be 100% safe, but as the night goes on and the drinks go down and the men start looking better and our desire for sex or just simple human contact starts to kick in, we lower and lower our resolve. We bargain with our lives and rationalize ourselves into risky situations we regret later. THIS DISEASE HAS TAKEN SO MUCH FROM US! I SAY IT IS POSSIBLE FOR GAY MEN TO FIND HARMONY IN A RELATIONSHIP WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT H. I. V. ~ A. I. D. S. THE PROBLEM IS WHEN ONE OF THE PAIR SNEAKS OFF FOR A MIDNIGHT SNACK AND BRINGS BACK HOME SOME CRUMBS. Frequently discuss the status of your relationship and talk about any desires to browse through the cupboards. Because sex is so unpredictable, always keep the lines of communication open. Isn’t it easier to be with someone knowing what they are dealing with? WE BARGIN and SEEK MEN ON THE SEXUAL PLAYGROUND ALL THE TIME, MOST OF WHICH NEVER DISCLOSE THEIR STATUS. WE GET ALL CAUGHT UP IN HIM and DON’T LET HIM POSSES 1/8 OF WHAT WE WANT IN A MAN; WE TEND TO MISJUDGE THE SEX and DON’T SEE THE CANDY. I SAY HALF THE BATTLE IS WORRYING ABOUT WHO HAS IT or WHO DOESN’T, WOULDN’T WE BE HALF WAY HOME IF WE EMBRACED OUR H. I. V. ~ A. I. D. S. INDIVIDUALS AND SEEK REAL RELATIONSHIPS? I AM NOT ENCOURAGING PERSONS TO ONLY SEEK THESE INDIVIDUALS; NOR AM I ADVOCATING THE POSSIBLE SPREAD OF THE DISEASE, I AM JUST SAYING THAT NAIVETE IS VERY DANGEROUS. SO IN MY OPINION IT’S CRAZY TO ASSUME THAT IF WE DON’T F&CK, DATE or LIVE WITH AN INDIVIDUAL THAT HAS THIS DISEASE THAT WE ARE SAFE FROM IT. I SAY IT’S QUITE THE OPPOSITE, THERE ARE PERSONS OUT THERE THAT HAS NO IDEA THAT THEY HAVE IT, OR KNOW AND DON’T WANT TO TELL OF THEIR SITUATION. So if you are exposed to the disease you worry and panic. But not to worry this is 2007 and we have many options and factual information that did not exist twenty years ago. We know that it is a lot harder than we thought to get infected. Simple exposure alone to HIV is not usually enough to cause transmission. Certain other factors which are too many and theoretical to discuss now must be present. What is more important is that you know what to do in that critical situation. It’s a matter of EDUCATION and MATURITY to realize the possibilities of a LONG-TERM and LOVING RELATIONSHIP with an H. I. V. POSITIVE PARTNER. IF WE ALL REMEMBER THAT H. I. V. ~ A. I. D. S. DOESN’T DEFINE WHO WE ARE, WE STAND A BETTER CHANCE OF ENHANCING OUR LIVES AND GETTING ONE STEP CLOSER TO ENDING THIS FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, the conclusions we come to are seldom unaffected by our own fears and our own preconceptions. Additionally, our judgments are frequently incomplete. For example, wealth can seem like proof that an individual is spoiled, and poverty can be seen as a signifier of laziness—neither of which may be true. At the heart of the tendency to categorize and criticize, we often find insecurity. Overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear is a matter of understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance. When we catch ourselves thinking or behaving judgmentally, we should ask ourselves where these judgments come from. Traits we hope we do not possess can instigate our criticism when we see them in others because passing judgment distances us from those traits. Once we regain our center, we can reinforce our open-mindedness by putting our feelings into words. To acknowledge to ourselves that we have judged, and that we have identified the root of our judgments, is the first step to a path of compassion. Recognizing that we limit our awareness by assessing others critically can make moving past our initial impressions much easier. Judgments seldom leave room for alternate possibilities. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” If we are quick to pass judgment on others, we forget that they, like us, are human beings. As we seldom know what roads people have traveled before a shared encounter or why they have come into our lives, we should always give those we meet the gift of an open heart. Doing so allows us to replace fear-based criticism with appreciation because we can then focus wholeheartedly on the spark of good that burns in all human souls.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


As human beings, we cannot help but be subject to our preferences. However, we do have control over the manner in which these manifest themselves in our lives. Every value we hold dear is an expression of either support or opposition, and it is our perspective that determines whether we are for something or against it. As an example of a situation we are all familiar with at this time: We can direct our energy and intentions into activities that promote peace rather than using our resources to speak out in opposition of war. On the surface, these appear to be two interchangeable methods of expressing one virtue; yet being for something is a vastly more potent means of inspiring change because it carries with it the power of constructive intent. When you support a cause, whether your support is active or passive, you contribute to the optimism that fuels all affirmative change. Optimistic thoughts energize people, giving them hope and inspiring them to work diligently on behalf of what they believe in. Being for something creates a positive shift in the universe, which means that neither you nor those who share your vision will have any trouble believing that transformation on a grand scale is indeed possible. To be against something is typically easy, as you need only speak out in opposition to it. Standing up for something is often more challenging, because you may be introducing an idea to people that may scare them on a soul level. Throughout your life, you have likely been told that the actions of one person will seldom have a measurable impact on the world. Yet your willingness to stand up for what you believe in instead of decrying what you oppose can turn the tides of fate. The thoughts you project when you choose to adopt a positive perspective will provide you with a means to actively promote your values and, eventually, foster lasting change.

Monday, June 18, 2007


WE FIND OURSELVES GUILTY OF DEGRADING OUR COMMUNITY by supporting hurtful images that portray negative images of us. WE FIND OURSELVES GUILTY OF DEFAMING OUR WOMEN AND MEN by not respecting the perfect diversity, that each of us brings to the community. WE FIND OURSELVES GUILTY OF ACCEPTING DISRECPECT by patronizing churches that put forth demeaning and disrespectful images in our community. WE FIND OURSELVES GUILTY OF NOT STANDING UP by allowing the world to diminish who we are and what we are really about. However, to this I say that WE CAN END THIS TODAY, we can do what it takes to bring the PEACE and HORMONY that those before us was trying to achieve. I know that A. I. D. S. and H. I. V. has shattered and destroyed the community, but it is up to us to pick up the pieces and not let those before us die in vain. I find it sad that we are not PASSIONATE about OUR well-being and survival. I find it disenchanting to know that we do not have that FIRE deep inside of ourselves. I find it hurtful that we do not approach LIFE’S circumstances and challenges in a real way to both others and ourselves. We stifle our creative side and do not express ourselves in depth and knowledge. I would think that WE all know that the time for silence and holding back are long gone, WE need to stand proud and take our place in the sun. At this stage of life, we should be RUNNING FREE and EXPLORING LIFE with perseverance and consistency. WE have the inner ability to strive on and proceed in POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND excelling to higher heights. The world knows that if WE STRIVE ON WITH PASSION, LET WISDOM BE OUR GUARD, AND LET UNDERSTANDING BUILD OUR CHARACTER we will shine in OUR TRUE BEAUTY with SINCERITY and PURITY. WE RE THE HIDDEN TREASURE WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED; we hold the key to the door that WE locked ourselves. I WANT US TO REMEMBER THAT THE POT CANNOT TALK ABOUT THE SKILLET BECAUSE BOTH OF THEM ARE BURNED UP. WE CANNOT ACHIEVE ONE~NESS WITH JUST OUR LITTLE CLICKS AND CREWS. WE CANNOT ACCEPT THE SCRAPS FROM THE TABLE OF LIFE AND SAY ITS GOURMET WHEN WE KNOW THAT IT IS NOT. WE NEED TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT JUST HOW MAN CAN’T LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, WE CAN’T LIVE BY F&CKING OVER EACH OTHER AND TEARING DOWN OUR FELLOW SAME-SEX BROTHER OR SISTER. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE A STRONG, UNITED AND COLLECTIVE FRONT; THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO ENSURE OUR SURVIVAL…

Sunday, June 17, 2007


If I was one thing,

I want to be my father’s son.

Just for one day, for once in my life…

I would not stumble over,

Things blocking the path to an open door.
He would light my path,
Even strong winds; my light will not deter.
He will cheer me up when I am blue.
And keep me when times get tough.
Assuring me that he’s always here,
In my heart; close and near.
But alas; he blew out my candle,

For my one wish, he did not make true.

He left me behind,

And did not leave his light to shine.
He may not be here;

But in his heart,

The light I give will not depart.

If it takes forever and a day,

I know that he will come my way.
So I say farewell for now;

I am needed but not here,

Only when his path is dark

He can have me near.
I am not gone; just unseen.
I would not leave; I am not that mean.
Only one simple request that I must say,
Please, never forget who is your son on this day.

So I would hold on to the memories when we first meet;

It was just the beginning,
We never got an ending.

I know that you love me,
Deep inside your heart you do.

You have shattered my world like a glass
And that has to hurt you too.
So I sit by the clock,

As silence fills my loneliness
My heart growing in pain,
That tears every senses of my life.
This heart swells in deep agony,
But there is nothing I can do

But burn with this desire

To tell you that I love;

And wish a happy father’s day.
© tgk

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Often in life, men fall prey to the idea of a woman’s love rather than actually experiencing the real thing. We see this at play when they are out in public and in the love lives of our friends, our family, and even fictional characters. The concept, depiction, and pursuit of true love are multimillion-dollar industries in the modern world. However, very little of what is offered actually leads to an authentic experience of love. Moreover, they grasp for what they think they want and fail to find it; and they suffer because of it leaving themselves in the wasteland. When this is the case, they have suffered more than they realized and it is certain that what they have found is not love but something else. I see them all the time out with what they think is a PRIZE on their arms; all smiles and but not happy at all. They are anxious, and nervous; never realizing that they probably did not get beyond the romance stage of the relationship. Romance can be a lot of fun as long as we do not try to make too much of it. If we try to make more of it than it is, the romance then becomes painful. Romance may lead to love, but it may also fade without blossoming into anything more than a flirtation. If we cling to it and try to make it more, we might find ourselves pining for a fantasy, or worse, stuck in a relationship that was never meant to last. Do you think these men realize that REAL LOVE is identifiable by the way it makes us feel? How many of them know that LOVE should feel good? There is a peaceful quality to an authentic experience of love that penetrates to our core, touching a part of ourselves that has always been there. I wish that I could tell them that TRUE LOVE activates this inner being, filling us with warmth and light. An authentic experience of love does not ask us to look a certain way, drive a certain car, or have a certain job. It takes us as we are, no changes required. When people truly love us, their love for us awakens our love for ourselves. They remind us that what we seek outside of ourselves is a mirror image of the lover within. In this way, true love never makes us feel needy, lacking, or anxious. Instead, true love empowers us with its implicit message that we are, always have been, and always will be, made of love.

Friday, June 15, 2007


NUTRITION: This is the most important component to achieving a flat stomach. Nothing is more important than food. First, you'll need to control blood sugar levels in order to lose body fat. This is best accomplished by consuming four to six meals per day. Don't mistake the definition of a meal for a six-course extravaganza. A meal might be an egg white omelet (with vegetables) and oatmeal with some blueberries in it, chicken with one-half cup of rice and a large salad with some oil and vinegar, an apple with a scoop of protein powder or cottage cheese with some fruit. Get the picture? I'm referring to them as meals, but they're actually feedings. Each of the meals is comprised of protein, a little carbohydrate and a little fat. In some cases, the fat is built into the protein. In other cases, it's added to the meal. For E-Diets members, this is already accomplished in your meal plan.

RATIOS: It's unlikely that you'll get tight abs and a flat stomach by consuming 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Ratios can vary quite a bit, but consuming more than 55 percent of your calories from carbohydrate will not be optimal for fat loss. Many people do quite well on extremely low carbohydrate plans and others on more moderate plans. As long as you follow the no more than 55 percent of calories from carbohydrate rule, you'll be at a good starting point.

TIMING: It (the body) doesn't care if you want to lose fat. In fact, your body would prefer to keep fat in order to accomplish its number one goal of keeping you alive in case of a future famine or drought. Always consider the body from the inside out and not the other way around. In order to control blood sugar, eat every two to three hours throughout the day. When using the most effective nutrient ratios, this helps to control blood sugar (which, in turn, assists in body fat loss).

CALORIES: It doesn't matter how healthy your nutrition program is, it's important that you find maintenance calories first. Maintenance represents the amount of food you consume without any change in your weight. This will take some experimentation and some effort. You'll also need to document your foods: total calories as well as grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Sounds like a lot of work? Yes, it is! However, you only have to do a few weeks of hard work. After that, you'll have your personal formula for success.

SLIGHT CALORIC DEFICIT: After you have found maintenance, simply reduce your calories by 200. Our goal is to have you eating as much as possible and still losing fat and retaining muscle. I don't want you eating as little as possible (thereby slowing the metabolism and losing valuable muscle tissue). The first week, you may lose 4-6 pounds of water. After the first week, you should only lose about 1.5 pounds per week. The goal is to preserve muscle and make your body a metabolic inferno. If you're not losing up to 1.5 pounds per week (it will fluctuate week to week), then reduce calories by another 100. Then, monitor your progress after one week. You'll probably be right on track.

CONSISTENCY: You'll need to be on this nutrition program six days a week with one day being somewhat of a cheat day. Unlike many, I'm not a big fan of the "cheat" day. I find that people tend to use it as an excuse to gorge themselves. So, on Sunday for example, you're allowed to have some pizza, a bit of ice cream, etc. But nothing extreme! When you pig out, blood sugar levels can be elevated for seven hours or more. This will absolutely halt your body fat loss and actually backfire.

WEIGHT TRAIN: At this point, you should be aware of the importance of resistance training. Just three to four workout sessions lasting no more than 35 minutes to an hour will do the trick. For every pound of muscle on your body, you'll burn 30-50 additional calories per day. Part of your program should include abdominal exercises to strengthen and build the abs. That way, when you achieve your low body fat level, your abs will be tight.

CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Perform three to five days per week of moderate cardio exercise for approximately 30-40 minutes. During two of the days, you can exercise at a higher intensity level to accelerate fat loss -- but, only if you reach a sticking point. If you're a beginner, then remember to increase gradually. Do this consistently, keep adjusting calories SLIGHTLY (with the help of our nutrition support staff and the specific nutrition program you selected from the site) and change your routine every three to four weeks. You will get a flatter stomach!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The journey that each human being makes through earthly existence can have hardship as often as it is touched by joy. In truth, there is no situation so dire, no challenge so great, and no choice so bewildering than the argument over capital punishment. Here in the Bahamas and all of over the world we have persons that have their lives cut short or end abruptly by the hands of another. I firmly believe that NO ONE dies before his or her time, this is all apart of GOD’S GRAND DESIGN, and things just play themselves out like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. I cannot understand or comprehend why murder and other social ills plague our planet in the way it does but I know somehow some way that this is all for a purpose. LIKE THE MAXTRIX SAID, ‘THE CHOICE HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE; WE ARE HERE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND IT.’ I love that quote because it says so much about how our lives progress and what goes into shaping them. I do not doubt for a second that the bum on street is meant to be that, I do not doubt that people are going to be poor; in this same vain I not even for a moment doubt that the social ills that we battle with are suppose to be there. Life is precious and tender and we should appreciate it as such, but we spend so much time not caring about each other that it makes me sad to think that we only feel for our fellow man when they are no longer around. I BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING ON THIS PLANET SHOULD BE SACRED AND ADORED. However that is not the case, and the worst thing that can happen to us is the lost of love via the hands of another. I in no shape, form or fashion uphold the thought or notion of an individual taking away someone’s life; in the same vain I am not an advocate for them being killed for doing as well. Now the strange thing about is that I am not in support of capital punishment but I at the same time understand why we have persons that are. Nonetheless, my focus is on SOUL RETRIBUTION and getting to the root of the problem. It is my personal belief that CAPITAL PUNISHMENT does not solve anything; it just gives the public what they think they want and PERMANENTLY removes the worst criminals from society. This makes PERFECT sense since it is evident that dead criminals cannot commit any further crimes, but what happens to the ENERGY that is created by this act? Does killing a killer cancel out that energy that he created? Or is this energy further compounded because we the people want resolutions to problems that were created long before the act itself? It is a well-known and documented fact that convicted murders have troubled childhoods and thus are mentally scarred for life. SEXUAL, VERBAL, MENTAL and PHYSICAL ABUSE are just some of things that are handed out to individuals that grow to commit acts of murder and alike. How can we not see how broken our world is when you have persons walking among us that need help and we do nothing to correct the situation? Our first instinct is to kill because that’s what they did, but doesn’t that make you just like the persons that made them this way in the first place? The thing is that when society is seeking payment for what WRONG was done they try to justify themselves and soothe their souls by thinking that this right thing to do in the name of RETRIBUTION. It is said that our prisons are crowded and it’s drain on the tax-payers, they go on to say how this system doesn’t deter criminal activity on this level. They feel that we need RETRIBUTION and it is to be done by any means necessary as long as the criminal is taken out. But does the death penalty deter further criminal activity? Even though it is hard to prove one way or the other; so if you are bitten from a snake isn’t the cure anti-venom which is made from the venom of the snake the bit you? So in my opinion THE DEATH PENALTY IS FLAWED AND DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. It makes society think that they have control over this activity when it was born long before it got to this stage. I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE NO BAD PEOPLE IN THE WORLD; WE ARE ALL A PRODUCT OF ELEMENTS THAT WE’VE MET HERE AND THEY ARE THE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE OR BREAK US. And no one takes into consideration what hell the innocent family and friends of criminals must also go through in the time leading up to and during the execution and which will often cause them serious trauma for years afterwards. This is no way trying to away from the crime they committed but honestly think about it, this is a double whammy and this is more of a burden to bear. How can one not realize that this it is very difficult for persons to come to terms with the fact that their loved did such a thing? I say, HOWEVER STONGLY YOU MAY SUPPORT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE ONE RIGHT! One cannot and should not deny the suffering of the victim's family in a murder case but the suffering of the murderer's family is equally valid. I know it’s difficult but we must remember that criminals are real people too and society continuously put this thought on the side lines only thinking about the awful activity that was done. Thus they only want one thing and it makes me wonder if this is for them or the person that they lost? Why are they so hell bent on seeking this sort of comfort and we all know that there is no such thing as a humane method of putting a person to death? Every form of execution causes suffering and its very terrifying; and a gruesome ordeal. How can they overlook the extreme mental torture and suffering that is placed on such a human being? How can they really feel good about RIGHTING A WRONG in this manner? So this means that A DEATH FOR A DEATH indicates that things are all good and fine? Do they think that the victim is smiling and saying thank you, my soul is at peace? I THINK NOT! The death penalty is the bluntest of "blunt instruments," it removes the individual's humanity and with it any chance of rehabilitation and their giving something back to society. It’s scary to think that persons out are just out for BLOOD and disguise it as JUSTICE. Do you think they sit back and think yeah mission accomplished? ONLY UNTIL THE NEXT CRIME IS COMMITTED THEN THE WITCH HUNT BEGINS. Do they realize that the death penalty can’t deter worst murderers because they are typically psychopaths and filled with such dubious sanity that they are incapable of rational behaviour due to linkages in their past or present? SO THE HANDFUL OF EXECUTIONS HERE AND THERE DOES NOTHING BUT APPEASE THE MASSES FOR A TIME. I know that if they were to declare ware on criminals in this fashion we would see a rapid decline in serious crime but at what cost in human terms? I GUESS CRIMINALLY INCLINE HUMAN BEINGS ARE THAT SICK AND EVIL. If the general conclusion is that capital punishment is desirable, I wonder if in another hundred years we will, as a world still has capital punishment or whether we will have evolved technological means of detecting and correcting potential criminals before they can actually commit any crime. Punishment will remain popular with the general public as long as there are no viable alternatives and as long as crime continues its rise. Logically, however, punishment of any sort cannot be the future and if we hope to progress we have to find other means of dealing with this social ill. Until the utopian point is reached, I think that we will continue to see the same things being done to solve this problem. I will never accept the fact that the majority of people who support capital punishment do so for sadistic reasons but rather out of a feeling of desperation that they are overwhelm by such activity that they cannot deal. But to that I say, WE ARE ONLY HEALING A PORTION OF THE PROBLEM; IF WE WERE TO THINK LONG-TERM, I THINK THAT WE WOULD SEE THE FUTURE CLEARLY.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


HAVE YOU NOTICE WHAT A FAIRYLAND WE LOST WHEN WE STOPPED BELIEVING IN ETERNITY? If to-day the word Eternity was written in the sky or placed on billboards around town, everyone would be gazing at it try to recall what it used to signify. The word reminds us how we used to slip away from hurry to bathe in a sea of timelessness, refreshing to every taut nerve. In eternity, we should be no longer the puny spawn of monkeys, but beings good, great, and glorious as angels. Eternity is filled with shining lights, with majestic figures from the past walking its wondrous streets. Our physical self on this planet has so many burdens on our souls and we have no control over its demands. As a result, many persons unconsciously long to escape the confinement of their bodies opting not to deal with the discomfort and rigors of their day-to-day existence. Nonetheless, we inhabit our bodies for a reason and there is a lot we can learn in this human body that we could not have grasped had we remained in spirit form. Thus, this is a vital plateau in the progression of becoming enlightened beings. Now it seems that no one believes we live after we die. We all live as if what happens here just haphazardly occurs and there is no connection to anything, but I beg to differ. Our survival on this planet came because we maintained dominance over everything around us and it is such a shame that we now are trying to dominate each other. I cannot say that I blame because ETERNITY does not exist and we are ALL insignificant beings on this earth. Hence, why should BEINGS like us go about loving each other as if we were GODS? Why we waste OUR time caring for OUR fellow man whose breath of wind can be snuff out like a flame? So I wonder how is it we have lost OUR ETERNITY? How did we loose the thing that OUR SOULS are tied to? We have forgotten that we will leave our physical selves behind to return to our original state, we will enjoy a supreme sense of freedom-yet we will always value the time we spent on earth. So why live as if we do not want to live forever? Why don’t WE see the BIGGER PICTURE? The world is sad really, we have lost eternity, and we cannot seem to bring it back. Oddly enough, we do not want to bring it back, we have discovered some way of being comfortable without it. So I ask, why not have a little patience with ourselves? We poor devils who have to bear all the brunt of the transition from life to eternity, if we promise not to corrupt ourselves. It is such a pity that we cannot safely play in this chapter of life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


We GAY VOYAGERS came into this world handicapped by the very life that we are given; only to be taunt and teased by the thoughts of happiness that dangles rigth before our eyes in the form of IGNORANCE. This ignorance shows itself everyday and my friends and I got a taste of it this past Saturday while out enjoying each other’s company. There was this boy that proceeded to bodly say that we are THE CONCH SALAD CREW. Now I heard him and stopped him dead in his tracks and he was quite shocked and puzzled because he thought that he’d met a group of TYPICAL GAY PEOPLE; HELL NO! He met GAY VOYAGERS that knows that THIS SH!T IS OURS AND WE OWN THIS B!TCH…LOCK, STOCK AND TWO F&CKING BARRELS…But interesting enough, he seems to have the notion that when he visits, he is the prince of this kingdom living in the land of fun @ our expense. Such a silly boy, does he know that the fact that he came to OUR kingdom that makes him one of us? Does he know that from that moment on whether he stayed or left we knew that he was OURS? This human soul demands respect and it’ll sacrifice individuals to achieve such a cause. Little does he know, but we are all the same and we all have the same desires in life. Nonetheless, I am constantly astounded by the contrast between my view of HIM and his view of HIMSELF. Acceptance is the bridge that connect him between INGORANCE and INTELLEGENCE. He knows deep in himself that in truth his opinion suffers from the lie of the label he place on it. But he isn’t alone, the world is against us as well. We belong to them no longer our own; we are slaves of their own self-doubt. In their minds we are just the chattels of life, the whisper in the air. But our unshackled egos on that day showed him our true voice. We took the road that talked and HE got OUR message loud and clear; WE WILL NOT PAY THE PENALTY OF BEING UNIQUE, OF BEING AN ANOMALY IN THIS WORLD! I’ve waited for this day and in the past I use to allow myself to just take this HATRED and say that it’s ACCEPTED and EXPECTED because of MY SEXUAL PREFERENCE. So now our time has come and our day of PRIDE came and I was happy to be apart of it. The light of HOPE that I sought for years on end finally shown down on us and we finally removed the eyelids that might cease to see the flashing mystery of darkness that surrounded us. Funny how I had walked this road many times and never had this outcome; now the tables have turned and it’s my turn to finally get what I’ve been yearning for. For far too long my world lay in mist; engulfed in a fog. Now I am watching the sun steadily shining through, shredding the mist of ignorance and hatred. For far too long I was like an infant lying helplessly while demons played hide-and-seek with my soul. Now I stand in HIS sight naked of all accidental social trappings; VICTORY IS A B!TCH. this moment is HEART-REVEALING especially when I think of the crimes and inhumane things committed in the name of rightoeusness. I WAS BORN BENEATH A BANNER I DID NOT CHOOSE, BUT LIKE MANY OTHERS LIKE MYSELF, I HAVE GROWN FROM A MERE INFANT TO A STRONG HOMOSEXUAL MAN. I NOW KNOW WHY I FELT DISTRAUGHT WHEN THE ANGELS OF BIRTH DROPPED ME IN THE TENTS OF THE UNFORGIVEN, THE UNLOVED…THE UNWANTED. I THANK GOD EVERYDAY THAT I AM WHO I AM, FOR THIS VERY REASON I AM A WHOLE AND RECONCILED BEING.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I am ANGRY at the way OUR WOMEN are too often at the receiving end of violent acts from OUR MEN. I AM ANGRY at a system that pays lip service to women's rights but remains powerless to do anything about it, a system that turns away women who report that men threaten them and attempts to trivialize it. A system that is reluctant to involve itself in what is perceived as a lovers quarrel or a system that does nothing when there is a threat in the work place. Whey do we seek to justify how women are treated by theorizing that it must have been a romantic situation gone sour for a man to do abuse and or take her life? Why do we seek to justify how women are treated by accepting the thought that if a woman is working among men that she has herself to blame if she is sexually attacked or harassed? Why do men think that they have the right to whatever they feel to a woman? What gives them the inclination that this is ok and the norm? These MEN and their EGOS get the better part of them and just continuously feed it with NEGATIVITY and SH!T. and everyone knows that is a combination for disaster and nothing good can come from such elements. Yet still women are afraid of being women and have to exist in such a world with these fools; talk about THE JOYS OF BEING A WOMAN…But truth be told, women are not really afraid of anything, but pretend to be. Think about it, if women were actually afraid of serpents, would the Tempter have chosen that form to entice her in the garden of eden? But men would rather see a woman as fearful of him because it affords him the opportunity to seem superior at her expense. However there are few women out that doesn’t partake in this notion and challenge men on what they think is their turf. These women would rather not surpress themselves and meet these men head on. But I try to understand why women would suppress herslef in the frist place? I can help but to wonder if on some level women to this for the same reason they surpress their physical powers? Nonetheless, whatever the reason she it makes difficult for women that want to take their rightful place in society. They made sure that MEN felt that his brain is inferior and not even equal, to a woman's. with this notion he now believes that that ALL WOMEN want to be MEN; but why would any woman want that for herself? I am a MAN and I know that we MEN are self-distrutive creatures, who would never have discovered OUR so-called powers if not stimulated by woman's weakness. We think that WOMEN are better suited to be fitted with jewels and alike because of her so-call DELICATE PHYSIQUE. And this whole situation actually shows that women are superior. Do you think that MEN realize that they they mostly get their knowledge from their mother as little boys? Do you think he understands that he employs her genius to secure his growth and development? I guess he doesn’t know that she conceals his education from him as the only practical way of developing his self-esteem? With this notion WOMEN keep MEN guessing, making sure she is always one step ahead of him. In this vain showing that MEN always take themselves seriously as children, growing up to be frighten MEN. A man never wishes to be a woman; if he did who would he take advantage of? Maybe if he did he wouldn’t be such an ASS to the ones he meets that refuse to be what he wants them to be. Sadly he loves knowing he is the nightmare in the little girl’s dream; he loves knowing that he is taunghting her and preying on her innocence; magnifying that into adulthood. He especially LOVES that he turns out to be the man that lurks in every darkened doorway, or the man that follows her in an uncrowded parking lot…TRULY BECOMING THE DEMON IN HER DREAMS. A MAN KNOWS THAT A WOMAN’S INTELLECT FAR EXCEED HIS. HE KNOWS THAT NO WOMAN WOULD PUT UP WITH HIS CLUMSY BRAIN, KNOWING SO THE SUPEREXCELLENCE OF HER OWN. WHY SHOULD WOMEN BE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS TO BEINGS THAT FEAR THEM? WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE THE POWER? WHY SHOULD HAVE THE CONTROL AND CALL THE SHOTS?

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Isn’t funny WE have no sense of history?

No passed down culture;

No anchor to keep us from floating away.

There is no yesterday

And today is dressed in a designer clothing line

Sold as tomorrow.

We are disconnected. In one way, it is good.

We are able to make our own realities,

We are not locked into a perpetual cycle

Of what has already been.

However, we are locked in different cycles.

The vacuum has been filled.

It has been filled with crap.

Try to break the disconnect;

Stop poking ourselves in the eye.

Why I am I the connect?

Why am I stretch between two growling dogs?

Why can’t the future and past meet?

Why can’t we be of something?

We are lost beings going in random directions

Looking for something meaningful

But just end up at the barstool of life;

Surrounded by corpses.

Why don’t we know that the beautiful things make us?

Why I grind my teeth in anger?

Why do these things make me see that…?

Nothing is anything.

Tell me, is this normal?

Is this human?

Hell, I have no idea.

No one ever admits truth anymore

It pins them down,

They get uncomfortable,

And do something typical.

This is killing me.

This life is so obvious.

Too weak; too easy.

Nothing more than a tamed jalapeno,

Some of the flavor and none of the fire.

Maybe things get lost in translation,

Maybe things should get broken in shipping.

Maybe people get broken on the journey.

Maybe the fun part of life is trying to glue each other back together…

And the cycle goes back to the beginning.
© tgk

Saturday, June 9, 2007


As a consumer, you face many choices on how to manage your money. Knowing how to manage money can help you make smart choices. Your money will work harder for you. You will be more likely to avoid traps that can undermine your ability to attain your financial goals. You will be in a better position to pay off debt and build savings. Being smart about money can help you buy a house, finance higher education or start a retirement fund. A money management game plan can help you get started and stay with it until you achieve the goals you set for yourself.


A few simple steps can make a big difference in making your money work harder for you.


Use the work sheets directly below to help you identify your goals. Print them and fill them in.

Without goals, it is difficult to accomplish anything. When you think about your future and what you want to achieve, it is helpful to establish a timeframe.

  • Short-term: such as paying off credit card debt, saving for a vacation or buying new clothes.

  • Intermediate: such as saving to buy a car.

  • Long-term: such as saving for education or for retirement.

Estimate the cost of each goal and the date you want to achieve it. Then figure out how much you need to save each month. Try to set realistic goals and saving requirements.


Now that you have figured out your financial goals, you are ready to create a budget that will help you attain them. Print the budget work sheets below and write in your budget figures. Start by writing down your expenses (under Current Monthly Expenses).

MONTHLY FIXED EXPENSES – start with monthly fixed expenses such as regular savings, housing, groceries, utilities, and car payments. Put these continuing obligations under the heading: Fixed.

Use checking account statements, credit card statements, receipts and other records to help you complete this estimate. Be realistic - it is better to estimate high than low.

Remember that savings is considered an expense even though you keep the money. You work hard. You deserve to keep some of what you earn every month. Savings is the key to meeting your financial goals.

Make estimates for all money spent - regardless of how you pay: cash, check, credit card, debit card, automatic checking account withdrawals or savings through work plans such as retirement packages.

MONTHLY VARIABLE EXPENSES – once you have noted all your fixed expenses, write down your expenses that vary each month such as clothing, vacations, gifts and personal spending money. Put these expenses under the heading: Variable. You might have these expenses every month, but the amount you spend could change.

Get a handle on variable expenses by writing down every expense for a month - even small purchases. Use a small notebook or other informal method to track your spending. This is very important because it is the best way to understand your current spending behavior. Get receipts for all purchases - especially those you make with cash. Record and categorize each transaction. You may be surprised at how much you spend in certain categories.

Use a notebook to write down every purchase you make for one month. This is the best way to understand your current spending behavior.

List your monthly income

Now that you have figured out your expenses, write down your monthly income after all taxes and deductions. Write this under the heading: Monthly Income. Make sure this figure reflects the total take-home pay for your household after all taxes and deductions.

NOW COMPARE EXPENSES TO INCOME – one of the advantages of doing a comparison of expenses to income is that it provides a quick reality check. If you are spending more than you are bringing home every month in income, you have a deficit. If you are spending less than you are bringing home, you have a surplus. In either case, it is time to step back and consider some options.

If you have a deficit: Spending more than you are bringing home, ask yourself:

  • Can I spend less in some of my variable expenses?

  • How much interest am I paying with credit card and other loans?

  • Where did my money go? (Consider writing down everything you spend for a month.

If you have a surplus: Spending less than you are bringing home, ask yourself:

  • Am I saving enough to meet my goals?

  • Are my spending estimates accurate?

  • Have I included all my fixed and variable expenses?


An estimated seventy-five percent of families will experience a major financial setback in any given ten-year period. The economy and the job market are good now, but that could change. It is smart to be prepared for financial thunderstorms.

SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN – a consistent, long-term saving program can help you achieve your goals. It also can help you build a financial safety net. Experts recommend that you save from three to six months worth of living expenses for emergencies.

Savings grow beyond what you contribute because of compound interest. Over time, the value of compound interest works to every saver's advantage.

For example, if you save $75 a month for five years and earn five-percent interest, the $4,500 you contributed would grow to $5,122 because of the compounding interest.

It is easy to figure out how long it will take you to double the money you save. It's called the Rule of 72. You take the interest you are earning on your money and divide that number into 72. The result is roughly the number of years it will take your principal to double.

For example, if you are earning 5 percent on your money, you divide 72 by 5 and you get 14.4. Your principal will double in 14.4 years without further contributions.

Keep in mind, however, that inflation reduces the return on your money.

For example, five percent-interest, adjusted for three-percent inflation, only nets a two-percent real return.

WHAT YOU DON’T SEE, YOU DON’T SPEND – saving means giving up something now, so you will have more in the future. It is not easy deferring or eliminating purchasing things you want today.

It helps to pay yourself first. Take a portion of savings from every paycheck before you pay any bills. Use your company's payroll deduction plan if available. Arrange for a fixed amount to be taken out so that you never see it. What you do not see, you do not spend. You also can direct automatic checking account withdrawals into a savings account or money market.

Join the company's retirement-savings plan. Your contribution avoids current taxes and accumulates tax deferred. In addition, companies sometimes match some of your contributions.

For example, for every dollar you contribute, the company could contribute 25 cents. That would be a 25-percent return on your money.


  • When you get a raise, save all or most of it.

  • Pay off your credit card balances and save the money you're no longer spending on interest.

  • Shift credit card balances to a card with a lower interest rate and use the savings to pay off the balance.

  • Keep your car a year or two longer. Do routine maintenance and make regular repairs.

  • Save the money you would have spent on a new car.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Take $5 from your wallet everyday and put it in a safe place. That will add up to $1,825 in a year.

  • Shop with a list and stick to it.

  • Don't buy any new clothes until you've paid off your current wardrobe.

  • Eat more meals at home.

  • Look for inexpensive entertainment: zoos, museums, parks, walks, biking, library books, concerts, movies and picnics.

  • Shop for less expensive insurance.

  • Drop subscriptions to publications you don't read.

  • Postpone purchases or consider fewer features on the items you plan to purchase.

The less you spend, the more you can save. Moreover, the longer you can consistently save, the faster your savings will grow.


Experts recommend paying with cash whenever possible. This helps you spend less than you otherwise would have spent if you had charged the purchase. You will also avoid credit card interest charges and check-cashing fees.

APPLYING FOR A CREDIT CARD – when you choose to apply for a credit card, shop carefully. There is a wide range of annual fees, interest rates, grace periods for which you do not pay interest, late fee charges, cash advance charges and other fees. Watch out for "teaser" rates that offer low rates initially but increase dramatically soon after.

To get a card with a low interest rate, you will first need to pay down your current debt. Second, let a year go by without applying for any new cards or loans, or accepting a higher credit limit on your current cards. Third, cancel cards you are not currently using. As a rule, limit yourself to two credit cards. Fourth, get a copy of your credit report and check it for accuracy.

CREDIT CARDS – Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are revolving-credit cards. You can charge up to a certain limit and carry most of the balance forward from month to month. Be careful about only paying the minimum amount due. This is a very expensive form of credit because of interest charges. The best rule is to charge only what you can afford to pay off in full every month. Then actually pay the entire balance when you get the bill.

When you are paying down credit card debt, start with the card with the highest interest rate. Pay your bills as quickly as possible.

ATM cards (Automated Teller Machine) are debit cards. They automatically withdraw money from your account.

Some consumers prefer to use debit cards rather than credit cards because debit cards don't incur interest charges.

PAYING OFF DEBT VS. SAVING – if you have credit card or other debt, it usually makes sense to pay off this debt first before contributing to savings. The interest rate you will get on savings is likely to be far less than the amount of credit interest you are paying.


Once you have set goals, estimated your fixed and variable expenses and identified monthly savings targets, it is time to put your plan to work.

Give it some time. Then see how you are doing. Were you able to meet your savings goals? If so, stick with it. If not, look at your variable expenses for opportunity areas to cut back spending and increase savings.

Evaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments as needed. If you are not saving enough to meet your monthly goals, you may need to spend less.

Saving is the key to successful financial plans. Use payroll deductions or automatic transfers to checking, savings or money market accounts. It is easier to save if you never see the money.

Use budget plans for paying utilities if they are available. Use cash for purchases rather than charging if you can.

Enter each check you write in a check register. Balance the account every month. If you use a debit card, enter those amounts in your check register.


Creating a safety net is easier if you work with a good financial institution such as a credit union or bank.

Interview employees at several locations; look for people who are willing and able to answer your questions. Be ready to talk about the services and the advice you need.

For example, if it is important to you to conduct transactions face-to-face rather than by Automatic Teller Machines (ATM), ask if the financial institution charges for the services of a person at the counter. If you prefer to use ATMs, make sure they are readily accessible and do not charge transaction fees.

Once you select a financial institution, consider opening a checking account if you do not have one. A checking account can save you fees you may now be paying for cashing your paycheck and paying your bills.