A little advice on reaching goals in life

If you’re like me, you want SO many things, there is always a next best new thing you’re waiting for, looking to purchase, hoping to accomplish etc. For me, a few things, I always have a ‘next big purchase’ in mind, something I’m super concentrated on, like my D90, or the caliber before it, or the Nintendo Wii even before that. I started looking at these things and pining over them months  and even years in advance. I guess this shouldn’t be a blog just about getting what you want, but I think there is ‘good’ in the process, theres nothing wrong with wanting stuff, or fulfilling a life dreams and such.

I sorta figure, sure, you can get almost anything you want in life or be any place you want, you just need to aim yourself in that direction. Its like riding a bicycle, if you look straight, keep your eyes on the path, generally you follow that path, if you start focusing on a tree off to the side, your body usually follows where your head / eyes are pointed. So, if you want a new camera and you can’t afford it now, aim yourself in that direction, start doing things that will get you to that point. Talk to friends, maybe they will know someone with a second hand camera, or know of deals, start saving money (you’ll need money in this world for just about anything you want to do), start doing little things which can become bigger things as you get closer to your goal. A bigger life goal for me was to move to and live on Prince Edward Island. I think for a long time I held this up as a pie in the sky dream, then at some point in our marriage I thought,.. if I want to live there, this may indeed be the only opportunity to move and if Lindsey is willing, we would need to go there now. Why now? Now is before kids, before we had purchased a house (something you can’t move or sell real easily), before we were UBER attached to wherever we were at. Once those things get locked in, its harder and harder to make a big move like that. Lindsey agreed and we started pointing ourselves in this direction, agreeing that if there ever was a time, it was now (6 months ago). I’m super happy to say ‘We did it!’. Its a big milestone for me, something I wanted to do for a long time. Its beautiful here on the Island. And though we don’t QUITE feel at home just yet, I think we will soon. Once we get our own house (another big goal in our lives that we’re now pointing in the direction of), we’ll feel much more like we have our feet planted here and settled. SO, steps towards that goal are searching for houses, knowing our max mortgage limits, understanding our financial limitations, knowing what sorts of financial loads we can bear, searching for good locations, talking about what we want in a house and how long we might plan to stay there.. forever? 10 years? Just what are we thinking exactly.  So we’re quickly moving in that direction and HOPEFULLY by this time next year, we will have our very own place, thats the plan and goal anyways 😉 Things often change though, we need to stay aware of our finances, what will make sense for us, the logistics of where we are and where we will need to be.

Did I forget to mention God in all of this, I suppose I did. For these big things, God is totally involved so we seek wisdom from Him, pray His timing on it and His will. Ultimately, if we do something that isn’t within His circumference of will for us, then that won’t be good. With smaller things, God like says ‘sure, whatever, you are the steward of the money I provide’ for things like cameras. And He doesn’t intend to spoil our fun on purchasing gadgets and other fun things. For things like houses which are considered ‘good’ investments, I think He cares a lot more, especially when we want to use it for Him, and we do!

And speaking of goals, buying things for ourselves, which is what this post happens to be all about, we also need to consider others. Had a good sermon by P Josh last night on ‘giving up our inheritance willingly for temporal things’. You can watch it on ustream here: www.ustream.tv/recorded/2567108

Thinking on that, its kinda funny looking at all the stuff I just wrote but.. suffice to say, God doesn’t mind if we have good stuff, He is our father and He blesses us with resources so that we can have good stuff. The point is, are you using at least a portion of those resources for God, if not all in some way shape or form. Example, you have a house? Maybe you can host a local bible study or allow someone in need to come in out of the cold or have a warm meal. If you own a car, do you help others get around, are you willing to drive people to church on a sunday that do not have a car (we’re not perfect and our attitudes were definitely not perfect all the time but we were able to use our car for things like this). If you have a nice camera like the D90? 🙂 Maybe you can be the photographer at a community event to provide pictures for a website or the newspaper.  Are you blessed with skills, you can use those for His glory, there are so many ways to live for God, maybe that thing that you love, that hobby, that toy, that video game system can be used for Him someone. Maybe ask Him what you can do for Him with the stuff yo have, often you’ll be able to use in some way those exact things that you thought were just for your own personal enjoyment!

Solar Heating Calculations

I FINALLY found a site that has a great little calculator for BTUs so I can figure out what my little solar furnace is producing.

Here is a great Watt / BTU / Joules / everyting calculator:
www.mhi-inc.com/Converter/watt_calculator.htm

To calculate the ball park figure for what your house requires for heating:
www.valorfireplaces.com/education/btu_calculator.php

Here are the numbers:

Picture 2

So basically, my little solar panel is heating half a percent of our house,.. hey, thats not bad for free :). That equates to $13.50 of fuel savings a year 😛 .. Ok, not that impressive. How about the fullsize 4×8, this calculates out to $216. Now we’re saving some tangible money. I have two of these units, so in theory I could be saving $432 a year. (this is based on spending $2700 on oil a year for heating / hot water, may be more or less).

Because I got the solar panels free (originally solar hot water panels, converted to hot air), the cost here is the solar panel and the fan to pump out the air. The panel is $10, and the fan (brand new) is $16. So the panel itself would be paid back in months. Getting stuff for free is great!

Will write more later.

Solar Energy Update

As an update to my projects, I now have 5 3.2 watt solar panels purchased off ebay for a decent price…. ok, well I guess it came to $4/watt all told, shipping and such.

I now have fully charged our cellphone on it, am currently charging my razor, and will have a list of things to charge with it. The one thing about it is you have to scheduled your charging. It can’t really handle more than one item at a time, as the 4 panels I have on the solar electricity unit only make up 12 watts *IF* they are pulling in maximum energy which is almost never the case because of clouds, tree branches etc. The things I’m charging require from 2 watts to 8 watts so one at a time allows for decent use of the system. Really helps me understand what the real life implications and requirements are for a system. Its max power output needs to well overshoot your consumption requirements. Not sure if there is a rule of thumb but likely you would need a system with 1/3 more max power then you think you need to allow for shadows, rainy days etc. Also depends if you have some other kind of power like wind which may be able to pull the weight during lower sun output times. Great fun testing none the less. To get my whole office off the grid, i would need, min 150 watts, I would likely need a full 180 watt industrial panel for that operation, that costs about $1000 (600 – 700 for the panel, other money for a charge controller that will handle more than my 7 amp one)

On my solar heat project, it works great with a 3.2 watt panel attached to a 1 watt 2.5 cm vent fan. My box only holds 12 cans but for its size it really works great. Consistent 30 degrees C temp (which isn’t uber hot) allows the fan to constantly warm the air in the room by sucking it in from the bottom and pushing it out the top 10 degrees higher, so thats great for zero money spend currently other then the price of the panel and fan. I just need to scale this up and I do have panels in the garage for this but no place to really put them as i can’t do anything to the house in terms of holes and I would need to mount them on the house for this to work…

I’d like to make several little window units and place them around the house in the south facing windows and they would just gather heat as it was available. Not sure the impact is measurable currently with this unit but it seems to require less action from the furnace… so who knows. I need to calculate the BTUs of it and see how long it would take to raise the temp in a room one degree… hm, maybe I’ll review that today…

stay tuned!

Beans, Hogs, and Bible Prophecy