After the recent weeks of rain, I returned to my plan for removal of the pine straw and  leaves that blanket my yard during the fall and winter seasons each year.  I have a great many large pine trees, along with quite a few hardwood trees.  My plan to take care of this problem is to attack every two weeks beginning in the fall and continuing until the falling ceases.  In past years I have waited until all the leaves and pine straw are on the ground.  This turned out to be a HUGE job, so I decided to begin a plan of taking care of  things as they occur.  I have discovered over the years that whatever I do, it is best that I have a plan…one that  works for me.  So, after a few weeks of rain when it was impossible to work on my plan, I was excited about working outside in the sunshine.  Here is a  picture of my front yard covered with pine straw:

Yard #1

After I finished picking up the straw and  leaves with my lawn tractor, this is the way it looked:

Yard #4

It’s hard to see the difference because the grass is dormant for the winter, but believe me…it looked much better.

It could have looked like these pictures I took of my neighbors’ yards:

Yard #2

Yard #3

These pictures were taken at the property lines of the neighbors on each side of my property.  It was obvious they were not operating on the same plan as me.

While I was riding my lawn tractor and picking up straw and leaves, I had nothing to do but think and use my imagination.  So, this was a conversation I IMAGINED having with one of my neighbors:

I imagined my neighbor coming over a looking at my clean yard and telling my how good it looked and wishing her leaves were all picked up.  She was expecting her son to come and tackle the problem.

If she had said this to me, I could have said, “REALLY?…HOW IS THAT WORKING FOR YOU?”  But that would not have been a good neighborly comment.

Everything works better with a plan.  I have had people call me about a retirement plan.  When I ask them, many people say they have been planning to plan.  PLANNING TO  PLAN???  My response is usually:  How is that working for you?  Others say their plan is to reach retirement age and  depend on Social Security Benefits to supply their needs.  My response to that is:  that normally will not work for you.  Some people have a plan that has been in place for years….but they haven’t reviewed or revised their plan.  It may be time for a review and second opinion.

Whether you have a plan or not, do you know how much you will need at retirement to not only reach your goals, but to remain retired.  What I mean by this is:  Will your retirement funds live  longer than  you?  Will it take care of  you  spouse?

It is never too early to found out how  much you will need to retire and remain retired.  I have talked to people who are already retired and they discover they have fallen short of  their goals.  Often, this  means that they or  their spouse will need either continue to work or find a job.  Even  if you are retired, there are ways to “tweak” your retirement funds.

Planning for your retirement is similar to my story above about removing the pine straw and leaves from  my property.  If I hadn’t had a plan to take care of the leaves over a period of time, they job would have seemed impossible.  So, it is with retirement planning.  Start early and don’t go through the stress of wondering how you will be able to retire and stay retired.

Most people understand the importance of regular physical examinations to make certain they stay healthy.  At the  same time, many people don’t see the  importance  of regular retirement plan examinations.  We all need to be physically and financially healthy.


I have learned over the years that God has a plan that never fails.  He loves us and watches over us 24/7 and only wants the very best for us.  When we examine our life plans and make certain they agree with His plans, we are blessed beyond measure.  When we seek wisdom from Him each day, He will reveal more and more of His plans.



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