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Bluffton Location

117 E Elm Street

Bluffton, OH 45817

April 2019 - Having Civil Conversations and Budgeting

“Lets go for a drive,” I said to Shannon as we got out of the Doctor’s office.  We had just received a good report and did not want to rush back home.  We enjoy driving back roads all over the country and it felt like a good time to meander a bit.   After starting our drive we decided to try and find a memorial headstone at an old historic cemetery   we had discovered accidently several years ago.  We re-discovered the place in St John’s, Ohio and drove up to the memorial to read the inscription.  “Nearby sleeps Chief Blackhoof – Catahecassa – Last principle chief of the Shawnee Indians prior to their removal to Kansas in 1832.  This was Blackhoof’s town where he lived and died in 1831 at the age of 109!” 

Since I am a history buff, I have come across his name many times while studying early frontier history from 1750-1820.  He fought with the French against Braddock at Ft. Pitt in 1755 and against Colonel Lewis at the battle of Point Pleasant (WV) in 1774. Rick McDaniel and I have visited there several times as it is across the Ohio river from his office in Gallipolis.  Chief Blackhoof then served under Captain Bird in 1780 (Piqua, Ohio), fought against Hamar in 1790 (Ft. Recovery), signed the Greenville Treaty in 1795 (OH) and opposed Tecumseh’s Indian confederation in the War of 1812.  Although he was opposed to the Americans in nearly every major battle between 1750 to 1795, when he signed the first Greenville treaty, he became an ally of the American government.   

The final words on his memorial say, “A Just and honorable man, respected by both friends and enemies.”

A couple of things about these words made an impression on me.   When it talks about respect, it amazes me because his enemies and he were many times in mortal physical combat!   Yet in our current social climate in America, the word “enemy” seems to be anyone who doesn’t agree with us.  Do we find that kind of respect even among friends today?  It appears if there is just a difference of opinion, one party is considered an enemy of the other and all intelligent discussion ends.  What was formerly considered communication now suspiciously resembles name-calling, accusations, and hatefulness.   

Another impression made on me was Chief Blackhoof’s willingness to correct his thinking when presented with the reality of how his people were affected by his allegiances.  (His people’s lives were being jeopardized dramatically by former allies (British) who consistently bribed the Shawnee Nation to fight vicious frontier battles against the American settlers.) As a result of his correction in thinking, he signed the Greenville Treaty in 1795 and stood against the Tecumseh rebellion and British in the War of 1812.  Changing ones’ mind based on factual evidence is not a sign of weakness, but strength.  

Our society used to correct children when they happened to slide into anti-social habits like name-calling and hateful words.  Correction leads to a change in behavior and growing up into maturity.  Nowadays it seems much of society revels in this type of childish behavior, competing to see who can be the most foul.  This is not communication and does not build respect or lead to positive change.   

We all have issues we care deeply about. And yes, none of us are perfect, including myself especially!  Politically, I am firmly a fiscal conservative and on social issues I am unapologetically a Christian conservative.  That could automatically make me an enemy in some circles and cause me to be the receiver of attacks and taunts.  That’s very unfortunate but would not cause me to change my opinions.  Yet I do not hate anyone nor do I expect other people to live by my standards.  I am not concerned that people disagree with me but it seems that if there is a disagreement, there can be no longer be any discussion.  Without open discussion there is no exchange of facts and no possibility of change or correction—for either party.

Part of the Christian faith is the understanding that God is ever working to correct/change us as we walk with Him in this journey of life.  Hebrews 12 actually says that if God does not bring change/correction in our lives on a regular basis, we are not really true Christians.  (The scripture puts it much more bluntly!) This is a very powerful idea, that God is constantly working in our lives to change us.  It gives hope to all of us that maybe our society can also change and once again learn how to be civil.  Maybe it can start with us.  

We as a business are unapologetically faith-based, if you could not tell by our name.  :-)  But we do not expect people seeking our help to agree with everything we do or stand for, nor come to us just because we have the word “Faith” in our title.  

We regularly provide free screening reports for those who are interested in what their investments are supporting politically and morally.  We work very hard to treat everyone equally with respect and intentionally spend a lot of time listening before we give our opinions or recommendations.   Our newsletters are consistently encouraging folks to “start the conversation.”  We believe if people can discuss their financial situation in a “safe” atmosphere it brings clarity and understanding.  Can we help you in this area?

I can’t possibly be out of money. I still have month left!


Have things changed for you — new home, new phone number or email, new child, family changes?  Do you need to change your beneficiaries? Please take a moment and email   We may simply need to update our files, but certain types of information should also be reported to the companies who hold your investments. Let us help you stay up-to-date!

Gary and Kathi have the privilege of presenting at the Spring Financial Adviser Conference in Kokomo, IN on April 25 and 26.  Most of our staff will be at this two-day training—as well as Rick & Brenda McDaniel and Cami Smith, our associates from Gallipolis, OH.  We are refreshed and well-equipped during this time away.

We are proud to announce that Kathi Dunlap passed her Series 7 licensure exam at the beginning of March and Orrie Augsburger is   preparing for his Series 7 test.  Both will continue to work on further licensures to assist with conducting business. 

Gary & Shannon Reese will be attending the “Conference of  Excellence” with Gleaner Life Insurance Society in Bretton Woods, NH in June.  This is in recognition of his service to clients through Gleaner Life.   

Kudos to our staff (Kathi, Orrie, Lynda, and Renea) for excellent work and continual development over recent months.  We’ve been blessed with great staff who care about people and who continually perform their jobs to the best of their ability in an effort to meet clients’ needs. Thank you all!  

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and    disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”   - Proverbs 30:7-9

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Budgeting: Our Way To Freedom by Lynda Rodabaugh

As Americans, we hold dear the idea of liberty. It is at the very core of our being as a country going all the way back to the Declaration of Independence. Merriam-Webster defines liberty as “the quality or state of being free” and “the power to do as one pleases.” One of the definitions of freedom is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” We say that we love freedom, and yet many of us are trapped by the financial decisions we’ve made and the debt that it incurred.

God’s Word tells us in Proverbs 22:7 (NIV) that “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the  lender.” So many people I know struggle financially and yet resist the idea of budgeting because they believe it is restrictive and will cramp their freedom. For my husband and I, it has done exactly the opposite! Instead of bringing more restriction, budgeting has brought about a freedom to be able to do things because budgeting has helped us plan for them. 

Wikipedia defines a budget as “a financial plan for a defined period, often one year.” Our journey to budgeting started out of a sense of desperation when we were $159.33 “in the red” at the end of a month -- and Christmas was right around the corner. We wanted to be able to buy gifts for our two little kids and the people that we loved, we wanted to be able to pay our bills (which would be higher than normal just because it was winter and heating bills would drive costs up), and we wanted to stop living paycheck to paycheck!! 

Budgeting caused us to ask some hard questions about what we had been spending our money on… and was that the way that we wanted to continue to spend our money. We asked questions about what was important to us and wrestled with how to create a budget that would allow us to live within our means. My husband and I handle money very differently based on how we grew up and we knew that for budgeting to work we both needed to be in agreement. We asked the Lord to help us as we worked through the process and He was SO faithful!! He gave us the ability to communicate about money which is so often a sticking point for marriages; He helped us to honestly look at our habits and our goals. He helped us define what were “needs” in our life and what were just “wants”, and He even gave us the same amounts multiple times as we tried to decide how much to put into each category of the budget.

BUT we didn’t really believe in budgeting and we were pretty resistant to it…until the end of the first month. Within one month, we had started saving for vacation (just $15 but that’s what we could afford right then), put some money back for savings (again not very much - but any is better than none), and started “self-escrowing” money so that the next time taxes and insurance were due, we would have the money ready to go. We also went from $159.33 in the red to $600.32 IN THE BLACK! The most shocking part of it was that it didn’t feel like we were “going without” - we were just paying attention instead of spending without thinking. I was hooked!! 

Throughout the years, the budgeting journey has had its ups and downs as we faced the changes that life inevitably brings. There have been adjustments to the amounts and sometime our categories have changed, but we have become firm believers in budgeting and see the reality of the benefits it has brought into our life. We have always had enough for all of our “needs” and many times have had the freedom of having enough for our “wants” as well. We have had the freedom to take vacations without worrying how we were going to pay for it because we had month after month after month put back a bit at a time! We have made different decisions than many people we know, but we have seen God’s hand so many times in our life and we believe that He calls us to be obedient and live within our means. 

Would you rather be “in the red” $50 or “in the black” $50 at the end of a month?    This is a question my husband often asks people when they are talking about budgeting. The difference is only $100.00 which doesn’t seem like very much money, but thE difference emotionally and in the level of stress it can cause is HUGE! 

Money, like a lawn mower or a stand mixer, is a tool that we use to accomplish what is necessary and is important to us. Budgeting, to me, is how we keep our money organized and ready to do the job we need it to do - whether that is paying the electric bill, buying groceries or new basketball shoes, or being saved to take that vacation you dream of. 

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  - Hebrews 13:5