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The Unforgettable Nat King Cole

By Billy Gee

I believe Nat King Cole was one of my first and most significant influences.  His silky smooth, mellifluous voice was something I emulated–consciously or unconsciously (And so did Ray Charles, early on!)
“Route 66” has always been one of my very favorite songs by Nat, but oddly, it was the Manhattan Transfer version of this hit that prompted me to sit down with a road map and learn whether or not there even was a “Route 66,” and if so, did it actually go through a town called Joplin, Missouri, or one called Gallup, New Mexico.   Thanks for the geography lesson, Nat!  (Actually, the song was composed by a jazz piano player named Bobby Troup)
Next came “Nature Boy,” composed by a rather nature boy-looking cat whose name was Eden Abez.  ‘Story goes that Nat was working at the Lincoln Theater in Los Angeles in 1947, when Abez tried unsuccessfully to give the song to Nat.  Maybe because of his appearance Nat didn’t take the guy seriously.  Undaunted, he gave a copy of the song instead to Nat’s valet, who in turn, passed it along to Nat.  And the rest is history.
Happy Birthday, Nat!  Thank you for your music.

5 Smart Spending Tips for Tax Refunds

Lynnette Khalfani Cox

Lynnette Khalfani Cox

By Cricket Wireless and Lynnette Khalfani Cox

Get the most value from your money this tax season

For savings-savvy consumers, tax season means getting creative with how to use your federal tax refund check.

The IRS says the average tax refund issued so far in 2015 tops $3,500. While it can be tempting to hit up the mall and blow through your money the second that big check arrives, smart spenders find ways to turn a refund into a “MeFund” through thrifty money-management decisions that keep cash in their pocket.

To help you become a better saver and a more prudent spender, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach® suggests five smart ways to stretch your refund check, making your money go further and enhancing your quality of life:

1) Invest in yourself

In today’s economy, it’s wise to invest in your education, your career and your health. Each will benefit you personally and professionally. Consider using some of your tax refund check to take a continuing education class or attend a business networking event. Similarly, invest in your health by signing up for a gym, taking yoga classes, or getting the aid of a personal trainer. A healthy body can boost creativity and productivity – and hopefully lower your long-term healthcare costs too.

2) Pay off debt

A recent study from the American Psychological Association showed money is a top cause of stress for Americans. To help rid yourself of money worries, reduce debt with your tax refund. Pay off a credit card bill, wipe out a lump sum on loans, or make an extra mortgage payment to help toward becoming debt free.

3) Spend wisely by taking advantage of seasonal promotions

If you are going to spend on something you want, do it the smart way. Take advantage of seasonal promotions in order to keep much of your refund in your pocket. For instance, if you’re in the market for a new phone, go to Cricket Wireless to receive free or discounted phones, all after mail-in rebate, such as the Nokia Lumia 635.  And, if you port your number to Cricket, you may also get a free month of service after completing two months on one of the provider’s Smart, Pro or Advanced plans. Check out more details atwww.cricketwireless.com.

4) Budget for larger purchases

If you’re thinking about spending your tax refund on a vacation or must-have electronics, be sure to first budget realistically. Remember, a vacation won’t just involve travel expenses and hotel accommodations. Be sure to factor in food, entertainment and miscellaneous costs such as tips, souvenirs and parking. Before using your refund on a big-ticket purchase, you should also use helpful budgeting tools to monitor your monthly spending. Mint.com is a good online and mobile budgeting software tool that can help you track your spending.

5) Create a “MeFund”

A final way to put your money to good use is to boost your savings. Create a “MeFund” as a way to save more every month – whether from a tax refund check, through smart budgeting or value found by switching to a no-contract wireless carrier like Cricket on a nationwide 4G LTE network – so you can spend more on the things that matter to you in the future. Whatever your goal, you’ll reach it a lot sooner if you save exclusively for it.

From investing in yourself to paying down debt and being a smarter spender and saver, let tax refund season be your time to get ahead. After all, by using that tax refund check wisely, you’ll set yourself up for financial prosperity in 2015 and beyond.


“Don’t Let The Devil Keep Beating You Up!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Some of you are so bound up by Satan that you think that that is the way of life and it is never going to change. Not only does Satan have control of your life, but he has control of your mind, and he keeps placing these strongholds in your mind and you accept them like a fool! God says he who the Son sets free is free indeed! But some of you are so bound up that it is a wonder that you are even able to move and breathe, and the only reason that you are bound and are suffering is because you are allowing it, thinking you can’t do anything about it. That is a lie from the pit of hell, and Satan is selling you a book of goods and you are buying it hook, line, and sinker. I tell you until you stand up and say “Enough is enough,” Satan and his minions are going to keep right on walking all over you, crushing you and interfering with your life. Stealing, killing and destroying everything you put your hands to.   It does not have to be that way! Don’t allow the devil to have any more control over you! When God sets you free don’t let the devil come back in your life and start setting up the strongholds in your mind that got you in that condition in the first place. To Hell with the Devil!

Don’t you know that Jesus has already delegated authority to use His Name to those who believe in Him. You must exercise that authority or the devil will continue to wreak havoc in your life. Do not be afraid of the devil and his minions. Jesus defeated them and He gave you authority over all of them and He expects you to use it.  {Matt 28:18-19- Phil 2:10- Luke 10:19.} Listen, God told us to resist the devil and he would flee. We must believe and act on God’s Word. Be confident in whom you are and the righteousness you have in Jesus. Do not be a door mate for the devil! Use your authority in Jesus, and fight until you have victory. You have authority over him! Jesus said, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). What the problem is?

Maybe I should remind you of the story that Jesus told His disciples. Jesus told His disciples how He had seen the fall of Satan in heaven. And there, Jesus said, that Satan’s fall had been “like lightning” (Luke 10:18), when God cast him out. When Jesus told Satan in the wilderness, “Enough is enough” Satan disappeared from Jesus presence too at the speed of lightning. And when we resist Satan in the Name of Jesus today, he will flee from us too at the speed of lighting. I tell you Satan is afraid of the Name of Jesus. He is afraid to be reminded of the fact that Jesus is Lord. Remember, Satan was defeated once and for all by Jesus on the cross. Don’t let him continue to beat you up! Paul said: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witness.” (1 Timothy 6:12) I tell you Paul never lost his fight; he was filled with it to his dying day. And many of our other spiritual fathers died fighting as well. Men like Joshua and Caleb were mighty warriors too the very end! Jacob was our example of how to get back our Fight – and how to prevail with God! When the prophet Hosea wanted to warn Israel about their cowardly spiritual condition, he reminded them of their father Jacob. The crux of his message was, “You’ve become weak, passive. And now the enemy is overwhelming you! You claim to be Jacob’s seed – but I want to show you how far you’ve strayed from his example. I want to show you how Jacob prevailed – how he had power with God!” Jacob was a man greedy for God, hungry for everything God had for him!” He came out of the womb in a fighting mood, greedy for the blessings of God! Right now God is saying, “Come on, and fight!” – Because He loves you! He wants you to claim all His blessings. Rise up in faith and lay hold of His promise, Stand up and fight! You have His Strength – use it! When the enemy comes tormenting you, you must be ready to fight back. Just as David saw Goliath, David said this guy is too big for me to miss with my sling shot, I can take him down, and his carcass will be for the birds to feed on. If that isn’t faith alone in God Almighty then I don’t know what is. David said with the Name of the Lord victory was in sight. You ought to take a positional attitude that says NO to the devil! Give him no room, no chance to influence your life. We are to have an attitude that says NO! The buck stops here! Not even one more inch!” because NO is a way of taking a stand. It is a spiritual stubbornness, a resolve, an attitude that shouts out, “Enough is enough…You’ve gone too far…. That’s it! When you take that stance and do what God requires of you according to 2 Cor 10:4-6, God will show up and take care of your enemy. It is all dependent upon you doing your part to obey and pull down the strongholds and casting down the imaginations. Resolve to settle the matter, once and for all! Don’t let the Devil keep beating you up! To Hell with the Devil!