The Wisest Decision Of Our Adult Lives.

As 2012 comes to a close, please let me share my family’s 2012 story with you.

It’s a story of denial, realization, conviction, humility, a key decision, change, discipline and an unbelievable outcome.

And as my wife Jen and I now look back on it, we agree that it was, without question, the wisest and most important decision of our adult lives.

So please let me share our journey with you, because our situation might be similar to yours. And just as a simple decision made a radical change in our lives, I hope & pray that it does in yours, if need be.

I thought our “Financial House” was relatively in order, but my incredible wife Jen did not have any peace as to where we were, either month-to-month or long term.  I kept telling her we were fine, but deep in my gut, however, I knew she was right. I was the ostrich, burying my head in the sand.

Like many of us, we were living above our means.  Not extravagantly, mind you.  We were not in terrible debt, and actually thought we were being wise in our decisions, like cutting cable in order to tithe like we knew we should.

But something was still not right, and peace did not exist.

At some point this past summer, Jen and her friend were chatting, and her friend was sharing how they had been in such dire financial straits, but how their lives had been changed by seeing a certified financial coach/councilor. His name is Parkey Thompson, and he is a Dave Ramsey “Endorsed Local Provider” here in Cumming.

After years of thinking we had our finances under control, as Jen and I discussed it, I came to the humbling (and embarrassing) realization that we needed the assistance of a capable, caring professional.

So two weeks later, I reluctantly joined my wife in his office for a “free 30 minute consultation”. Yeah, I was skeptical.  But my calloused attitude changed pretty quickly…

His calm and gentle Christian spirit helped put a mirror on our own situation. We were able to see where our money was being wisely spent, but more importantly, where it was “disappearing”.  

I realized that our so-called monthly budget was a sham, and our year-to year and long term plans were more of a punch line.  This was something Jen knew in her heart and was trying to tell me all along, but it took a third party to help wake me up.

So we decided to hire Parkey for the 6 month program. Because we honestly had nothing to lose.

And something radical happened….

He instantly became our friend, our advocate, our teacher and accountability partner.  

He helped us develop an actual plan to get out of debt, and long-term savings strategies to help us never return.

He helped us get excited about taking a brown bag of PB&J sandwiches instead of hitting the drive thru.

He helped us plan a monthly budget, assigning every dollar a name before the month even began.

He helped us realize the power of finite cash in an envelope versus an out-of-control debit and/or credit card.

I was worried that while trying to “get on the right financial track”, that we wouldn’t even be able to afford his services.  But in the first month, in addition to paying him an installment (1/3 of the fee), we actually put in savings MORE than his entire fee.  

In other words, in that first month, we quickly realized that we couldn’t afford NOT to hire him.

That was September.  

Today, we are out of credit card debt, have more money in savings than ever before, and actually have a strategic financial plan heading forward.

We have strategies to plan for not only month-to-month, but for quarterly, annual and long-term costs as well, like tag renewals, HOA fees, 1099 taxes, automobile replacement, retirement, etc…

There is more peace and communication in our marriage than ever before.  Our kids are learning to give, save and spend wisely.  And we are far more prepared for whatever bumps-in-the-road may come.

I finally realized this past year that I couldn’t have what was best for me or my family without getting my financial house truly in order, and that I needed a competent, kind, caring professional to accomplish that goal.

I say all that to say this – I care deeply about you, and want the absolute best for you and your family. That’s why I’m sharing our story. Hopefully it’s the friendly prodding that you might need…

And if any of our story rings true with you, I hope you take an honest look at your situation. Pray about it, and talk it over with your spouse, if applicable.

In case my friendly prodding causes you to take a step, here’s Parkey’s contact info:

Parkey Thompson

And don’t worry – this isn’t a pyramid scheme, and I’m not getting any kickbacks… You know I don’t roll that way. I just want you to experience the new-found financial peace that we’ve discovered through discipline and professional assistance.

Hopefully it will help you sleep better at night!  Especially Saturday nights… 😉


North Point iBand Apps

Well, we did the “North Point iBand” for an Opener on Sunday, December 5th, 2010.

If you haven’t seen it…. CLICK HERE



First off, big props to Jared Hamilton for spearheading the effort from our end.

Jared arranged “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Feliz Navidad” using the apps, and creating a demo by multitracking them in Apple’s Logic software (though any Digital Audio Workstation would do the trick).

Jared, Eddie Kirkland and I arranged the first song, “Carol of the Bells“. It’s amazing what you come up with when you sit in a room, hook 3 iPhones up to some speakers, and get adventurous!

Well, many of you have asked, so here are the Apps used:

(NOTE: You’re going to have to looking for them on iTunes yourself. C’mon, you’ve gotta do SOME legwork yourself!)

Carol of the Bells:

Eddie Kirkland, SoundGrid

Reid Greven, NLogFree

Jared Hamilton, Melody Bell

Danny Grady, Guitarist (Nylon String)

Antwane McMullin, drums – iGog (MoreVox Acoustic 1 sound)

Rick Meeder, bass – Bassist

Steve Marcia, Guitarist (Electric)

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Antwane McMullin, drums – iGog

Rick Meeder, bass – Bassist

Danny Grady, electric guitar on intro & fills – Guitarist

Steve Marcia, acoustic guitar on main melody – Guitarist

Jared Hamilton, B3 – Pocket Organ

Reid Greven, sax solo – Saxophone Musicofx

Eddie Kirkland, Percussions (Tambourine)

Feliz Navidad

Joe Lee, guiro – Percussions

Antwane McMullin, drums – iGog (Rock Kit 1 sound)

Rick Meeder, bass – Bassist

Danny Grady, nylon string guitar – Guitarist

Ben Snider, clave – Percussions

Steve Marcia, maracas & tambourine – Percussions

Jared Hamilton, melody solo & percussion fills – Bebot, Percussions

Eddie Kirkland, congas & bongos – Percussions

Reid Greven, piano – Pianist

Seth Condrey, vocals – T-Pain


The New Record’s Coming!

Our Music Staff spent some time today listening through the entirety of our new North Point Live CD project, due out this December.

It was really cool listening front to back, and discussing song placement and last minute mix issues. We even cam to a consensus on switching around a song or two.

This next project has a LOT of raw energy, more than the other two we’ve done. And the songs are great. Narrowed from dozens (and dozens) down to 14 amazing songs.

You’d have to be deaf to be disappointed 😉

3 Faves I’m Diggin’

Hey kids!

So here are 1 old fave podcast and 2 new other things I’m really diggin’ on right now, and you might too!

#1 – Macbreak Weekly

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This is a podcast I’ve listened to for about 2 years, and can’t wait for each weekly episode to come out. It’s hosted by Leo Laporte (anyone remember Tech TV?), and he’s joined by a usual cast of very knowledgeable – and very funny people. And after just one listen, I was enjoying their camaraderie even more than the content they provided!

The content is their review, analysis and projections of Apple technologies (Macs, iPhones, etc.), as well as how they relate to the rest of the industry as a whole. Always good – and entertaining stuff.

#2 – History of Jazz – iTunes U

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These are a series of FREE audio downloads (podcast) from iTunes U. The content is a very entertaining and well put together by its presenter, Dr. Gordon Vernick. This is a MUST for any musician, whether you’re familiar with playing jazz or not. It’s always important to know where our music has come and evolved from. It’s almost a Jazz for Dummies, but with some depth.

#3 – Pitchmen

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Definitely one of my favorite new shows! You know Billy Mays – the guy who pitches Oxy Clean, Kaboom, Mighty Putty, etc. on TV. Well, he and other famous pitchman Anthony Sullivan have worked together for 20 years, and now Discovery Channel is taking a look behind the scenes of what they do and how they do it. And it’s really interesting! And, like most Discovery “reality” shows like Mythbusters or American Chopper, the entertainment value is really high. I’m really diggin’ it.

Todd Fields’ CD Release – Video Photos

Todd’s new CD releases this weekend, and we had a concert for it Friday night.

Needless to say, it was an incredible experience, not only musically, but personally as well. The chance to make incredible music with incredible people is such an amazing blessing.

You MUST get the new CD, which will be available exclusively through North Point Resources until it hits iTunes in late June.

And our buddy, Matt Gibson, shot a behind-the-scenes video that will, hopefully one day be available for public viewing. In the meantime, here are some screenshots I captured from my favorite scenes of his incredible handiwork, along with some simple impromptu photo titles……

“Microphone & Light”

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“Snare & Sticks”

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“Praying Lady”

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“Set List”

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“From the Front Row”

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“The Most Important Thing”

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– – – – –

Todd Fields – lead vocals, electric guitar

Ashley Appling – drums

Pat Malone – Bass

Jason Hoard – electric guitar

Brad Avery – electric guitar

Reid Greven – keyboards, acoustic guitar

Ryan Stuart – backing vocals

Jordan Watts – special guest backing vocals

Jayce Fincher – front of house mixing

Tyler Freeman – monitor mixing

A big thanks to Matt Williams, Dan Stonaker, Suzy Gray, Rick Holliday, Andy Stanley, Bill Willits, David Hill, and all the members of North Point Resources that made this possible!