100 episodes

modern tales of an ancient pursuit

Leaning Toward Wisdom Randy Cantrell

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

modern tales of an ancient pursuit

    Spending Control: How’s That Working Out For You?

    Spending Control: How’s That Working Out For You?

    PNC.com has these 10 recommendations in a post entitled, How To Stop Spending Money.

    Create a budget.

    Visualize what you're saving for.

    Always shop with a list.

    Nix the brand names.

    Master meal prep.

    Consider cash for in-store shopping.

    Remove temptation.

    Hit "pause."

    Think reusable.

    Keep at it!

    There are probably millions of lists like this. Some are just as profound as this one. ;)

    I intentionally used the phrase "spending control." It's impossible to stop spending money unless you're dead. But it's very possible to get a better grip on our spending if we want to.

    Why This...Why Now?

    In early March we sold our house of 25 years and moved. Clearly, it had been 25 years since we'd done it so we weren't exactly in game shape. Lots of things have changed since the late 90s. Our age tops the list. The economy is right up there, too. Our life circumstances, too. Back then we were a family of 4 with two high schoolers. Now we're an older couple with almost 20 years experience in being empty nesters.

    Then there's the practical realities associated with our selling our house. We had a built-in refrigerator so there was no refrigerator to move. We included the washer and dryer with the sale of the house...so no laundry to move. That's great on the front end, but when you move you need a refrigerator and a laundry pair. So you have to buy them.

    Then there's the impractical realities associated with selling our house and moving. We moved into an apartment just a few miles away from our old house. Refrigerator, washer and dryer included. Great! But we had an opportunity to really disrupt life so we took it. We bought a house miles away and we moved into that. Wait a minute, what? You heard me. We moved twice at the same time. About 90% of our stuff was moved to the house and the other 10% went to the apartment. All at the same time! My body is still paying the price.

    Thus began the outpouring of cash. That's why this is currently top-of-mind. And that's why I'm discussing this now.

    It's Always A Good Time

    Is there ever a time in our lives when it wouldn't be profitable to re-examine our spending? No. It's always wise to be more thoughtful about where our money goes.

    John Prine's classic song, Sam Stone, includes the line: There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes. Dad came home from the Vietnam war injured, physically and emotionally. Now he's a junkie and that's where all the money goes. Where does all your money go? Do you know?

    Here's the lead sentence in a recent news story about the United States government spending - specifically, the debt our government enjoys elevating:

    As talks over raising the U.S. government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling intensify, Wall Street banks and asset managers have begun preparing for fallout from a potential default.

    Do citizens take their cues from their national government? Or does the government reflect the habits of their citizens? It's a chicken or egg thing. I'm sure somebody smart has studied it. Here in America we love debt because we love spending. We hate saving. More than anything, we hate waiting.

    The average American holds a debt balance of $96,371, according to 2021 Experian data, the latest data available.

    Anti-capitalism folks blame it on consumerism driven capitalism. I blame it on lack of individual responsibility and low self-discipline. We're bombarded with advertising and marketing urging us to buy. Right now! We mostly listen. And do as we're encouraged because we want to. Nobody is forcing us. We're burying ourselves because we want what we want and we want it now.

    Cash Flowing Life Means Living Within Your Means (every month)

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Self-Control: The Road To Ruin? Or The Road To Happiness?

    Self-Control: The Road To Ruin? Or The Road To Happiness?

    I'm blitzed with online articles about health, wellness, retirement, insurance and other things befitting an old guy. After all, I AM an old guy.

    Some days ago I saw an article that prompted today's show. It was yet another article about retiring happy. A man working to prepare for his eventual retirement asked his financial planner for examples of people who were happy in retirement. At the crux of the matter is self-discipline. Retirement success is largely about how well people can deprive themselves of spending more than they earn - and who have the ability to save more than they may want to.


    And there it is - the elephant in the room - our willingness to sacrifice, to avoid rewarding ourselves with the very thing we may want most - especially when that thing isn't the best thing. The flip side is our willingness to do those things we might otherwise not want to do, but we know it's the wise thing to do.

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    • 29 min
    What Will People Remember When You’re Gone?

    What Will People Remember When You’re Gone?

    Will people mourn? Or throw a party?

    Will we have regrets about how we spent our time with others...when they're gone?

    Stanley was my lifelong best friend. He died on Sunday May 12, 2013. It'll be 10 years tomorrow. Ten years that I've been on the planet without him. I remember him fondly. If I had died first, I'm certain he'd be missing me, too. And I know he'd have remembered me fondly.

    Not all relationships work that way though. Sadly.

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    • 34 min
    Being Open To Opportunities (The Metaphor That Is The Yellow Studio)

    Being Open To Opportunities (The Metaphor That Is The Yellow Studio)

    1989. I was being courted by a business owner looking for new, fresh leadership. The business was located where Rhonda and I most wanted to be, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. The kids were in elementary school. Early elementary school. Life had been hectic for the previous 3 years. Situations had changed that were beyond our control - things that we didn't feel were favorable for training and raising our children. So, we took our aim for Texas - DFW. It was Rhonda's home and we were familiar with it.

    Among our reasons - and in this order - church. Spiritual reasons were at the very top of our list. Next, the kids. Where did we feel we could give them the best advantages spiritually, educationally, personally (future spouses), and careerwise? DFW checked all the boxes for us when we began to strategize ways to accomplish this goal. That was somewhere around 1987. It took me a few years to pull it all together. By the end of 1989 I had started the process. By the end of the school year, May 1990, we had made the transition.

    Sometimes it takes awhile. Our goals - what I now call "our ideal outcome" - don't always happen as quickly as we'd like. This ideal outcome was one we had time to carefully consider and plan for. There were days we questioned if it might happen. Mostly, it took over 2 years before I was given the opportunity to make it a reality.

    That was then. This is now.

    In 2018 another life situation provoked Rhonda and I to ask, "Now what?" The clarity we experienced in 1987 didn't happen this time. It would come much more slowly, like the slow turn of a focus knob on a telescope. In fact, it took a couple of years - not for the opportunity, but for us to even figure out what we might want. "What is our ideal outcome?" was the question we wrestled with. And it was anything but easy or clearcut. Not like life back in 1987. That focus came faster for us. The decision was more easily made beforehand back then because the path seemed evident to us. Not this time.

    But this time was different. This was a gut punch. Back in the 1980s it was more of a slow burn. Our knees weren't buckled in the 80s. This time, they were. And that takes more time. To catch your breath. To get back on your feet. Besides, things were well beyond our control mostly so we were having to figure things out in real-time. Deciding how you'll react - asking yourself how you can make the wisest choices - can take time.

    When the stakes are high we felt we needed to get it right the first time. There may not be an opportunity to correct it. You don't know.

    For me, the barometer has always been regret. Will I regret doing this? Will I regret not doing this?

    Back in 1987 I knew - Rhonda did, too - that we would regret staying where we were. We had to make a move. For the welfare of our children. But I admit I hated that we had to do it. It was a move I wished we wouldn't have had to make. It was a sad decision because of what once was - and what could have been. But life does that to us. Throws us curveballs that we must figure out how to hit.

    Today, things are different. There is no sadness. I'm not romantic or sentimental about what once was or what could have been. I'm just ready. Ready to move on. Ready to grow. Ready to embrace a new chapter - our encore chapter.

    By 2020 our focus was clear. So much so, that by the end of 2021 we had put our money where our mouth and our fantasies were. We bought a piece of property in a place that had captured our heart. A place of solitude. Respite. It was likely because when our knees buckled it was the place we went to sort things out. That was our first encounter with the place. Maybe that made it more special. I don't know, but I do know we found it beautiful. And the closeness of the community, the diversity of the positives (trails, lakes, creeks, trees, wildlife,

    • 48 min
    Does Your Printer Have Paper? (and other urgent questions for the digital age)

    Does Your Printer Have Paper? (and other urgent questions for the digital age)

    It's a digital age and I fully embrace it. But I still need paper in my printer.

    Let's ruminate on these and other urgent analog matters facing us in the digital age.

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    • 24 min
    Turning Over A New Leaf Won’t Help If It’s Poison Ivy

    Turning Over A New Leaf Won’t Help If It’s Poison Ivy


    Jo Marsh is the dreamer and a scribbler character in Louisa May Alcott's novel, Little Women. Here's an observation about her life in the book.

    “I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”


    It means making a change. Improving. Doing something differently. Doing different things.

    Our unwillingness to make a change is detrimental to our life and everybody else influenced by us. It's rebellion. And selfish.

    My willingness is high. I wouldn't describe myself as stubborn, but I do know I'm resolved about some things - mostly things in which I believe deeply. Beyond religious truths, there aren't very many things that qualify because I have lived long enough to experience getting it wrong. Getting eternal things right is important because the stakes are so high.

    Eternity changes everything.

    Let's consider what it means to avoid poison ivy and to turn over a new leaf.

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    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

meganmosley ,

New listener

I’m new to this podcast, but have been enjoying it immensely! I’ve always been a huge fan of podcast & during my sometimes multi-hour long commutes to work as an interpreter I like having shows that keep my attention, but also help me think critically & learn something - this podcast does just that!

David Jackson ,

Make Me Think - And I'm Your Friend

I have a new routine. I recently moved to a place that has lakes and geese. There is a walking path around the lake, so once dinner is done, and the sun begins to hit the road, I grab my phone and earbuds and head to the lake. It is my time to work on me. To reset my attitude, my outlook, and perspectives on life. It is my time with my friend Randy who makes me think. The music gives me time to consume the last thing Randy just said that has me going Hmmmmmm (and to drown out the Geese who are really beautifully annoying). It not meditation, but it does have me looking inward. So click subscribe, and give it a shot. You'll be glad you did. - Dave Jackson

RNshell ,

Lifetime of knowledge

I've learned so much wisdom from Randy throughout my life; these podcasts do not disappoint. I started listening because I love the man as the elder of the church I attend and want to support him, yet I remain listening because I'm intrigued, interested and invested in what he says.

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