A Lesson From Monopoly

It’s probably not even accurate, but tonight while I was playing a game of Monopoly with my nine-year-old son, Ian, I couldn’t help but notice how the game paralleled life – and how I did not like that.

First off, it was just a really fun night. We call them OK Nights. (One Kid Nights.) It’s been Ian’s turn for a while, but as my prolonged silences here at GregsHead.net demonstrate, there is not much time for, well, anything these days. Not much time, and not much money. Which factored into the decision to do Ian’s OK Night in our basement. (That, and the huge thunderstorms that were wreaking havoc on our entire area tonight…) It all worked out, as Ian loves the game Monopoly (and so do I!) and we shared a nice pot of tea while we played together.

Ian even learned how to find 10% of something tonight. Bonus home school lesson!

But my lesson was in the crazy notion that to make money you have to have money. It’s true in life, and in Monopoly, and vice versa.

Poor Ian had me on the ropes. He had Boardwalk and Park Place with 3 houses on each. I managed to find my piece on Boardwalk shortly following his new construction project, and owed him $1400! That’s a lot for Monopoly! I had to mortgage several properties, and spend all my cash, but I managed to stay in the game. A few lucky rolls, and I had enough cash to stick around long enough for Ian to land on one of my expensive properties. But somehow, that was his undoing.

He also stuck around for a while, but no matter what we tried to do, he just couldn’t dig out of the hole that the first big hotel stay got him into. The problem started to become that in order to pay his debts, he had to get rid of all the stuff that could make him money. So in essence, he was getting rid of any chance he had to win, even though he was still in the game.

I, on the other hand, kept collecting Ian’s money… and then, since my cash stash was growing larger, I invested in more houses. I even bought a mortgaged monopoly from Ian… paid the bank, built houses, and cashed in again on Ian. It was too easy. As I cruised effortlessly around the board (because of my cushy abundance of wealth) Ian fretted every roll of the dice.

It was so crazy to see how it really does “take money to make money.” I really couldn’t believe it. But it was true. Somehow, but a bit of strategy, and admittedly, a bit of luck, I managed to make the first amount of money, and then from there wise investing made the money earn money for me.

Right now my problem seems to be what Ian’s problem was. Debt and other ongoing expenses keep me in a position of not having any vehicles to earn income. If I do, it seems to be just a little, and then it goes right back out to someone else. That’s a frustrating place to be.

So, I have not figured out in the real world how to take the next step to get just enough money to start making money from having money… but maybe some day.

Perhaps I should just play a few more games of Monopoly with Ian? πŸ™‚


The past three weeks – maybe four – have been mostly a blur. I’ve been sleeping even less than normal, and been working much more than normal … and yet, there is a strange contentment like I have not recently known.

For quite sometime, financial pressures have been slowly bearing down on us, threatening to completely crush us. Well, at one point early this month, it seemed they would. We were at the end, literally, of every financial rope. We really didn’t know what to do.

So, I decided to try this online package that was only $499.95 that promised I could be making $600,000.00/week in just three short steps! The first week, my check was only $4537.84, but the second week, it tripled to $12,450.32! Now I’m getting checks for over $50,000/week!!! It worked for me, and I can share all my secrets with you in my online resource, “Everything I know about making money online, and why it will work for you!” – at a discounted rate for all GregsHead.net readers – only $399.95!!! So act now!

No. I didn’t do that. But I was tempted to… πŸ™‚

See, what really happened was I just let go. I already knew that stuff is just stuff, and if we even lost all of it, we’d still be OK. Life would go on. It would be different, but it would go on. I had been holding on so tight that when the money didn’t come in, and “God didn’t provide” I would just borrow more money (usually with credit cards) to pay for what we obviously “needed.”

What I have come to learn (really, again) is that God gives us what we need. And if we don’t have what we “need”, then we don’t need it. (Note: I want to say “probably don’t need it” there, but I am really learning that I don’t need the probably!) The key to the whole things is contentment. Content with what we have, and trusting that God will provide our “daily bread.”

And he has.

Seriously, since we decided to just live on what we have – and have not used any credit cards in any way since then, probably four weeks – we have had everything we needed. I have been working many more hours (because I have always had the work, but never had the time to do it… hoping this extra work time is just to dig out of the hole we are currently in!) and so that has helped, but beyond that, there has been the generosity of some friends, as well as funny little moments along the way.

Like this one:

Last Monday, after paying some bills, buying some food… we literally had just a few dollars left. Jen’s parents had just gotten home from a three-week vacation tour, and were coming to see the grandkids and give us a chance to go out for our summer anniversary (the day we decided to get married, July 16). I really, really wanted to take Jen to Red Robin as she has been wanting to do that for a very long time, but the cost was definitely prohibitive! So, with no money, we just weren’t going to be able to do it. Unless… God wanted to give that to us. So, Jen asked him.

Not too long after Jen asked our Dad for enough money to go to Red Robin that night, I got an IM from a friend who I do some web work for… he needed a hosting account, ASAP. πŸ™‚ So, I told him what it would cost, sent him the invoice, and he paid right away (and he paid a ridiculous bonus amount as well!) I told Jen, and she told me excitedly, “I asked God to do that!!

How awesome is that? πŸ™‚

So, the point is not “don’t use credit cards, just ask God for money for fancy date-night cuisine.” The point is that we have found such contentment living on what we have. We are still in a pretty big financial hole, but God keeps providing, and giving us ideas I think, and we are listening and happily enjoying what God gives us – rather than going ahead of him, as I think we were before, to things he had not yet given us. Even things like food, gas, etc. Now if we don’t have the cash, we don’t get it.

And we have not been wanting. (Which is partially due to God’s provision, and partially due to our contentment. Both working together.)

He really does love us, and take care of us. We know that, and we are getting to see it even closer and more clearly every day now. Honestly, though I don’t like the financial pressure of where we are, and can’t wait to pay off this debt, I hope that we will always be able to see so clearly how God provides – daily – for exactly what we need.

It’s a fantastic place to be!

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Matt 6:34 (MSG)

One Trillion Seconds

I heard this on the Glenn Beck show today (from… yesterday I think?) and was just pretty amazed by it. Perhaps you will be too?

“A million seconds equals 12 days.
A billion seconds is 32 years.
A trillion seconds is 32 thousand years.

54 trillion is what medicare and social security alone are in debt.”

I was just amazed by the staggering numbers. A second is pretty short… so a trillion must be a whole lot. But yeah, when you think about 54 times 32 thousand years… well, translated to money, that’s a lot of debt.

[Things That Are Weird] Gambling Aversions

I know that I probably just can’t understand, since it really has no pull on me, but one more Thing That [Is] Weird to me is how much of an aversion some folks have to gambling on any level. Not just Christian, “God hates gamblers” folks. Regular folks who feel like any wagering is fruitless, and even dangerous. Can’t it just be a fun way to spend money (and possibly make some?) just like going to a movie, or an amusement park or something? (Perhaps those games at amusement parks are equal to gambling? Odds are just as good…..) πŸ™‚

Just one more of the many Things That Are Weird.

Hey, You Never Know

This morning I awoke from a series of dreams that seemed mostly disconnected, except for the last two. The last two were definitely connected. Really, it was a dream where I awoke from a dream. That happened once before (even more crazy, though!) but in this dream, the two dreams were the same.

In the dream I awoke to find two people in business attire coming into my bedroom. They stood at the foot of my bed and began to introduce themselves. (Note: This was the room in my old house, where I had two twin beds. Jen was there, she was just in the other bed. For some reason, that part was not weird to me in the dream…)

They were from a local paper, the Courier Journal (which, is local to Palmyra, where we live now) and they just wanted to let me know that I had won their drawing. “You wanted to tell us that in person?” I asked. “Well, it was the grand prize.”

“How much?” I was thinking $1000 or something. “$120,000,” the business lady calmly replied.

I was just stunned. Silent. Until (still in the dream) I said, “Wait… I had a dream about this. Somebody from a small, local paper came and told me that I had won their drawing… and I think it was for $120,000!!” Everyone laughed, and at the same time thought it was very strange.

Not long after that – while thinking of all the joys of being debt free – I awoke from my dream. For real this time.

I can’t remember a dream recently that I have been more sad to wake up from, and to realize it was only a dream.

But hey, you never know…

They Earned It

Yesterday the boys were just a bit rambunctious to start the day. They were not being bad necessarily… just sort of annoying, and out of control. I happened to be on the phone with my parents at the time (which was part of the reason they were annoying) and was relaying the story to them. Jen said we should send them out to stack firewood. But, since we don’t have any firewood… my Dad said, send ’em out to rake the yard!

“Great idea,” I said.

So, we bundled them up for the chilly morning, set down the ground rules and, truthfully, I expected to be refereeing, and end up doing the work myself.

However, much to my surprise… they did an amazing job. They both worked together. They worked hard. They even had fun, I think. They took an HOUR to do our front yard (Ian said, “How long has it been, cause the bell tower has rung twice since we’ve been out here…”) and they never complained, even though their hands were getting tired.

Near the end of their assigned task I asked them, “Do you guys want to ask our neighbors if they would like you to do their yard? You could ask them to give you $5/each for doing it?” (I just picked a random number out of the air… wasn’t sure what the neighbors would be willing to pay…) At first, they were too tired, but for some reason, Ian was able to convince Alex to try it, and they went and asked.

I checked on them and saw them raking the yard, and learned that they would be paid two dollars each for raking the front yard. They were pretty excited, and diligent in their work. I smiled and left them to it.

I continued to check on them pretty frequently. (The front yard is right near a very busy road, and well, I love my boys, so I wanted to make sure they were still there!!!) They were doing great! And they took almost another hour to do that yard!! They never stopped, just kept at it till it was done. I have to say, I have never “felt” more proud of them. It was a fun parental moment.

When the task was complete, I saw them go to our neighbor’s front door and receive the payment. Alex got his first and ran away from the house cheering and saying, “Dad!!! Look what I got!!!!!!” while waving his two dollar bills firmly gripped in his right mitten. Ian was pretty excited too, but Alex couldn’t stop talking about his TWO DOLLARS!!! πŸ™‚ I told him, “That’s great, Alex! And you earned it! You did a lot of hard work to earn that.” Next thing I knew he was headed to the basement to find mom, saying, “Mom!! Look what I earned!!!!” πŸ™‚

Too cute. πŸ™‚

So last night, after telling them how proud I was of them for working together, and doing what we had asked, and then for doing twice what we asked, we went to Wal-Mart and they each got to pick out a treat that they earned with their hard work. Alex paid for his and the cashier gave him his receipt. He couldn’t have been happier. He said, “I got a receipt!! This is my receipt!”

Pretty sure he’s keeping that one for a while.

Anyone Still Here?

It’s been a quiet week at GregsHead.net, but as I’m sure you all know, that means it has not been at Greg’s House. The Campbell home has been busy with everyday things that a growing family of six has to do. Regular everyday things. But Dad has been super busy with lots of new work! This is a super blessing (which I mentioned here on the blog some time recently) but has left my head spinning at the end of most (abnormally long) days last week. And I’m still behind where I want to be.

This week promises to be more of the same, but I do think I shall chime in here with a link or two, maybe time enough to post an original thought or two. Or three. I do love to (almost need to) process life here on the blog, and love that you join me in the process. I have been reading many blogs (that belong to many of you who read this one) over the past week or so. Perhaps it’s more of a soak in time than a release out time?

What I do know is that BuffaloBillsReview.com is certainly keeping me busy, but less happily so! Our team is a dreadful 0-3, and has sustained such an incredible number of injuries as I have never seen for any NFL team in my history of watching. Crazy.

I’ll check back in later. Hope your week is full of Life.

A Bunch of Good News

It’s time for some good news on this blog. Enough of this pessimism! You’re bringin’ me down, GregsHead!


But anyway… it’s been an interesting week of goodness. It was highlighted last night with a wonderful evening with my wife. She arranged for a babysitter and we went out for a couple burgers, and later a stroll (well, ended up being a “sit) by the Erie Canal with a raspberry chai in hand! It was a wonderful evening of conversation with my wife, and just nice to be with her without the many needs/interruptions from the kiddos. (You know I love them, but… I really do enjoy evenings with just Jen) πŸ™‚

This followed a strange week of LOTS of new work! I mean holy cow… like eight new projects! A few of those are brand new clients, a few are fairly small jobs, and a few are some decent sized projects for existing clients. Add to that the fact that we finally sold our trailer!

On top of that, Mac sales have picked up, and we’ve even gotten a few affiliate and other sales payments.

It’s been a long dry summer. And I don’t just mean the weather.

So, thanks for the super amount of work, God. I am grateful, though a bit overwhelmed. He’ll help me deal with it. It’s a good problem to have, to be sure.

Oh, we also celebrated selling the trailer with a special dinner at Red Robin. We all love that place, and it was a very nice treat!

We even got a call from some friends today that they are going to be picking up their (adopted) son on October 1st! They hvae a date! And even better, they will be back home in California in time to visit with us when we are out there next month! Double bonus!

So, it’s been a good week!

I wanted to share, cause it’s always fun to share goodness. Hope you’re smiling, too. πŸ™‚


The past week saw a bit of relief for us on the income freeze. I think I have mentioned here that the summer was quite a financial drought. Not many (maybe there weren’t any?) of my current clients needed any substantial work done on their existing sites, and not much new business came in. We haven’t been getting much if any income from my various income streams. (Web design, music, Mac sales… even the Buffalo Bills podcast or various publishing endeavors.) It’s not only been frustrating… has been quite a weight to bear, with unpaid Bills mounting.

But the last week or so has changed that a good bit. Four new clients/jobs. (One paid their deposit, another paid today, and the other is about 80% committed to the new project.) I got a payment from Apple, and a payment from a gig earlier this summer. I even got a royalty check from CCLI, who pays artists when churches report having used their material. Not much, but it was a nice gesture. πŸ™‚

But it all was kicked off by the insane generosity of some friends of ours. Not only did they drive a long way to treat us to lunch – and a good one at that! – they also offered to help us catch up on some of our bills! What??!? I just didn’t even know what to say! It almost seemed unfair to them. Why should they bear our financial burden? But even in my own words I understood that I must accept. “Bear each other’s burdens,” it says. And Acts talks about a church where “no one was in need” because they all took care of each other.

Quite humbled (often we have been the ones on the giving end of this deal) and just floored at the offer, I accepted, and they wrote us a very generous check. We were able to pay a past due debt that was definitely hanging heavily over my head. What an incredible gift.

Add to that generous gifts and help from family, and some other friends who a few weeks earlier had done a very similar thing!! Holy cow. God is not taking care of us through my talents, abilities, skills, or hard work… he’s taking care of us through the relationships he has given us.

That is terribly humbling. In a good “terrible” way. I am so amazingly thankful, and glad to see God is also giving to those who are giving to us. You can tell (and I know from experience) that the giving of this financial help is just as cool (or more) as the receiving is for us. Incredible.

Thank you, friends. Thank you, family. Thanks for loving us, and for letting God provide through you. I hope I get to return the favor – not to feel like I have earned your gift, at least I hope not. But instead, to be able to love you as you have loved us… with lavish generosity. And maybe not you… but someone else God connects us with. There will always be needs. That is for sure.

So, thanks to God for the new work to do, for the future work that seems to be lining up, and mostly for reminding me again of what really matters in life – the people he has surrounded us with.