Dollar General (NYSE:DG) over extending itself from its acquisition of Family Dollar Stores?

Was excited when Dollar General was bidding for Family Dollar Stores.  I felt the only way to expand is to buy other business when you feel that you have outgrown your market base.  However, DG made a deal with FTC Federal Trade Commission that it would agree to sell off 1500 stores as part of its  billion dollar offer according to sources at New York Post.

Family Dollar postpones shareholders meeting until Dec

Family Dollar delays the shareholder vote until December.  Dollar General forcing a hostile takeover.  In September Family Dollar turned down a $9.1 billion dollar deal stating that they didn't want to be apart of FTC investigation.  They are trying to authorize a sell to Dollar Tree, Inc.

Dollar General stock today was down to $65.  

Being careful about teaching our children about their bodies and sex.  Did someone go to far?  Or not far enough?  One women confession and the therapy she now seeks.
I wrote a song about celery because I was inspired by the humorist poet, Ogden Nash.    Here's my take on it.
Here I go again, talking about IBM.  IBM today is selling around $162.27 way off its high this year which was around $190.

In case my readers have never heard of IBM it's one of the largest computer company in the world.  IBM stands for International Business Machines with over 463,000 employees with a market cap or what the company is worth if someone wanted to buy it $163 billion.  It has over 463,000,000 shares outstanding.  It's a giant.

Being a giant has its drawbacks

You can only get so big and IBM is there, so it's looking at connecting with other businesses like Tweeter to continuing expanding. IBM is also working on expanding "Cloud" presence.  But when profitable quarters don't make it IBM felt the blow to its stock  from mid $180's to $161.  The stock also pays a dividend of 2.7% a share which amounts to $4.40 a share. Investor need to calculate that into the stock's value.

Bargain in those IT shares

IBM is a long term investment.  I went to several financial advisors and they told me for folks who don't want to be too risky they love IBM.  They see as holding on to value.  Warren Buffett holds on to IBM and a Sweden based financial group Nordea has over 25 billion dollar portfolio IBM is their second largest holdings.  

IBM's $3.1 billion cloud rate up from second quarter earnings of $2.8 billion excites me.   IBM's predicts cloud revenues $7 billion next year, with $4 billion from new sales, $3 billion shifts from existing services to the cloud.  While other companies in the IT business like Microsoft might have a great responds from their investors when revenues jump, IBM investors don't get excited.  Buffett and Nordea understand the mentality of the long-term investor.  IBM lost stock value on the market but not in the eyes of  investors in for the long haul.

Get the bargain now

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is at a bargain.  Yes I purchased IBM stock at $161.
If you would have asked me to volunteer a few decades ago, I want might have told you I'm not trying to save the world. Didn't want to be talking to poor people or giving up my weekends to go plant trees.  In the 1980's I was working at getting into the music business and had no time for what I considered frivolous matters.  

So what changed?  I retired and returned back to my small hometown where my parents were huge in community development projects.  My father was construction manager for Habitat for Humanity and my mother served on so many community boards that I lost trace.  But where did I fit in to all this?

My wife and I wanted to do something with our time and didn't have clue what we wanted to do.  We were invited to a community development group meeting because we were interested in upgrading the neighborhood.  We had rental property in the area and was tired of looking at the run-down properties.  The organization to which now I'm president was Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation.

HRCDC had a state grant of $500,000 called the Elm Street Grant.  This grants was design to help poor neighborhoods revitalize.  We were able before becoming board members have one our rental properties painted.  We had to put up 50% since it is was a commercial property.  The grant ran out in 2013.

I understand why people don't volunteer

It's hard for me to tell people to volunteer their precious time when I was a little hesitate about committing when I was working.  I get it so I try to find people who are passionate about their community and have a few hours a month for specific projects.  Our organization is built on volunteers and we have no paid staff.  

Volunteers come and go including board members.  Since I've been president we have replaced over 90% of the board within two years.  

Raising money to stay afloat

Non-profits name is a great misnomer.  You have to raise money to pay for all your bills.  This is a business and must operate as one.  Just because we are not for profit business we are business and our donors and sponsor expect us to have annual reports and keep track of our income and expenses along with project plans and forecast for the future.

Touching hearts and healing souls

This year I participated in planting food for the Highland Ridge Community Garden and my wife and I raised enough food to give away to the local food shelter.  Above photo is the food we gather from the garden absent my great corn crop.  

I volunteer because I feel that have been so blessed in my life that this is an opportunity to give back.  When I was into my business life it wasn't time for me to volunteer.  It has nothing to do with retiring.  It about where your heart is at this point in time. Volunteer when it's appropriate for your life.  Not because you are being force or be persuaded.  Volunteer when you are ready.

The hearts you are going touch will bring tears to your eyes.  It might be the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.  Some of the people we help can't help themselves and they are appreciative.  They have tears in their eyes when it seems like no one was willing to help them and then you and your organization comes along.  Everyone doesn't have your motives, your background, education and can't see their way out of a situation.  You enable them to see that there is greatness and goodness in the world.  They mean sometime


My wife lost her mother in 1999.  It was the year we met.  Her mother had a stroke in 1994 and for five years my wife did everything she could to make her mother’s life comfortable.

I lost my mom in 2010.  My mother had dementia.  My mother was a brilliant lady and the family watched as her mind slipped away.  All we could do was comfort her until her last breath, which was in front of us as we told her how much she meant to us.

According to American Psychological Association loosing a parent is in the top five of all the most stressful events that can happen to any individual.  The only stressors that are higher are loosing a child or a spouse.  How can you deal with such lost in in your life.

1.              Remember them.

Recently a few friends have approached me who have lost their parents.  Sometimes it might seem easier if you were dealing with a long terminal ailment like dementia or disabling stroke but the pain of loosing a parent no matter how long their illness is still pain.

Remember the good times you had.  Laugh about how they made you laugh.  For remembering my mom, I constantly remark about the sternness of her demeanor.  As she grew older she began to use her sternness as a humorous weapon.  Once telling my wife she never punished us in anyway and then smile about it when I retold all the stories on how she did.

Comforting my friends and allowing time for grieving, I remind them of how my mother’s memories are deep within me.  My wife, who shares her love for her mom over the years, can sometimes get emotional even though her mom has been dead over 14 years.  You never stop grieving and keep them ever present in your heart.

2.              We all grieve in our own way

There is not certain way to grieve or any time period.  When my mother past I was thankful that the dementia disease no longer had any claim on her and she could finally rest in peace.  There were no tears on my part because I was resolute that I had done everything I could while my mother lived.

She told my wife and I she didn’t want us to cry at her passing because we had been good children and it would just be her time.

A woman from my mother’s church came up to me while I was at the mall and told me you know your mother is your angel who watches over you now. 

3.              Have a strong believe system

Whether you believe in the All Mighty, Buddhism, or simple believe in the power of love, having a strong belief constitution can help you navigate through the idea of lost.  It is extremely difficult.  Friends and family can assist but a belief that they are going to a better place can help your cope with their death.

I like to write about things that inspire people

My father had a smile on his face everyday and I would asked him when I was child while he smiles all the time.  He told me anyone can wear a frown that took no talent at all, but to have the discipline to wear a smile made your world a more comfortable place to live in.  I learned very early that anyone could be negative, hateful, critical but it took extreme effort to observe the world through the eyes of joy.

Turn off the news

My great teacher and spiritual leader Doctor O.C. Smith taught us to listen to the TV for only 5 minutes a day then turn it off.  Get all the negative news in five minutes.  Don't dwell on it.  The mind will seek the lowest emotional substance of itself if you allow it, but the Great Creator wanted something wonderful for you and me.  Open up your mind to joy and witness the greatest of his love.

News is negative.  Winston Churchill said "That bad news gets around the world three times before good news gets out of bed". We enjoy bad news, negative thoughts, but we can't excel when our minds are heading toward darkness.

Staying positive is hard work

Keeping negative stuff off my Facebook and Twitter pages is hard.  Every now and then, I repeat something or share a thought that should have been left alone.  We don't share the same ideas about religion or families or health but if we are wise the important thing is to remember why we share in common with our friends.  

Keeping negative thoughts and people at bay is hard work.  My father lived his life with a robust attitude of joy and lived his life on his terms and his way.  

Watch out for energy vampires

Energy Vampires are people in our lives with nothing positive to contribute about anything.  They are always in the dumps, always have money issues, relation issues and the list goes on.  Stay away from them.  They are looking for you to constantly encourage them and you don't have time.  They suck all the joy out of you trying to cheer them up and so  Avoid them.

Most of our friends are animal lovers.  Some loved their pets more than they do their families. (If you knew their families you could understand)  We loved our adopted pets.  We have recused our Toby a Cocker Spaniel from the shelter.  He traveled all around the country with us. He even spent his last day with us in Panama.

We need to keep our pets safe.  Buying pets for someone who is not responsible might not be a wise choice.  A few years ago we had to save some kittens from dying when they were left outside in the rain because the owners left the apartment moved away.  If people are not going to love and protect their animals then they don't deserve to have them.

Ashlyn the cat shown in the photo was a foster cat.  Oh was she playful.  Wouldn't leave our side evens when we were cooking on the grill.  She would sit in the window and watch our every move.  She was a foster kitten that grew up with us.  Everyday when we arrived late in the evening, I would play with her with my laser light on my keyring.  She loved chasing the light through the hallway, bathroom and bedroom.  I think I became more tired than she did.

Because we felt we traveled too much and didn't want to always leave her with someone else, we asked the Humane Society to find her a home.  It was sad day for us but felt that this was better move for her.

How to keep our pets safe?  Make sure they are neutered.  Make sure they are not running the streets.  In our neighborhood, we see dogs and cats sprinting freely throughout the streets, without restrains and being hit by cars.  We live on a busy street.  Some don't have tags and their owners give the attitude they always get out and there is nothing they can do.  That is not keeping them safe.

If you want a pet, go to a shelter.  Save a dog or cat from being killed.  Most shelters in our area are not kill shelters but they take on a great burden of taking care of these animals and the shelters is full.  People at night just drop off animals.  Donate time and money to these shelters if you can.  They can always need the help.

When I became president of The Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation we had several projects on our plate.  The problem with these projects were that given the small volunteer pool we had and the lack of funds were couldn't handle them.  

We had neighborhood watch groups,  garden groups an advocate community groups several educational groups.  We felt that if we were going to be successful we had to concentrate our efforts on one or two programs we could excel at.

We wanted to Mend Some Fences

Our state funding ran out.  We lost our office and our manager because we couldn't afford to keep them.  Our main problem was no one knew who we were and what our mission was.  I immediately began reaching out to other members in our community.  I met with the mayor, city council, talked to county commissioners, state senators and state representatives, local churches and community leaders.  We had to mend some fences.

Mending Fences the program that narrowed our scope

We dropped programs and created a program called, "Mending Fences".  Mending Fences program helps veterans, seniors, disabled, and low income homeowners stabilize their homes.  We raised money from various sources including Home Depot, Washington Financial Bank and worked with Rebuild Together.  Local churches youth group with over 40 kids helped us clean, paint, and plant flowers along an entire city block.  

We were not trying to fix every house in the city just one house where a senior veteran who had lived in the community for over 60 years needed home repairs.  We replaced his roof, painted the entire interior of his home, replaced his porch, repaired stairs to the basement and fixed his chimney.  He felt so overwhelmed at times he just went to bed at night and cried.  He was so thankful for all the help.

We partnered with other organizations

We practiced being a "Great Partner".  Some community organizations try to do it all.  I find that some non-profit overlap doing the same type of projects which pull from the same limited donor base.  Forming partnerships gives donors and volunteers an opportunity to accomplish more.  

How to avoid stretching your organization too thin

We have a volunteer board with no paid staff.  Like most small non-profits our volunteers have a full time job so our available time is limited.  You want to be successful with any program you are doing focus on a few.  If you extend yourself beyond your means you build a bad name for your organization.  For more information on The Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation.

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