Monday, January 30, 2012

The Homeownership Assistance Program


The Homeownership Assistance Program is administered through the County of Lexington’s Community Development Department. The program provides funding to eligible first-time homebuyers to assist with down payment and/or closing costs. A first-time homebuyer is defined as one who does not presently own a home or land, nor has previously owned a home or land within the last three (3) years. At the time of application to the Community Development Department, an applicant also cannot have an existing purchase contract on a home.

Funding is provided in the form of deferred forgivable loans, and may be applied toward the down payment and/or closing costs for the purchase of a single family dwelling. Assistance will typically be provided in amounts up to $5,000 and will be distributed on a first-come/first-served basis. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have necessary income to support ongoing mortgage payments. Applicants must also be able to secure a fixed-rate home mortgage through an approved lending institution. The interest rate must be at or below market rates. The mortgage must also be secured independent of a co-signer.

Applicants approved for program assistance must complete required homeownership education class prior to closing. The classes will cover topics including:
  • Home Buying
  • Budget and Credit
  • Home and Yard Maintenance
These classes help individuals and families take advantage of new housing opportunities by helping them gain the knowledge and financial skills they need to become successful homeowners. In addition, the classes will teach how to protect and maintain a housing investment and practice sound money management skills

Eligible Properties

The Homeownership Assistance Program has specific requirements for homes that will be purchased with the assistance of funding provided through the program. The home must meet all criteria outlined below: 
  • The home must be located within Lexington County.
  • The home must be occupied as the primary residence of the applicant.
  • The home must meet, at a minimum, Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS). A Lexington County Building Inspector will assess the home to determine compliance with quality standards. If corrective work is required, all work to address HQS violations must be completed prior to the closing date. Down payment assistance funds cannot be used for minor repairs or to correct violations.
  • Homes purchased with assistance through this program must meet the HUD Single Family Mortgage Limits under 203 (b) of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1709(b)). The County’s maximum purchase price for a home is currently $144,584 for a single-family dwelling (95% of the median area’s purchase). Homes that exceed this cost are not eligible for assistance through this program.
  • An appraisal must be done on the subject home/property. The home must appraise for at least the value of the purchase price.
How To Apply

County of Lexington
Community Development Department
212 South Lake Drive, Suite 401 Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: (803) 785-8559
Fax: (803) 785-8188

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-Through

It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through.

Make sure that:

•Repairs you’ve requested have been made. Obtain copies of paid bills and warranties.
•There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.
•All items that were included in the sale price — draperies, lighting fixtures, etc. — are still there.
•Screens and storm windows are in place or stored.
•All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.
•Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
•Hot water heater is working.
•No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.
•Heating and air conditioning system is working
•Garage door opener and other remotes are available.
•Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.
•All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed. Check the basement, attic, and every room, closet, and crawlspace.

Remember it will be a lot easier to get things corrected before closing.  After closing not so much.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Your Home Inspection Should Cover

Here are suggestions of areas you would want to have looked at; go over with your inspector and see if the has other suggestions. 
  • Siding: Look for dents or buckling
  • Foundations: Look for cracks or water seepage
  • Exterior Brick: Look for cracked bricks or mortar pulling away from bricks
  • Insulation: Look for condition, adequate rating for climate (the higher the R value, the more effective the insulation is)
  • Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, condition of locks, condition of weatherstripping
  • Roof: Look for age, conditions of flashing, pooling water, buckled shingles, or loose gutters and downspouts
  • Ceilings, walls, and moldings: Look for loose pieces, dry wall that is pulling away.
  • Porch/Deck: Loose railings or step, rot
  • Electrical: Look for condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room
  • Plumbing: Look for poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation
  • Water Heater: Look for age, size adequate for house, speed of recovery, energy rating.
  • Furnace/Air Conditioning: Look for age, energy rating. Furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency; the higher the rating, the lower your fuel costs. However, other factors such as payback period and other operating costs, such as electricity to operate motors.
  • Garage: Look for exterior in good repair; condition of floor—cracks, stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism.
  • Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell.
  • Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from roof.
  • Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your family.
  • Driveways/Sidewalks: Look for cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Inspector

Getting ready to hire a Home Inspector?  Here are some questions you might ask to get a better idea about their qualifications.
  • What are your qualifications? Are you a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or National Association of Home Inspectors?
  • Do you have a current license? Inspectors are not required to be licensed in every state.
  • How many inspections of properties such as this do you do each year?
  • Do you have a list of past clients I can contact?
  • Do you carry professional errors and omission insurance? May I have a copy of the policy?
  • Do you provide any guarantees of your work?
  • What specifically will the inspection cover?
  • What type of report will I receive after the inspection?
  • How long will the inspection take and how long will it take to receive the report?
  • How much will the inspection cost?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs

1. Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower.

2. Buy your homeowners and auto policies from the same company. You’ll usually qualify for a discount. But make sure that the savings really yields thelowest price.

3. Make your home less susceptible to damage. Keep roofs and drains in good repair. Retrofit your house to protect against natural disasters common to your area.

4. Keep your home safer. Install smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and dead-bolt locks. All of these will usually qualify for a discount.

5. Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you’re covering replacement cost, not market value.

6. Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who are home more than working people may qualify for a discount on theft insurance.

7. Stay with the same insurer. Especially in today’s tight insurance market, your current vendor is more likely to give you a good price.

8. See if you belong to any groups—associations, alumni groups—that offer lower insurance rates.

9. Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.

10. See if there’s a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, such as the coasts, federal or state governments may back plans to lower rates.  Ask you agents.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reality Check

Isaiah 59 was a part of my Bible readings a few days ago.  Perhaps there is there is something for everyone in these words.  I leave it to you to discern the meaning and impact God has in our lives and what is important going forward.

Sin, Confession and Redemption (Isaiah 59)

1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
and your tongue mutters wicked things.

4 No one calls for justice;
no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

5 They hatch the eggs of vipers
and spin a spider's web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.

6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
and acts of violence are in their hands.

7 Their feet rush into sin;
they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
acts of violence mark their ways.

8 The way of peace they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks along them will know peace.

9 So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
among the strong, we are like the dead.

11 We all growl like bears;
we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
and we acknowledge our iniquities:

13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
turning our backs on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,
uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.

15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.

17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

18 According to what they have done,
so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
and retribution to his foes;
he will repay the islands their due.

19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the Lord drives along.t

20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,"
declares the Lord.

21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the Lord. "My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever," says the Lord.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lease-to-Own House Purchases

What Is a Lease-to-Own Purchase?
  • A lease-to-own house purchase (also "rent-to-own purchase" or "lease purchase") is a lease combined with an option to purchase the property within a specified period, usually 3 years or less, at an agreed-upon price. Such arrangements have proliferated in the post-crisis market because many potential home buyers can’t meet the tougher loan qualification requirements today, and many potential sellers are unable to realize a satisfactory price in any other way.
  • Lease-purchase plans can be structured in such a way that both parties benefit. They can also be structured so that all the benefits flow to one of the parties and none to the other. Buyers especially need to be careful because they usually know less about the market than sellers, and the seller usually provides the contract. 
  • Contract Features of a Lease-Purchase. In a typical arrangement, the borrower pays an option fee, 1% to 5% of the price, which is credited to the purchase price. The borrower pays a market rent, and an additional rent premium that is also credited to the purchase price. The option fee, option period, rent, rent premium, and purchase price are all negotiable items. If the purchase option is not exercised, the buyer loses both the option fee and the rent premium.
  • Buyers generally prefer a long option period because it provides more time to accumulate savings and repair credit. A long period can boomerang on them, however, if they are never able to exercise the option, since they lose the rent premium they have been paying all the while, in addition to the option fee. Sellers generally prefer a short option period, but if it is too short, the house won’t be sold.
  • The option fee and rent premium are viewed differently by buyers and sellers. To the buyer, they are part of the equity in the house they fully expect to own. To sellers, however, these payments are the best guarantee that their houses will sell; if they don’t sell, the payments are retained as income. That the benefit to the seller generally exceeds the cost to the buyer makes the lease-to-own deal a possible win-win.
  • A lease purchase contract may or may not give the renter/buyer the right to sell the option. This will have value to the buyer who isn’t completely confident of being able to exercise the option. It is a cost to the seller who prefers to retain the house and the monies collected.
  • Lease contracts may also contain provisions that nullify the buyer’s option, a point discussed below.
Using a Lease-Purchase to Buy
  • The lease-purchase offers homeownership opportunities to consumers who can't qualify for a loan from any source, but who are prepared to bet on themselves. The bet is that before the option period expires, they will qualify for the mortgage they need to exercise the purchase option. During the option period, they have the opportunity to rebuild their credit and accumulate savings while living in the house.
  • Even though it is costly, the right not to exercise the option is of value to buyers. If there is something seriously wrong with the house, neighborhood, or neighbors, the buyer can cut her losses by not exercising the option.
Dangers to Buyers
  • A major threat to buyers is contractual provisions that can nullify their option, such as the failure to pay the rent on the first day of the month. Such provisions are most likely to appear in contracts used by developers or firms that own multiple homes. One such firm in Florida had more evictions based on unreasonable conditions than they had purchases. Read the contract very carefully to make sure you are confident you can meet all the conditions.
Using a Lease-Purchase to Sell
  • Most home sellers want a cash sale, but for those prepared to hang on to the property awhile longer, the benefits can be compelling. Buyers unable to become homeowners in any other way will generally be willing to commit to a future price substantially higher than the price at which the property could be sold today.
  • While the deal may fall through, in that case the seller gets to pocket the option fee and rent premium. The seller also continues to enjoy the tax deduction on his mortgage interest payments during the option period.
The Option Fee and Rent Premium Are Not Part of the Down Payment.
  • The option fee and rent premium are not part of the down payment unless the seller agrees to relinquish the right to retain these payments in the event the buyer doesn’t exercise the option. Few sellers would be willing to do that. But the option fee and rent payments do make the required down payment slightly smaller.
  • For example, the parties agree to a price of $100,000 and the option fee and rent premium add to $5,000 when the option is exercised. From the standpoint of the lender, the price is $95,000 and a 5% down payment requirement would call for a down payment of $4750 instead of $5,000.
Be smart; don't do this on your own it would be a good idea for Buyers and Sellers to consult with a Realtor and make sure they understand the lease to purchase option.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Simple Staging Tips for Inside and Out

Before you show your home to any potential buyer, you want to make sure the staging is perfect. Follow these general tips and your home will look better than the competition.


■Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep accessories and objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items. In general, a de-cluttered home helps the buyer mentally “move in” with their own things. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture in your home, if necessary. Many times home owners have too much furniture in a room. When it comes to selling your home, thin out overcrowded rooms to make the rooms appear larger.

■Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn’t been used for three months…put it away! Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, magnets, pictures, etc.

■In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from the countertops, tub, shower stall, and commode top. Keep only the most necessary cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels in one or two colors only.

■Take down, reduce, or rearrange pictures and objects on walls. Patch and paint all walls, if necessary.

■Review the house interior, room by room, and paint any room needing paint, clean carpet and draperies that need it, and clean windows.

■Pack up and store. If you need room to store extra possessions, get a storage unit.

■Leave on certain lights during the day . During showings turn on ALL lights and lamps.

■Set a background tune. Play light FM music every day in the house, for all viewings.


■Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., to the garage or, if applicable, take them to the dump.

■Check gutters and roof for dry rot and moss. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.

■Examine all plants. Plants are like children…they grow so fast. Prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows: “You can’t sell a house if you can’t see it!”

■Remove any dead plants, weed all planting areas, and put down fresh mulching material.

■Keep your lawn freshly cut, edged, and fertilized during the growing season.

■Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as little planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbeques, toys, etc.

■Check the condition of the paint on your home, especially the trim and the front door. The first impression, or “curb appeal,” is very important.


Try to look at your house “through a buyer’s eyes,” as though you’ve never seen it before. This exercise will help you see what needs to be done. Any time and money invested on these items will usually bring you the return of more money and a quicker sale.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Helpfull Advise on How To Price Your Home to Sell

When you decide that it’s time to sell your home, chances are you will want to price your home to sell fast. The best way to begin the process of pricing your home is to take your personal feelings out of the equation. By viewing your home as a property rather than, say, “my first home,” you take your personal feelings out of the equation and can therefore focus on the sale as a business transaction. If you want to price your home to sell fast, you will need to do some homework first, and if you do it right you can unload your property at a great price and within a reasonable time period.
Check Out the Neighborhood
Don’t be afraid to visit open houses in the neighbourhood to see what homes in your area are priced at and what that price includes. Square footage is not the be all, end all of pricing a home. The quality of the contents that come with the home are also of major importance (e.g. high-end faucets, energy efficient appliances, wood flooring throughout the home, etc.) Focus on homes that are being sold within a 2 mile radius and that similar in size to your own and pay close attention to the things that catch your eye.
  • Are the Floors Clean?
  • Is the home move-in ready?
  • How’s the temperature?
  • Are the kitchen and bathrooms up to date?
  • Are the walls newly-painted?
  • Does the home need some obvious repairs?
When you get back to your place, try approaching it in the same way and ask yourself the same questions. Also, keep an eye on how long the homes stay on the market. Remember that the homes that sell the fastest are the ones that are in great condition, clean and are staged well.
Follow the Comparables
Now it’s time to look into the homes that are similar to yours that have already sold in your area. Although open houses will show you what people are asking for their homes, comparables will demonstrate what homes are actually selling for. Find out how long these homes were on the market before selling and this will help you establish which way local prices are trending. If you have trouble putting this information together visit Trulia or Zillow or call David the Agent and he will be glad to help with the information at no charge.
Offer a Good Deal
If three homes on your block are listed between $300,000 and $310,000, and you decide to list for $280,000, guess whose property will generate the most interest? It is best to price your home right the first time rather than have to constantly revisit the price you set and keep lowering it. Remember that if you list your home for sale and get visits but no offers, you may have asked for too much. If no one even shows up, then there is a good chance you got your pricing too high.
Price Your Home to Sell
Selling a home is not difficult so long as you educate yourself about what’s going on around you and price your home effectively. Add to that a move in ready home in a great location and you will have yourself a home sale in no time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Is Appraised Value?

It’s an objective opinion of value, but it’s not an exact science so appraisals may differ.For buying and selling purposes, appraisals are usually based on market value—what the property could probably be sold for. Other types of value include insurance value, replacement value, and assessed value for property tax purposes.
  • Appraised value is not a constant number. Changes in market conditions can dramatically alter appraised value.
  • Appraised value doesn’t consider special considerations, like the need to sell rapidly.
  • Lenders usually use either the appraised value or the sale price, whichever is less, to determine the amount of the mortgage they will offer.

Possible Sources for a Down Payment

These suggestions aren’t for the faint at heart. But, if you’re serious about saving up these sure fire moves will help you reach your goal.
  • Payroll Deductions: One of the best ways to save money is to hide it from yourself. Payroll deductions or allocating a piece of your direct deposit to a special savings account can be a great way to trick yourself into saving.
  • Tax Refund: You know it’s coming, why not use it toward your down payment? If you’re really serious about home ownership, talk to an accountant about tax planning to make sure there is a little green at the end of the year to help you with your down payment.
  • Borrow from the 401k: It’s not losing your retirement, it’s more so using a piece of one investment to make another. First-time homebuyers can one-time borrow up to $10,000 from their Individual RetirementAccounts (IRAs) without paying the early withdrawal fees. Be sure to talk to your 401k or IRA administrator to find out how it will impact your retirement.
  • More Work; if you’re serious about reaching your down payment goal, consider spending a few hours working part-time. 10 hours/ week at $10/hour all year will get you $5200 closer to your goal.
I know that home ownership isn't for everyone.  But Real Estate is still a great investment.  Home prices are lower than I can ever remember.  At some point home prices will have to appriciate and I think that is just around the corner.  START SAVING NOW!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Saving for a Down Payment

  • Plan for progress – Your Dream Budget-Saving isn’t all dollars and cents, it’s a little emotional. Find a few visuals to remind you why you’re in the saving game. They could be photos or a list of features of your dream home. Whatever your focal point, store it close to your budget, wallet, or in the place you pay bills to remind you of what you’re working for.
  • Slow your Spending – The biggest enemy of spending is the impulse buy. So, for purchases over $25 exercise some self-discipline and ask yourself;  Is this purchase for a real need or a want?
  • Avoid the Convenience -Your mother was right, good things take time…and so do cheap things. From coffee on the go to lavish meals out, most consumers are paying quite a bit for convenience. Try to avoid your local convenience stores and become friends with your kitchen to help your bottom line.
  • Drink More Water - According to the National Soft Drink Association, the average American Household spends about $850 annually on sweetened drinks. In contrast, water costs just a penny per gallon. Do this and you’ll start your life as a homeowner not only richer, but a bit healthier too.
  • Track Expenses - Face Your Truth - The only thing more powerful than creating a budget is actually reading and tracking it. Schedule some time with yourself every week to face the truth about your spending habits and find new ways you can save.
  • Eliminate the excess spending - Locate the excess in your budget and slash it. Trade the gym for home workouts, expensive movie nights for checking out free videos from the library, and keep an eye out at the end of each month for services you aren’t using.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain—the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same is true with selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.
How to Calculate Gain

In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate this:
  1. Take the purchase price of the home: This is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.
  2. Add Adjustments:  
  • Cost of the purchase—including transfer fees, attorney fees, inspections, but not points you paid on your mortgage.
  • Cost of sale—including inspections, attorney’s fee, real estate commission, and money you spent to fix up your home just prior to sale.
  • Cost of improvements—including room additions, deck, etc. Note here that improvements do not include repairing or replacing something already there, such as putting on a new roof or buying a new furnace.
  • The total of this is the adjusted cost basis of your home.
  • Subtract this adjusted cost basis from the amount you sell your home for. This is your capital gain.
A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains
  1. Since 1997, up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a home is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria
  2. You have lived in the home as your principal residence for two out of the last five years.
  3. You have not sold or exchanged another home during the two years preceding the sale.
  4. Also note that as of 2003, you may also qualify for this exemption if you meet what the IRS calls “unforeseen circumstances” such as job loss, divorce, or family medical emergency.
Consult your local tax expert to ensure accurate calculation.

Monday, January 2, 2012

445 Indigo Ridge Rd (Just Reduced) $159,995

This beautiful 4 BR, 2.5 BA priced ready to sell! The home boasts: beautiful hardwood floors, the master suite is on the main floor with hardwoods, his & her closets, double vanity sink and separate shower. The kitchen looks brand new, gleaming ceramic tile floors: included in baths, laundry room. Nicely landscaped yard, fenced in back yard and deck. Summit community, 2 pools, tennis, B ball court, fishing ponds and park.  Call David 803.553.3740

Advantages to Buying a Small Home

If you’re shopping for a home, you may be wondering how big a home you need.  Bigger homes usually
come with big price tag and for sure more of all the reasons for considering a smaller home. 

Less Cost
Not only will the home cost less in and of itself; heating up the place will also incur a minimal cost. Even replacing the roof or repainting will cost you less because there is less space to cover.  As well, you will pay less for property taxes.

Less To Clean
A smaller home takes less time to clean, so you can spend more time with the family and less time vacuuming, dusting and maintaining the exterior. And that is certainly a welcome treat for most parents.

More Luxuries
Spending less on your home means that you have some disposable income to splurge on better vacations, nicer furniture and quality appliances. The space may be small, but it can still contain the hottest trends.

Easier To Organize
With small spaces, you are forced to maintain a more organized lifestyle, as storage space is limited. This will keep you in check when it comes to clutter and keeping things that you don’t really need.

Small Homes Easier to Sell?
Thanks to rising costs on everything from energy to furniture, selling a smaller home may be easier than selling a makeshift mansion. Price it right when you’re ready to sell and you will unload your small home a lot faster

Something has to be said about a small space that allows for human intimacy.  Fewer and smaller rooms means spending more time together doing what families are all about; being together.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Resolution

This morning the message at church was from Philippians 4:10-13:  10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Now I don't know about you but for me this is a difficult place to get to.  Admittedly Paul was better disciplined than I but why not give this a try.  It is surly is a better resolution than loosing weight or exercising more.  We either believe or not and if we do anything is possible.  This is my prayer for the coming year.

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which Have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.