Paying Attention is Affordable

In today’s economic state, a lot of us are trying to find ways to cut back on spending.  We are eating out less and taking “stay-cations” to save money wherever we can.  While parents are more accepting of making these sacrifices, sometimes our children are not so enthusiastic.  So, how do we get them to jump on our bandwagon willingly?

The most affordable answer is to pay attention to them.  One of my son’s favorite rainy day activities is to make our living room a movie theater.  We close all the curtains and make it as dark as possible.  We pick out a movie and turn up the volume on the TV, and if you have surround sound it makes it that much better.  Grab some pillows and blankets for maximum comfort.  And don’t forget popcorn, gummi bears and whatever snacks remind you of the movie theater. 

Ask your children to think of an at home activity that they love.  You might be surprised to find that they don’t often care what the activity is, but that you are the one participating with them.  Sending them off to play video games might keep them quiet, but picking up some crayons and drawing on paper with them will always be much more rewarding for both of you.


Count your blessings

In my adult years, I have become much more appreciative of the life I have.  I may not be a millionaire, or have a job, or know how to pay off the credit card debt that never seems to disappear, but I do have one thing that seems to be in short supply these days.  My sanity.

Sure, it’s been tested.  It’s been brought to the edge and back over the years.  But never once has it abandoned me.  In one week’s time, a woman denied tenure at a university stood up at a meeting and opened fire on her colleagues.  Then today, a man upset with the IRS, set fire to his home and flew a small plane into an office building. 

These are not people who just snapped in a moment of panic.  The professor loaded that firearm and took it with her to her teaching job at a university.  And unless she feared for her life on a daily basis, she had put some planning into this.  The pilot, who built up years of rage and frustration, posted a suicide note online.  He set his house on fire.  Then is when he started up the plane for his big finale.  What could have saved these people from taking such drastic measures to be heard?  These are only two cases of so many that we know have occured over the years.

How are people coming to the conclusion that this is the way to solve it all?  My confusion increases with each new story that occurs.  People with families, friends and a seemingly good life just throw it all away so haphazardly.   

I count my blessings for being lucky enough to survive one more day without having been a part of another newsworthy tragedy.  I am thankful for my sanity to which I cling so dearly.  Even on my worst day, it proves to be my one true anchor.

Picking up where I was laid off

Autumn was in full swing and the holidays were approaching.  My husband and I were selling our house and had found a buyer.  We soon fell in love with a house to buy and were excited to be moving forward with the plans we had started several years ago. 

I was working from home, so I had sat down for another day laden with projects and account research.  I opened my email to find a meeting scheduled very early with my supervisor and I swallowed hard.  I knew what was coming and, unfortunately, I was right.  After 10 years of working for this company, I was being laid off.  I am still not sure what took over first, fear or anger.  I spent 10 years working so much more than 40 hours a week.  I thought I had proven myself as a valuable employee.  How could this happen to me now?  But there was no personal attack here.  My supervisors had always shown their appreciation.  This was just the trickle down effect of a big business dealing with recession.

After sufficent tears and panic had subsided, I started planning.  I have severance, unemployment and a supportive family keeping me afloat.  I realized that with the time off, I could spend the holidays with my kids instead of my laptop.  I could pack up our house and have an organized move.  I even have time to unpack once we move in.  I soon realized that this was the best thing to happen to me.  What started out as a nightmare could become the key to reaching my dreams.

So, here I sit, typing away at my first blog.  Realizing how much I love to write and wanting to find a way to get back into it.  This time, I will find a way to hunt down the job that I want.  This time, I learned that even though circumstances may take what seems like a devastating turn, I can grab the wheel and steer myself in the right direction.  And even if it’s been years since I poured my heart out on a page, there’s no reason why I can’t pick up where I left off.