Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Success and Value

My husband and I attended a lecture over weekend about planning for the future. Most of the people in attendence were students and spouses of students. The wives are generally trying to balance either having a career or children and a spouse in school. The general purpose of the lecture was to give advice on financial planning for the future. What do you do when you get out of school and have an income? Is it imporant to buy life insurance and why? How much should your first house cost? I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and found it useful. Planning for the future is something my husband and I talk about regularly.

Growing up, my father always used to say, "The more you save now, the more you'll have later." And he's right. We are trying to save what we can and spend wisely. But, something the lecturer said really stuck with me. He said something like, "Some people are defined by their money and some people define their money."

I met this guy once who drove an old beat up Mercedes. He was retired and drove his car in town every day to pick up his mail at the post office. His neighbors all drove very latest and greatest in luxury vehicles. He said if you have to drive the nicest car in town you need people to know if you have money, you don't have as much as you think you do. If you have money and don't really care if anyone knows, then it doesn't matter what you drive and you're richer than the rest. My guess is he wasn't speaking of 'richer' as a manner of material wealth, but more of the quality of life.

My parents weren't rich or poor, but I learned the 'value' of money. I have learned the difference between having nice things because I like them and having nice things because it makes me feel like a better person than those who don't have nice things. I have learned the importance of saving and have experienced my fair share of 'rainy days' in which that savings literally 'saved' me.

Albert Einstein once said,“Try to become not a man of success, but a man of value.” I grew up in a nice town and went to a nice school. Most of my friends drove nice cars. But it wasn't enough to drive a nice car. They had to shop at the right stores, hang out in right places, and carry the right handbag just so everyone knew they had money. But what facinated me about it all is that they didn't have any money. Their parents had money. While I was driving around in an blue Dodge Caravan with wood grain on the side, my friends were driving their brand new Mustangs and Explorers. But please, don't feel sorry for me; at least I had a car. And - I have those years of character development to thank for the current value and condition of my life.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thank you for the support!

Thank you so much for those who have contacted me with interest in helping Elizabeth and her daughter. I spoke to her this morning and they are doing okay. She is anxious to get out as soon as possible. I will be wiring the money to her and she hopes to be back to the US by Tuesday. I will keep you all posted on her status. Thank you again to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Trouble in Kenya

Kenya is currently in a state of unrest. Hundreds have been killed in fighting over the disputed election. My dear friend, Elizabeth, and her daughter, Turi, went to Kenya to visit family before the holidays. As a result of the fighting, she has been unable to leave the country. They have lost everything they have and are currently being supervised by troops and police, however they are desperate to get back to the United States. At this time, we are currently raising money for anyone interested in participating to assistant Elizabeth and Turi.

I met Elizabeth while serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elizabeth and her daughter were baptized and have remained active and faithful members of the church. She has worked as a stock trader, registered nurse, and most recently as the Project Vice President of "The African Water Project".

We are hoping to have a money order sent in the next couple of days. Please let me know if you are interested in contributing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Something Blue"

I just finished reading a book by Emily Giffin called, "Something Blue". I started reading it on Monday and couldn't put it down. I just read the very last paragraph which inspired this particular entry. It reads, "Love and Friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them." The story is about 2 best friends, who, during a crazy sequence of events end up betraying each other. In the end, they forgive one another and realize the power of true friendship.

As I think back to my early days, I am reminded of my best friends: Sarah Buchanan and Andree Sprik. Then, as I got a bit older and in high school, it was Stacey McMillan and Kena Patterson. I still keep in touch with Stacey and Kena on occasion, but when I think of my all time best friend - the one I couldn't live without, I think of my friend Andrea Usry (now Taylor). Although we haven't seen each other in years and our lives are so different now, some of the best memories I have are with her. And although we don't talk as often as we should, there is something that exists between us and until today, I've never really understood what it is that kept us together all these years. It's true friendship: trust, respect, being happy for one anothers successes, being there to listen to one anothers hardships, it's understanding, and a bond that neither time nor distance can take a away.

So Andrea - I promise to do better at staying in touch with you. I admire you so much as a person, as a mother to three beautiful children, and as a friend. Thank you for always being there for me and giving me the opportuntiy to be there for you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A few pictures and a few comments...

I sent the link to my blog out to some friends and family yesterday and I have had some positive responses. Keep them coming - positive or negative, I can take it.

Thanks to Bub for his comments on the page. He is a talented writer and offered some great insight in to some of the questions I've asked and topics I've discussed. If you have a chance, read them.

I'm attaching a picture of my family and myself.

New Years Resolutions anyone?

Monday, January 14, 2008

High School Experiment

I was watching Oprah a few weeks ago. Before I explain why this particular episode stood out to me, let me first say I really am inspired by Oprah. Not only is she an intelligent, powerful woman, but she talks about real issues. Not that paternity tests and "my boyfriend slept with my uncles sisters cousin" isn't important, but she really does address current issues facing women and society as a whole. Sometimes she tries to create a little controversy, but not like Tyra Banks who turns a 'daddy daughter date' in to some sick and twisted idea.

The particular episode I watched was a high school experiment at "Monroe High". They took a large group of students in to the gym and asked them questions. If the answer was 'yes', they were to step over the big black line. If the answer was 'no', they stayed where they were. I can't say I was suprised when almost everyone crossed the line when asked a question about abuse by a family member, friend or teacher or when asked about being humiliated in the classroom. I guess that is really the foundation for the title of my blog, "We're not so different; You and me." I think sometimes we try to identify ourselves by being 'different' than those around us because somehow that makes us special. Believe me, I like to tell everyone where I'm from and the experiences in my life that I think make me unique, but when it comes right down to it - no matter where we're from, how much money we don't have, or what types of clothes we wear, we have experienced some of the same things and I think more often than not, those are the things that shape who we are. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that instead of trying to identify ourselves as being so different and unique from one another, maybe if we tried harder to find what we have in common and learn from each other for those things, the world would be a happier place.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Holiday Vacation

So my husband and I are visiting our families for the next several days. I probably won't make it back to provide an ever so interesting blog until our return. Don't worry - I'll have some photos by then, too. Hope all is well.