Tag: Work

Comfort

Tonight my mood while writing this post can be summed up in one word- comfort.  Why is that you might ask? Well, there are a number of reasons.  First, I am watching one of my all-time favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.  My regular readers will not be surprised by this- as it is the one of only two movies I have written entire posts on (See Open to Change).   It’s interesting because I wrote the post in May of last year when my life was going through many changes.  Now my life is once again changing and wouldn’t you know I turn to the same movie to provide escapism and comfort.  I know it is predictable and somewhat obvious, but I don’t care.  It makes me laugh, has lots to say about modern-day work,  captures my love of books and New York City,  and realizes  my fantasy of a romantic pen pal.  Plus, its themes of modernity and change are ones I continue to come back to again and again.  I will not bore you by re-posting my favorite quotes from the movie.  You can look at my original post for that.  Suffice it to say, it is a comfort movie in a time of change.  Do any of you have movies you watch repeatedly?  One of these days I am going to do a posting on my favorite movies.  I have started one several times but it is difficult to pare it down to a manageable list.

The second comforting aspect of tonight is the food I made.  I happened to have the ingredients to make one of my family’s favorite items- German potato salad.  If any of you haven’t enjoyed this dish, it is made with potatoes, bacon, vinegar, sugar, flour, celery seed, salt and onion.  It is one of those dishes that pulls off the delicious sweet/salty combination.  I have been trying to eat healthier in the last few weeks (lost 10 lbs in 5 weeks!) , so perhaps this choice was a bit of an indulgence but as a main course for dinner it wasn’t too bad.  We have a tradition in our family of eating a  German meal on Christmas Eve.  It sounds odd but it is delicious.  The main course is bratwurst sandwiches cooked on the griddle with rye bread, gooey swish cheese and my mom’s special sauerkraut.  Most people turn their noses up at sauerkraut but that is because they  haven’t tried my mom’s.  It is delicious.  She takes the sauerkraut, rinses it, and then boils it in fresh apple cider for hours until it is sweet/salty yummy!  It has won over even the most ardent sauerkraut haters.  As a side for the  meal we also have german potato salad.  I have tried to recreate the other aspects of the Christmas Eve meal but to no avail.  The two times I tried the sauerkraut it  didn’t turn out and the sandwiches are nothing without it.  The german potato salad I have succeeded in making, so I decided to tackle it tonight. It was delicious and comforting.

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The third comforting aspect of tonight is the satisfaction of hard work.  Is there anything better or more comforting than relaxing after working really hard? Ever since I got home from Hawaii I have felt a bit like  a chicken with its head cut off- running around frantically, working hard and not knowing what was happening next.  I can now see things coming into place but it’s been a bit overwhelming.  As with any change there is the fear of the unknown, the fear of being unhappy, the fear of picking the wrong path.  It has been hard and I think I’ve done a pretty good job keeping it all together.  Maybe part of it is I’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for moping around the house or worrying.  There were about 2 weeks when I allowed myself to stress out about the future, but now I am excited about the opportunities that are coming.  As I mentioned in my last post I have gone from worrying whether I had one job to now having the potential for four- vacation rentals, sales tax, Grabber events, and managing other people’s vacation rentals.  I have had to put the real estate school on the back burner for August but that will start up in September, which I am excited about (my renting 2 of the Suncrest houses as long-term rentals  should be a good sign for my future as a property manager!).  This week in particular I have been working all hours on the vacation rentals, the long-term rentals, getting trained on sales tax, working on Grabber events and more. Yesterday I was up at the houses from the morning until late in the afternoon working and forgot to drink enough water or eat lunch. Eventually I had to lie down because I started feeling faint.  I also had phone calls all day- by 2 pm I had received 25 incoming calls! It was exhausting.  Today I knew I needed to take a break from it all and that is what I have done.  I had my voice lesson this morning, which is always wonderful.  Then I came home worked on my computer for the afternoon, made dinner and am watching the movie.  It feels great to just enjoy my life!

The only thing that would make today more comforting is if I wasn’t alone.  However, maybe wishing for someone to watch You’ve Got Mail and eat german potato salad with is wishing for too much! Even if a man is unrealistic, it would be the icing on the cake to have a girlfriend or two with me.  There are so many who are far away, and I miss greatly- Melissa, Raelene, Emily and Stefanie to name a few.  I can also imagine this night with my sisters- all of us laughing and eating together.  Still, they are all only a phone call away, and they all love me.  As much as I would love their company, the knowledge of their love builds me and provides comfort.   I know whatever career path or life choice I make my friends and family will support and encourage me.  One of my most frequent prayers throughout my life has been one of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all the love He has given me.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about needing increased faith for the months ahead.  It may have sounded trite or simplistic to some, but I don’t care.  Having faith means believing in something that is not seen.  At that moment I could not see what was in store for me.  I still have many unknowns but already I have seen new opportunities open- chances that will help me be a better, more interesting person.  This is perhaps the most comforting part about tonight- that I know everything will be ok.  My life is watched over.  As long as I work hard, believe in myself and trust in God then everything will turn out for the best.  This is a hard thing to believe when life is in chaos but it’s true.

Thank you for all your support during this crazy time.  Thank you for the comfort.

Update on Things

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It truly is amazing what can happen in a few days.   Let me quickly update all of you.   It is easier to explain things in categories:

Work- the vacation rentals- Things are still a little unsure with the rentals right now.  We are going to present our case before the board of directors at the end of August, and we will see if we can continue.  If not we will rent the homes as long term rentals.   In fact, we have already found a long term renter for our home the Benji (I found a renter in under 3 weeks- not bad hah!).  At the same time we are pleading our case we will show the other two homes to interested parties and if the right offer comes we will take it. Right now we are getting a lot of interest so things are looking good.  In the meantime I still have people coming and going throughout the end of the Summer and must keep the landscaping and other maintenance up to par (my dad and I  want the homes to be the best in the neighborhood both for our guests and to impress the HOA).

Work- other opportunities- so at the same time the vacation rentals is or may be winding down I have several new opportunities.   First of all, I am going to continue to run events for Grabber handwarmers.  This is something I did last year where we set up a booth at local Winter sport venues and festivals to give out free product. It is a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people.  Plus, it is outside and I am all about work that doesn’t keep me at a desk all day (although the cold weather is no fun!).

In addition to the events, I am going to be doing sales tax entries for Grabber.  This should be easy and a nice steady stream of income that I can still do mostly from my home.  It’s not hard- just a bunch of little steps that have to be kept track of.  I will go in and get training soon.

The most exciting new opportunity for me is I have a new client for property management.  It is a long story but there is a company I have been working with for about 2 months with- giving them the vacation rental referrals we could not fill.  I met up with him last month, and he was very impressed with my occupancy rate and what I had done with nothing more than excel and a google calendar (they have a fancy vacation rental software- oh la la!).  Like I said, I have been giving them our referrals and finally yesterday one of them came through and made a reservation, so I sent the president of the company an email that said “Since we have successfully given you a lead I think it is time to talk
about a commission? Rachel.”.

He emailed me back saying “It sounds like its time to pay Rachel.  Congrats……..the way I see it is when we convert a lead from you, rachel gets paid 10 percent.  I’d also  like to talk to you about more than just commissions on leads.  I think u could really help us internally.  Let’s talk tomorrow.”!

Now I not only get 10% ($249 nt for a week=$1743= $174.30 for me!) but I am also going to be able to do regular work for his rentals.  I am convinced I can increase his occupancy rate.  Afterall, I have our homes the Sammy and the Anna full an average of 24 days a month!  Hard to get better than that.

It’s a great opportunity, and I am SO EXCITED!

As you can tell I have a lot going on with work- almost to the point of being a little overwhelming- but mostly exciting.  It’s the next chapter in my life and it will allow me to continue to be self-employed, which is more important than anything else.  I shutter at the thought of returning to a full-time desk job.  It’s not for me.

Moving on to another exciting development:

School-  I have signed up to get my real estate license.  It is through Stringham Real Estate Schools in Murray, Ut.   To get the license you have to take around 50 classess that are kind of like seminars (no home work, just come to class and take a quiz after).  I can do the classes either online or at the ground campus, and I can do up to 4 a day.   Some people finish in as short as 6 weeks, others take a couple of months.  Amazingly enough, the whole course is only $450 with a $14 book fee and later test/license fees).  In the world of education it is a bargain.  Getting this license will make it easier for me to market my property management skills to others.  Legally I should have it for what I am currently doing but since it has been with my dad I haven’t bothered.  Now is the perfect opportunity to get this done.  I know some people hate school, but I actually enjoy it.  I may not like every class, but I like the general process of learning new things.  I was starting to feel the itch to go back to school and this fits perfectly.  I am thrilled.

While I am busy with work and school I am also trying to enjoy my life.  Lately I have had a great time with old and new friends.  Tomorrow is book club, which I am always excited about.  Plus, I have my calling in church, my community service goal and the ongoing fitness challenge I mentioned a few entries ago (lost 9 lbs so far!).   Not to mention I have this blog I want to keep up (nearly 100 posts in just over a year).

For all of you Latter-day Saint women- my friends and I are doing something creative you might find interesting.  For visiting teaching  (a church program where we make calls on each other, to make sure we are doing well in all aspects of our life) this month we are gathering together at my apartment for a big dinner.  I am inviting my girls, they are inviting their girls and so on. As a group we will teach the lesson, socialize and make sure everyone is doing ok.  If this works I intend to do it many if not all months.   Feel free to steal my idea!  The dinner is this Wednesday, so I will let you know how it goes in a later post.

I recognize this was a very random post, but I wanted to let everyone know how things are going.  It has been a wild nearly 2 months since I returned from Hawaii, especially with work.  I was pretty stressed out there for a while; however, t just as many of you reassured me things have turned out for the best, and I am looking forward to the future.  It is going to be busy but productive and exciting!  Thanks for all your support and I will keep the blog posted on all the latest developments.

What’s Going On

Hello blogging community.  It has been a few days since I last posted.  This is due partly to my sister Anna’s visit but mostly to the recent chaos that is my life.  Let me explain.

Ever since I got back from Hawaii there has been one stressful crisis after another.  I don’t want to get into it but do you ever feel that you are having a losing streak?  It’s like everything I try fizzles.  The yards haven’t been good enough, the houses not well enough maintained, the tenants have been difficult, I’ve made some stupid mistakes, tenants have lied to my face, I’ve had squabbles with people, gotten my feelings hurt, and the home owner’s association is now threatening to make us stop our vacation rental business.  My dad has taken the brunt of all of this and for that I feel even worse because the last thing he needed was a time-eating legal process.

The other thing that makes me sad is my best friend is moving to California to start law school.  I will miss Melissa Noyes a lot.  She has been a solid support for me over the last 3 years and on my mission.  I appreciate her optimism and the way she makes me forget my troubles.  The thing I love the most about her is she is not a worrier like I am.  In a very non-cheesy way when I am with Melissa I forget my problems and have fun. I will miss our near-weekly dinners at Wingers (although my waistline won’t!) and the barrage of stupid romantic comedies we saw together.  With Melissa’s departure I will have more friends outside of Utah than in.  While I am able to keep in touch with these friends and they are SO important in my life, I do miss having the nearby interaction.  I am grateful for all my friends and all the support they continually give me.

For the moment, it looks like I may not be working in September and October on the rentals.  I will have Grabber work, which should be a enough to live off of.  Plus, I will be starting a real estate broker class that will keep my busy.  In addition, there are other potential business opportunities that could also develop. Anyway, it has just been a lot to deal with in basically a months time- particularly when you think I got a nasty sinus infection, a family reunion, and had other commitments as well.

I am trying my best to be calm and take each day as they come.  Almost all of the things that stress me out right now I can’t control, so I know I shouldn’t worry about them.  I also know everything will be Ok.  I’ve just never been a big one for change and that is particularly true when something that has made me so happy (my job over the last year) is changing.  Stepping into the unknown is scary and uncertain, but I also have to remember that it is exciting and full of potential.

I am trying my best to remember the Lord’s hand in all things and that without change I will never grow.  Already this situation has caused me to pray more fervently than I was before.  Please include me in your prayers.  I know my problems may seem small but the power of friends at prayer is strong.  If anything it will help me be strong.

In the end, I just have to increase my faith. I like to control things- to set a plan and micromanage them until they are accomplished.  Now I am in a situation where that control is impossible.  I must have faith.  My Heavenly Father brought me to this job, and He will lead me to my next assignment.  I don’t think I have ever felt the spirit more strongly than when I quit my old accounting job.   Then I spent 6 months in the unknown, interviewing for job after job, with nothing coming from my hard work.  Then this opportunity to manage vacation rentals came and it has been awesome, difficult in some ways but mostly awesome.  Hopefully things will remain the same, but I just need to believe in His plan for me, be creative, and work hard. Having faith in the unknown can be the hardest thing to do but isn’t that the definition of faith?

I don’t want to sound melodramatic.  I know others face far more stressful and devastating situations.  This is merely an unknown career change.  Nevertheless, it is difficult in its own way for me.  Again, thank you for your thoughts, support and prayers.  I will keep the blog posted on what happens.

Here’s a poem about faith I like by Emily Dickinson.

My Faith is larger than the Hills
My Faith is larger than the Hills —
So when the Hills decay —
My Faith must take the Purple Wheel
To show the Sun the way —

‘Tis first He steps upon the Vane —
And then — upon the Hill —
And then abroad the World He go
To do His Golden Will —

And if His Yellow feet should miss —
The Bird would not arise —
The Flowers would slumber on their Stems —
No Bells have Paradise —

How dare I, therefore, stint a faith
On which so vast depends —
Lest Firmament should fail for me —
The Rivet in the Bands

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Many Worlds in One

The other day I saw a fascinating NOVA program on PBS.  It is called Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives and it focuses on Hugh Everett and his son Mark. On the surface the two seem completely different but they are actually linked in an interesting way. In the end, the life of the father explains the life of the son.

In the early 60’s Hugh was a physicist for the Pentagon working as a cold war scientist.  Frustrated with the prevailing views of quantum physics (which I will not even begin to explain) he started exploring other types of particle theories.  Eventually he came up with the Many World’s Theory.  As best as I can grasp this theory looked at particles  at their own level- not at how they created larger phenomenon.  According to the NOVA program this view broke with tradition and was the beginning of Everett’s theories.  Looking at the world on such a small level he noticed energy behaving differently.  (Like I said I am way out of my element in explaining this).  Here’s how NOVA explains it:

Byrne: In order to demonstrate the consequence of this mathematically, Everett came up with a solution showing that the observer, the human being, correlates with every possible state that the gram of carbon, that pencil tip, could be in. So before the human being looks at the gram of carbon, the carbon is in all the millions or billions or trillions of possible states, and after the human looks at the gram of carbon, he or she is in one state. In Everett’s theory, what happens in between, as it were, when the human actually looks at the carbon—or a clock or any other object—is that he or she splits like an amoeba. (The act of looking, that interaction, is just exchanging energy. A person looking at a clock, for example, is an energetic interaction, with photons of light bouncing off the clock and going into the person’s eye.)

So, in Everett’s view, when the human correlates herself—that is, interacts, exchanging energy with the gram of carbon or a clock or whatever—she splits like an amoeba. She splits into copies of herself, one for each element in the superposition.

NOVA: And this split is what creates the “many worlds” of his theory?

Byrne: Yes. And wild as it sounds—a person splitting into numerous copies of herself—Hugh Everett’s theory has not been shown to be mathematically incorrect. God knows, people have tried. They have found some mathematical gaps, but you can’t fault his basic mathematical logic, which made a powerful case that every time there is an interaction anywhere in the universe above a certain size, one of the systems splits in order to accommodate all of the elements and the superpositions that are contained in the wave function that describes the observed system. In other words, the basis for having multiple universes emerges from his solution of the measurement problem.”

In other words, on a particle level atoms present possible outcomes and in a way those possibilities continue on whether the human participates or not.  Using the example above if the person looks at the pencil or not, the particle energy around the action still exists.  This is why Everett called it the Many World theory.  On a particle level there are infinite numbers of worlds created every moment which all react in different ways.

This is where the son comes in. Like I said, on the surface Mark has nothing in common with his father.  He is  a front runner for an independent rock band called the Eels.  According to the NOVA program much of Mark’s music is dark, focusing on mental illness, abuse, and death.  To give you an idea one of their most famous songs is called “Novocaine for the Soul”. Apparently much of the darkness in the music came from a lonely childhood with a father obsessed with work and science.  On the program Mark tells the story of a conversation over the dishes he had with his father just before he passed away.  Of this simple chat he says “We joked around a little and I remember thinking that it was the most human, real conversation I’d ever had with him. He even told me a joke.”

Later the next day his father dies, and he is devastated by the missed opportunities.  Eventually Mark tries to put his feelings to music and as he struggles he realizes something about his father.  He learns they had a key similarity:

“I realized that I had been feeling that same thing he must have been feeling all those years when he couldn’t be bothered because he always had some crazy ideas he was trying to sort out in his head. You’re just about to crack the code and the kid wants to play baseball. I get it now. We’re both “idea men” and anything outside of these ideas is a distraction.”

With this understanding Mark begins to learn more about the ideas of his father.  Finally it occurs to him that their lives are the ultimate example of the Many World’s theory.  Two worlds co-existing independently of each other and yet intrinsically dependent on one another.   It’s like the show’s title describes: Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives.  In the end, Mark understood his life better because of his father’s theories.  This to me is fascinating.  How often do we have answers staring at us in the face, yet we dismiss it as ordinary or familial? How often do we discount something because it is different, even offensive, and yet in that other world is the answer to our own happiness?

There are so many examples of parallel worlds, which if understood could enlighten both worlds.  Notice we aren’t talking about combining worlds.  They are inherently separate, but perhaps they could still teach us?  The NOVA program explores the worlds of father vs son, musician vs  scientist, and youth vs. age.  Religion would be another interesting subject for discussion.

Like I said, the science is a bit beyond me, so I hope I have done justice to the program.  If you get a chance, put it on your DVR or watch it on youtube.com . It kind of reminded me of a This American Life piece on television.- excellent and thought provoking. Check out the PBS website on the show for more information. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/.  On a final side note, this program would be great for teachers and homeschoolers who want to learn more about physics.  I know practically nothing and it explained complex concepts in ways even I understood.

Last Chance Harvey

If any of you haven’t seen Last Chance Harvey- see it. It’s great. Wonderful. Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson (who can do no wrong in my book) are both terrific in this gentle romance. They play Harvey and Kate- two mature adults who meet each other by chance in an airport in London.  Harvey is an American who is there to see his only daughter be married.  Kate works at the airport as a customer service representative.  When they meet Harvey has just missed his flight, been fired from his disappointing job and his daughter has chosen her stepfather to give her away at the wedding.  On the other side, Kate is single and has resigned herself to a mediocre life of work and caring for her mother.  Neither characters are happy or fulfilled. When they meet they are both at lows, which actually gives them a lot in common with each other.  As they get to know one another a sweet and simple romance develops.  It reminded me of the old school romances of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I don’t want you to think it is only a date movie or a chick flick; although it is excellent in both regards. It is also an interesting movie about work, family, happiness and taking risks.  I guess Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman decided to make the movie while filming one of my all time favorite films Stranger than Fiction- also a great movie about work, happiness, and taking risks.  Perhaps Fiction is slightly better than this but I loved both.

There is a line where Emma Thompson says:

“You see, what I think is I am more comfortable with being disappointed. I think I am angry with you for trying to take that away.”

Isn’t that a powerful idea? How many of us live a shallow life because it is safe, comfortable, or easy? I am a very risk-averse person and it is hard for me to jump into the unknown. While I have little experience with romance, I can imagine one of the hardest parts is trusting your heart to another human being who might break it. The thing that the character’s realize is that each of us give our lives to something whether it be work, art, family, friends, or love. We might as well give it up for something that has the greatest potential for happiness.
Another thing the characters realize is they have allowed their life choices and their definition of happiness to be defined by others. Emma Thompson has a particular moment of clarity I appreciated while on a blind date. Her friends basically trick her into this date with a person she has nothing in common with and doesn’t enjoy. In fact, it feels like her mother and friends have turned her love life into their hobby- like a giant guessing game. It’s funny because she doesn’t say anything but just looks around and realizes this is not the life she wants. I related to this moment. Not because my friends set me up but I have had moments of clarity where I realized my life was on the wrong track- that I wasn’t living the life I was meant to live.
I don’t believe in fate, but I don’t believe in coincidences either. I feel we all have a unique purpose in life that requires us to interact with particular people. I felt this sense of connection with others on my mission. There were people I know I was supposed to help, supposed to find. While not everything has this type of purpose, almost everything can be used by the Lord to further His plan.
In Last Chance Harvey the characters discover their own unhappiness but at the same time learn how much they need each other.
I don’t know if I have done the movie justice but I just loved it. It’s interesting because I also saw Ghost of Girlfriends Past- a supposed romantic comedy that was anything but romantic. What a contrast on every level! In Ghost the acting was bad, the characters were unbelievable , and the writers had the nerve to destroy one of the best books ever written- the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  There is no comparison between the two.

I hope you all go out and rent Last Chance Harvey and I hope you like it as much as me. Post your reviews in the comment section of the blog. Enjoy!

Affluenza

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So, I heard a term today that just made me laugh out loud.  It is called affluenza.  This is not a joke.  It is an actual psychological diagnosable condition and to me it says a lot about how out of wack our society has gotten.  How can something so obvious be a cause for debate and study? It’s another one of those scientific endeavors that can be summed up in old colloquial sayings such as “Money doesn’t buy happiness”.  Listen to the wikipedia definition of affluenza and tell me if you don’t think it is crazy:

affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. (de Graaf [1])
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. (PBS [1])

This isn’t just overspending.  No it is a contagious socially transmitted condition of overload and debt! So now if we are in debt it isn’t our fault, merely the cause of a contagious condition we inherited- like strepp or AIDS. Watch out my friends!  Watch out for your children!  Affluenza may spread!

I certainly hope that Congress doesn’t hear about this condition or they might start claiming bouts of affluenza caused them to vote for the spending bill!

I hate to sound preachy on this blog but to me it is things like this that show how far off track our country has gotten from the religious foundations it was started with.  Affluenza wouldn’t happen if you had a society based on brotherhood (and sisterhood), charity, freedom, independence and faith.  It’s no accident that Jesus said ” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24).

Now, I came from a family with a middle to high class lifestyle.  I certainly got everything I needed and most of the things I wanted. However, we never suffered from affluenza because my parents had us grounded in Christian values- focusing on service to others, the importance of family and the value of hard work. I could list lots of examples of how my parents demonstrated to me that money was not the purpose of life.  One example is how my father has always been an avid home teacher.  Home teaching is a program in our church of visiting fellow members and helping them in anyway possible.  Many good home teachers still do it out of obligations or duty- not my dad.  He loves it!  He loves getting to know and serving people and most of them become his life-long friends.  He’s even spoken at some of their funerals. For the record, my mother is also a diligent visiting teacher.

Another example is how both of my parents were always opening their home to friends.  For instance, we had a number of foreign exchange students and visitors while I grew up.  This enriched all of our lives and created great relationships all over the globe.  Another memory I have is of our friends always being welcome to eat with our family.  We had family meal every night.  Even when I was in high school and my parents had two little ones and I was busy with activities, I still remember eating together most nights.  Often one of my friends, or my brother’s friends would join us for dinner.  They were always welcomed as one of our family.  My parents weren’t perfect but in simple ways they taught me how to serve others and keep a heart free from greed.

As my sister and brother have gotten married they have also been good examples of reaching out to others and cultivating a non-materialistic home.  My brother is passionate about many causes and has allowed friends to stay at their home, sharing meals together.  My sister is great about giving of her time to other young mothers around her.  She was just telling me yesterday about a small act of service she had planned for two of her acquaintances.  She found out they were traveling with kids and decided to make them little kits to help the kids with the journey.  It is such little acts of service that keep each of us grounded in what matters.  Our country needs the same grounding.  We certainly don’t need an excuse for our excesses like an affluenza epidemic.

I served my mission in Indiana and while there I met one of the richest ladies I have ever known.  Her name is Sister Mary Turner.  She lived in a tough part of Indianapolis and had very little material possessions.  She actually lived off of social security and some welfare assistance from the church.  Because she loved the missionaries she had a strong desire to feed all of us every week (4 elders, 2 sisters) but she refused to use any assistance or welfare money to do this.  So to make a few extra dollars she started gathering soda pop cans and then turning them for cash. Eventually her neighborhood and our ward (congregation) joined in and everyone had a stash of cans to help Mary Turner feed the missionaries.  With the few dollars she got every week she would then go to Aldee’s (a discount store in the midwest) and buy whatever was on sale.  This usually led to some odd meal combinations including spaghetti and mashed potatoes or french fries and egg rolls.  After the meal she would usually have some type of food gift for us such as a gallon of milk or a half gallon of ice cream.

I will never forget this sacrifice made in my behalf.  She did not have to feed us.  There were others who would have gladly done so, but she wanted to give to a cause she loved.  The entire cycle of her money from creation, to spending, to giving was based on Christian values. It is a great example of charity and a wonderful way to live our lives- full of worry about how you can afford to help people, not how you can compete with the neighbors.  Mary Turner suffered from the opposite of affluenza- giveluenza! Something our country could use a lot more of and that our leaders could work to develop.

In my life I try to do at least one day of community service a month.  This has just started but already I have had some neat experiences including delivering cookies to the lonely and working at Festival of Trees for Primary Children Medical Center. Such endeavors have not only brought me happiness but hopefully helped others in my small way.  They also keep me grounded in what matters and in the community I love. I think we need to write a similar prescription for anyone suffering from affluenza- find someone to serve, look at a neigbor as a friend not an enemy, and help someone accomplish their dreams.   This is what makes life great not money!

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