Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making the Dollar S T R E T C H

This year, in an attempt at frugal living and paying off debts, I planted a 4 x 4 square foot garden and have enjoyed fresh produce from it for months. As part of my plan, I will not charge anything to credit cards and only carry a small amount of cash with me.

One day at work, I was asked to pick up sandwiches for three members of the upper management team so they could have a working meeting through the lunch hour. I thought that while I was going to pick them up anyway, I'd like to buy one of the delicious chicken hoagies for myself. I looked in my wallet and saw only three measly dollars. I was really disappointed, but I went downstairs to ask the CFO if she would prefer to have a chicken salad instead. "No," she said. "I'd like the sandwich but they are so big that I can only eat half."

"Well, I'd be happy to eat the other half for you." I said. She enthusiastically invited me to do so and I got what I was really wishing for.

A little while later a friend called me to ask if I was planning to go over to the Restaurant Depot where I have a membership. I hadn't planned to go that day but agreed to meet her there during my lunch hour as she wanted to get some watermelons at a good price ($3.75 each). I met her, helped her pick out the melons, all the while wistfully thinking that it sure would be great to have one for myself.

When she finished, my friend handed me a dollar bill. "What's that for?" I asked. "For your trouble," she replied. "Oh, a tip. Thank you!" I said. Now I could get a melon for myself with the three dollars I had in my wallet and I'd even have 25 cents left over. God is good! He knows our hearts!

Humble Pie

A friend and her sister asked me to help print some postcards for their pet sitting business. While I don't do this kind of work for a living, they were friends and I wanted to help them out. The sister sent me what she had created and asked me to make four cards fit on a sheet. I took a look and thought, "This is too wordy and the font is very old fashioned and amateurish-looking. I'll just fix it up."

Nearly two hours (!) later, after I had added graphics, edited, and re-positioned, I had what I thought was an eye-catching, professional card. I thought my friends would really like it. Oh, was I in for a surprise--it wasn't at all what they wanted. The font they had used wasn't in my computer, so my computer's substitution really did look bad. When I got that straightened out and made some more adjustments they requested, I finally gave them WHAT THEY WANTED, not what I (in my vast wisdom and experience--hehe!) THOUGHT THEY NEEDED.

This was a humbling experience for me and I learned a good lesson from it. One of the things Dr. Schofield taught (see was that if we want to influence someone, we must "begin where they are" and it's "not about us, it's about them." Also as he would remind me, "all experience is good experience."

I have eaten my humble pie.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Times "Has Changed"

Every evening around dinner time my phone rings. Telemarketers are desparate for sales. Robert Kyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, says we must expect the best but prepare for the worst. Current state of affairs are emblazoned across today's Wall Street Journal headlines:

US Banking Industry Continues to Deteriorate
Industry's Health Slides as Bad Loans Pile Up
Recession Finally Hits Down on the Farm

No doubt about it, the economic outlook is pretty grim. Who would have expected things to be so bleak five years ago?

Today, more than ever before, is the time for good news and positive thoughts. The real work we have to do must be in our heads as we go about our daily routines. It's as if we have a devil on one shoulder shouting into our ear and an angel on the other shoulder whispering good thoughts. Which will you choose? No matter how difficult it might be, I intend to continue holding to faith, good works, and productive activity. I hope you will do the same.

As the good doctor used to say, "Learn to enjoy the moment!"

XXOO from Muriel