Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Investing In Something Worth Fighting For

It seems to me that far too many people have gotten so carried away in the thinking of this “throw away society”.  Nothing is sacred, and everything is disposable anymore it seems.  “Don’t take care of what you have, you deserve better!”, seems to be the overwhelming message today.

“Don’t take care of your things, just throw them out when you are tired of them, and buy newer and better ones!”

“Don’t bother nurturing the relationships in your life, toss anyone that irritates you aside, and spend time with someone else!”

“Don’t take care of the precious body that God gave you, you can always nip it, and tuck it, and medicate it later!”  Have you noticed how many celebrities there are that end up looking worse after trying to use plastic surgery or Botox to look younger?

It’s amazing to me how the world hurts today, in part, because they have stopped caring about what they have and want more.  I am so blessed in that I have a man with a mind and a talent for maintenance and repair.  I can not tell you how much money has been saved by just maintaining or repurposing what we already have (or others’ cast offs on Craigslist).   For instance we just recently saved hundreds of dollars in repair costs by having my hubby fix the sway bar and replace the front brakes on the 12 year old minivan.  Our cost for parts was like between $30-$40 (the brakes are under a lifetime warranty).  And we are repurposing someone’s castoff as our new home school storage center/desk.  A tweak, and a little paint, and it will be very functional for us!  The last owners gave it away free on Craigslist.  It’s looks like they just built it, and it’s built well!

Within the last year my hubby started delivering produce as an independent contractor, for a company that strives to buy local, and delivers to the person’s door.  Awesome company, awesome fresh produce, and we are eating healthier.  Hubby earns money to deliver to other customers, and then brings our box home, and I don’t have to shop for produce from the grocery store that goes bad in a couple days.  We also try to do much of our grocery shopping at Trader Joe's.  Many items are cheaper than the local grocery chain, some things are a little more, but we always save money there over the grocery chain in the end.  I mean, why buy plain old orange juice for over $3 when I can buy Orange Peach Mango Juice or Cherry Cider for the same price or cheaper?!  Yumm!  And there is very little there in the way of corn syrup.  The food does not have (that I have found) artificial preservatives, and artificial dyes.  We save money, we are healthier and feeling better, and we are eating food that tastes like restaurant quality or better!  I love it!

Relationships are the greatest investment that people throw away.  You are not always going to be happy with any one person, but all people have value and worth.  I managed a photo area at an independent drugstore for a time, after I was married.  While my hubby was still fixing photo machines at the time, he was not working for the manufacturer that was providing service for that store.  A tech I’ll call Chris came in instead.  Chris was obviously not happy, and actually pretty grouchy, when he came in to work on the machine.  He seemed like a good guy though, and I tried to show him extra kindness when he came in.  I was professional, and I tried extra hard to pay close attention to everything that he told me to do to maintain the machine.  And when I could I brought him some zucchini bread.  After a while he came around, and by the time my hubby started working for that company, Chris and I were friends.  My hubby also became fast friends with him, and we joke that they were separated at birth, because they are that much alike.  The key was that I was professional.  I wasn’t crossing a line and flirting, I was being nice and considerate.  That’s important. 

We found out later that the woman that was in my position before me was doing her job begrudgingly, and wasn’t taking care of all of her responsibilities.  In other words, on top of a already overloaded schedule, Chris knew that he would always have extra work to do at the store I worked at.  When I came in, my actions showed him that I cared about lessening this burden.  AND I gave him zucchini bread.  It’s doesn’t always take a lot to make someone’s life a little happier.  We just have to show that we care.

The biggest way to show people that you care is to visit with those that have little or no visitors.  People in nursing homes and homeless shelters/food pantries have many needs that volunteers are important in fulfilling, but the greatest need that people forget is companionship.  It is one thing to serve food to the homeless.  That is an important calling as well!  But people in need and the elderly need to know that we see and value them as people, and not just a “charity case”.  You would be amazed how many people you can make happy with something as simple as a smile,a handshake, and a “How are you?”

Blessings ;)

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