Monday, October 31, 2011

Money Isn't Everything- Hope Is

I'm an optimist. Hope is always out there and I'm on a quest to find it.  This condition is what got my husband and I involved in a multi-level marketing scheme years ago.  We were presented with just that- hope.  Hope not only for a better life, but a MUCH better life. I wanted so badly to give my kids a great life,  I took it in, hook, line and sinker.  We stayed in for a few years, attending meetings and conventions, buying products and the idea that it was all going to make us rich.  After throwing our money at the dream for so long, we finally accepted the fact that it wasn't going to happen.  We quit in pretty much the same situation as when we'd joined.  Broke.

Strangely, this experience didn't diminish my optimism.  I still search for the silver lining, no matter how thin or hidden it may be.  Without hope, life is meaningless.

The Handy Man and I have been married for almost 20 years.  During the last sixteen, he's had the same job, though a job doesn't always mean security.  Being a one-income family has been hard to say the least, but when weighing the pros and cons, me being home with our kids always won out.

2010 was our hardest year.  My husband works for a small cabinet company.  At their peak, they had 8 employees.  Now they have 4.  When the economy takes a down turn, building is affected and his company began to slide along with so many others.  The first effect was having all of his overtime cut.  That decreased our pay by about 1/3.  Then, in the fall, everyone went to 4 day weeks.   Handy Man's paycheck was half what it had been.  December arrived and in an effort to keep all his employees, the owner gave them another day off.  Three day work weeks. The sacrifice worked and the company stayed in business.  This year, he's back to working 5 days a week, but the overtime is still gone.
He has a job. We are blessed and grateful. There are so many around us who don't.

As a stay-at-home mom, I often feel guilty for not helping with the financial end of things.  I've considered a job, but with my very limited skills, I would be working to pay for daycare.  For years, I've tried to somehow make my one skill- writing- become a source of income for our family.  Now, with my blog, that dream is close to fruition.  Knowing that, in a sense, I have my own business brings me what I am always searching for- Hope.  It gives me hope for our future and for the opportunity to help provide for our family. I've been surprised by the strength and empowerment I feel because I'm doing something, and something I love.

I'm not sure the answer to America's economic woes. I have family and friends who are looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Thing is, the rainbow is an unemployment line and there's no gold at the end of it.  I don't think protests will help.  I could go hang out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Salt Lake for weeks.  It wouldn't get my mortgage paid or buy coats for my ever-growing children.  The frustration isn't foreign, many of us feel it. But, there has to be more to do than sleep in a tent and make cardboard signs.  There must be a way to give people a chance.

Thankfully, there are those who are trying to help.   BlogHer has joined with Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network to get the word out about CreateJobsforUsa.org.  (Read about BlogHer's involvement here.)  Basically, Starbucks is donating 5 million dollars to the Opportunity Finance Network for capital grants for lenders to fund small businesses. Businesses that will empower and strengthen people.  They're giving money, but in the end,  they're gifting hope.
We can help.  You can go to their site and donate.  Just $5 and you'll not only get a cool, red, white, and blue wristband, that $5 will result in $35 in financing for local businesses. Money that will be used to save or create jobs.
I'm an optimist.  I like hope.  It's contagious. Pass it on.

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