It’s that time of year again to . . . spend, spend, spend! Depending on the holiday, shoppers spend billions of dollars on holiday gifts, decorations, food, etc. Stores are offering to open earlier and close later so that you can get a “great deal” on their merchandise. Hundreds even thousands of people stand in lines at stores for days for items that are few in quantity. Only to hear on the news that shoppers were trampled, fighting, or killed over a $20 Elmo doll.
If you must go shopping . . . be smart! Don’t let the price tag define you! Money can’t buy self-esteem, self-worth, and love. Money can only remedy problems, never solve! If you can’t afford to go shopping . . . so what! Most families globally are struggling financially and can’t afford basic necessities. The value is in the time spent bonding, cooking, creating, laughing, and sharing stories.
To ensure you can afford to pay a few bills once the holiday season is gone, below are a few tips:
- Stay warm– most parts of the country and the globe are experiencing Arctic – like temperatures. If your wife can’t get a new diamond ring because you bought a new generator on sale . . . oh well, at least she will be warm with lights while the power is out.
- Stay brave– most stores will ask if you would like to open a credit card and save 10% on your purchase. Just by saying no, you save 18% or more on the interest rate and future payments.
- Stay committed– most parents give in to their children’s gift wishes regardless of the child’s behavior. Give a gift comparable to what the child deserves. A 17-year old who is failing in school and disrespectful at home requires discipline not a new convertible sports car.
WHAT are you doing with your money?
Many people believe that if they had millions of dollars they would be happy, but most of us cannot budget the money we are earning now. Create a workable budget and stick to it. Devise a savings plan for a desired possession. Set aside funds for emergencies and unexpected circumstances. Plan for retirement and the future. Tithe.
Don’t let your money manage you . . . manage your money! Take a class, hire a financial consultant, talk to an accountant, or research about money management. Get control of your finances and watch your resources multiply.
The hardest conversation to have is with yourself! WHY? Because it is easier to talk yourself into something . . . that is not good for you. AND just as easy to talk yourself out of something . . . that is good!
What do I mean by that? Well, look at self in the two senses or meanings. One is self . . . in the flesh, the identity of the individual created by God. The other self is the ego, the animalistic heritage each one of us has, the nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we struggle against everyday, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain peace.
In one of the writings of Abdu’l-Bahá it states, the wrong in the world continues to exist because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort. A man who does great good, and talks not of it . . . is on the right path. The man who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech . . . is not.
Some people make announcements about the good they do, multiplying fine words together because they wish to be thought greater and better than others. Just to seek acceptance in the eyes of this world. Those who do the most good use the fewest words concerning their actions. These are the ones who do God’s works and obey God’s laws.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs . . . Ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive . ~ Harold Thurman Whitman, Philosopher & Theologian
Words spoken and words heard are ways of communication. However, the spoken word has the greatest impact on the overall conversation. It is those words that transforms hearts, minds, and souls. If we fail to use the right words, we run the danger of entering into arguments with others.
It is not uncommon for people to hold certain beliefs and, at the same time, say things that basically contradict those beliefs. It is not easy to be consistent. We all have habits of the mind, formed throughout our lives, that cause us to say things without thinking about them. As you acquire knowledge, it will be worthwhile from time to time to examine the validity of your words.
People are not some abstract entity called humanity. Nor are people empty containers just waiting to be filled up with information. Everyone has their own hopes and aspirations, their own fears and difficulties. It is to the soul to which one must speak in order to ignite a spark … a spark that will assist one in reaching true understanding!
You start off on the right course . . . and then, the “seed of doubt” is planted in your mind. After that . . . the “seed of negativity” is whispered in your ears. And then . . . the “seed of fear” is created to hinder your forward movements. Now you are “off-balance.” Off balance simply means unsteady. You don’t know what to expect and you are not prepared. When your equilibrium is off, it is easy to get off-balance and fall.
But when there is a balance of mental steadiness and emotional stability, along with a habit of calm behaviors . . . you can remain on course. How? By hesitating before making decisions or speaking, by considering all aspects of the equation, and by striving to advance or progress in a forward moving direction. Remaining on course is a continuous progression from one point in time to another.
Staying on course is something you must follow, pursue, and sometimes chase. It is also essential to remember that to stay on course, you must remain humble. It is the route or direction where you maximize your powers and talents. It is a mode or action that is most beneficial to you and others. You must be willing to stay on course . . . no matter how far off course it may seem!
When the young child asks the question about where babies come from, and the first response, other than the stork story is, “when two people love each other . . . blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” The child eventually grows up to learn the real story, “when two people have sex . . . blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” Now as an adult, he or she knows where babies come from . . . but what about love?
Love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection (“I love that person”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion or attraction (“I love my job or career”). It can also be a virtue representing human kindness and compassion (“I love children, animals, the poor”). (Wikipedia)
Love is a power that you can choose to share or not. Love is so powerful that you can choose who or what to love, whether it is good for you or not. Have you ever seen a man who did not love his own actions? Even though they be bad actions, he loves them. This man is a man with the spiritual side of his nature still undeveloped. If he is selfish, the evil is not in his love of self—all love, even self-love, is good. The evil is that he has such a poor, inadequate, misguided love of self and such a lack of love for others and for God. He looks upon himself as only a superior sort of animal, and foolishly pampers his physical wants and needs.
Know thou that in every age and dispensation all divine ordinances are changed and transformed according to the requirement of the time, except the law of love, which, like a fountain, always flows and is never overtaken by change. ~Bahá’u’lláh