The Power of Change

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I have met people who do not like change.  They simply don’t like things around them to be different, whether change is for the better or not.  There is risk in change – the unknown.  For some people, this is scary; simply put, they prefer the known to the unknown.  The known comforts them.

I welcome change, whether good or bad, if there is such a thing as bad change.  I believe that when we see our circumstances to be changing for the worst, it is just a matter of perception.  Change always bring something new and different.  With this, it brings the opportunity for new challenges, growth, and new lessons.  It brings the chance – requested or unrequested – of creating something new of the experience or change.  In a way, change is creation.  Change is always forward, even when it is perceived as a step backwards.

Some people may disagree with me on this.  For example, if you were to lose everything you own, you would perceive this as a negative change in your life.  However, this could be the best opportunity for you to start anew, to create a second life, an exciting opportunity.  Yes, no one thinks of being in that situation, and I don’t know of anyone that would consciously welcome it; however, many people in today’s economy have gone thru similar change.  The perception of this change is what will make them powerless or powerful individuals.  This is the power of change.

Shakespeare a Day 3

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“Men at some time are masters of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”  ( Julius Caesar)

Many times, we tend to take the easy road and blame others instead of taking responsibility for our actions.  Nobody likes to feel guilty, ashamed, a failure …  it is normal to want to feel good, even when feeling good will deny reality and will become an excuse to blame others.

We are masters of our fates … I truly believe that; however, I also believe in a higher purpose – the one designed for our spiritual and soul’s growth.  I believe that we are not underlings, subordinates, inferior, unless we allow ourselves to feel that way.

Obama’s State of the Union speech last night resonates to that truth.  As a nation we have to realize that each one of us has a life to live responsibly, and to show for, and many roles to play in it – father, mother, writer, daughter, son …  Each one of us has a responsibility to this nation, to the world, to the planet, to our jobs, our family, friends, and loved ones.  Blaming others and playing underlings roles is not the way the United States of America came to be.

Equalizing Your Relationship

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Equalizing To make equal (as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary). 

I was pondering the success or failure of many relationships, even the ones that seem like a match made in heaven, but fail.  I wondered why.  There are many reasons for that, I assume – financial, infidelity … the list is long.  However, there must be a constant that can encompass all those reasons.  The word equalizing seems to cover that ground.

I have never been a fan of the 50/50 rule for couples.  I don’t think it is real, and I don’t think it works.  In a relationship, there is never a 50/50 give or take.  Simply put, we are not machines, we do not function as exact mathematical equations, it is just not natural.  This is why I think that the word equalizing makes more sense.

In trying to make something equal, one most try to balance, stabilize, counterbalance, and steady what is not.  Therefore, it is a matter of both individuals working together to try to balance or equalize an issue.

In the 50/50 deal, a couple will try to give half effort, in hopes that the other will put in the other half – this never works out that exact way, someone always puts in a bit more or less – 40/60%, 30/70%, 80/20% …  This is turn, can result in resentment on one of the parts, disagreements, turmoil …

Equalizing relationships without looking for a 50/50 solution will help both parties contribute the part that is missing, and hopefully, the percentages of contribution will fluctuate between both individuals and balance (equalize) the relationship.   But that is just my humble opinion.

The Simple Life

Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Although this book has been around for a while now (1995) it wasn’t until recently that I got to read it.  Immediately I loved it.  I have to admit that it has sat in my library for a year, maybe two; I just did not have enough time to get to it – but it kept calling me.  Finally, I listened and read it.  I did not read it as intended, one chapter a day, instead I read it until my eyes became blurry, and then came back for more day after day. 

I recommend this book to anyone that is in the path of a simple life and needs inspiration.  Its principles are even more true more than a decade later.  If you are in search of simplicity and abundance, you will enjoy this jewel.

Autopsy of an Email Scam

Email scams keep getting more creative, elaborate, and humorous.  I get many on my email inbox, and have learned to recognize them blindfolded (ok, maybe not blindfolded).  The ideas that these scammers come up with keeps my writing list full.  Let’s take a look at one that I received today, and I am sure many of you have seen.  Take a look at what it looks like: 

CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL&GAS COMPANIES END OF YEAR PROMOTION.
  

Congratulations 

You have been chosen to receive ($852,000.00 USD)in the on-going CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL&GAS COMPANIES END OF YEAR PROMOTION.
Please Send your Names,Telephone Number & Contact Address to Mr Kenneth Davids at(awardpayment@sify.com)to file for your claims.
Note:All email response should be sent to the claims processing officer (MR Kenneth Davids) to his official email address at awardpayment@sify.com
OR Dial +2348034481687 for more information on this program.
Yours Sincerely,
Mrs.Lay, Sandy.
Online Co-ordinator…
CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL COMPANY.  
 
 Sandy Lay
Accounts Receivable
Vi-Jon, Inc.
8515 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63114
 

Office (314) 592-1429  

 This e-mail (including attachments) is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521, is confidential and may be legally privileged, and is not to be used by anyone but the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any retention, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply e-mail or call Vi-Jon, Inc. at 314-427-1000 and delete the message. 

Unfortunately, many people will fall victims of this scam before the end of the year.  To recognize these scams, look at the signs throughout the email. 

1.  The most obvious is:  Why would the Chevron/Texaco company would want to give me that amount of money, called in the email “a promotion”?  

 2.  Take a look at the amount of grammatical and punctuation errors in the email.  Even if you are not good at grammar and punctuation, look at the obvious spacing mistakes that jump out at you.  Also, take a look at the split words that are not supposed to be written like that (on-going, co-ordinator). 

3.  Did you notice how in the first paragraph it reads:  please send in your names? – names is in plural, which gives you an idea of the mentality of the scammer.  He/she has in mind all the names that will be captured via the email, all the potential victims. 

4.  Look how the email makes a point of creating an “official environment” by using words/phrases like:  to the claims processing officer (MR Kenneth Davids) to his official email address – this is an effort on their part to build trust in the reader’s eyes. 

5.  All this is followed by improper spacing, commas, and many other errors, leading to the end of the email where the person who is emailing identifies herself as Ms. Lay, Sandy (who gives you her many titles) – in an attempt to make it official, and hopefully by now, you are hooked and pick up the phone. 

6.  And as in a last attempt to convince you, what follows is an email disclaimer with “official wording” citing the law. 

So here you have it, the more you look at it in detail, the more signs screaming scam you will find.  If anything, it has provided me with a good laugh and writing material.  Hopefully, this autopsy will help you in learning to dissect your own email scams.  Have a good laugh.  

 

100 Ways to Save

More and more people seem to be sharing the same boat these days.  In a though economy, every bit of good or creative advice to save your hard earned dollar, helps.  Here’s a hundred money saving tips, just to start you off.

Surf the internet for free product samples.  It’s like shopping for free!

  1. Utilize coupons.  Double them when possible.
  2. Take advantage of “buy one get one free sales.”  But, make sure that the price has not been inflated.
  3. Re-invent leftovers.  Study some recipes, learn new food tricks.
  4. Squeeze toothpaste to the end.
  5. Save soap shavings in a jar, and make a new bar of soap.
  6. Utilize natural food products (eggs, oil…) as beauty aids.  Research ways to use these products which you already have in the kitchen.
  7. Learn the many uses of baking soda (cleaning, beauty, cooking…)
  8. When products are almost at the end, dilute with water, and you will get more uses.
  9. Use a multi-purpose cleaner.  Commercial strength multi-purpose cleaners are strong, and because they need to be diluted, you get more for your money.
  10. Learn how to make your own shampoo/detergent.
  11. Makeup – Have a fall-winter/spring-summer makeup palette, so you can easy replace the used up item.
  12. Clothes – Buy basics and classics that you can mix and match.
  13. If you have the skill, mend or convert pieces of clothing.  Alter for different outfits.
  14. Trade in with friends and family.
  15. Ditch your home phone line.  Utilize a family program for your cell phones.
  16. Do you really watch all those cable channels?
  17. Have you heard of the meal portions of the 1940-50’s?  That’s how you should eat!
  18.  Buy foods and ingredients that have a long shelf life, like cornmeal, all purpose flour, rice, pasta.  These can be turned into different meals.
  19. Learn to make things from scratch (cookies, cakes, bread).
  20. Visit your local farm market to save money on veggies and fruits.
  21. Turn off the lights.  If you are not in the room, the light should be off.  By now, all your fixtures should have energy saving bulbs.
  22.  Unplug appliances when not in use.  For an easy way, buy a power strip.
  23. Visit your dollar store.  It is a source for many good items such as party favors, school supplies, cards, cleaning supplies and many more.
  24. Visit consignment shops, garage sales, flea markets.  You never know where you can find what you are looking for.
  25. Make a trade in party with family and friends.  Anything goes, bring any items and exchange for others.  Invite your neighbors.
  26. Sell your unwanted items for extra cash.
  27. Collect rain water.
  28. Do full loads of laundry.
  29. Dilute fabric softener.
  30. Paper towels can double as napkins.
  31. Make your lunch to take to work.
  32. Make coffee in the morning.  Take some with you.  Use a travel mug.
  33. Reuse plastic bags for pet waste or to line small trash cans.
  34. Forget gym memberships.  Do it the natural way – walk, hike, bike, become active in sports.  A can of beans can double a weights.
  35. Think of a second life for items.  For example a cup that has a small chip can become a key holder, change holder; a small saucer can be a soap or sponge holder; a tall glass can be used as a makeup-brush or toothbrush holder.
  36. Shop on EBay.  Sell on EBay.  You can get brand new books for 99 cents and free shipping!
  37. If you have a very expensive pair of shoes, take them to the shoe maker before ditching them.
  38. Donate clothes or other items, a car, and take the tax deduction.
  39. If you live in the country, decorating for the holidays (a la natural) should be easy and fun!  If not, take a trip, enjoy it, and collect pine cones, leaves, branches, and anything that you can use to decorate your home.  If you are in a coastal area, the beach is full of treasures!
  40. Take advantage of a friend’s garden.  Ask for seeds (before going to the nursery).
  41. Learn to use natural products (coffee grinders …) as fertilizers and bug repellents.
  42. Ask your bank, mechanic … for freebies such as pens, note pads, calendars.  They are usually available for customers; people don’t ask.
  43. Learn to make gifts, its fun!
  44. For big families, have a secret pal during the holidays.
  45. Don’t leave the faucet running.
  46. Don’t leave the refrigerator door open.
  47. Trade music, movies and books with friends and family.
  48. If you don’t have carpet flooring, go back to basics:  a broom, a mop and a bucket.  It will save you some bucks!
  49. Start an all year garden.  Cut your own flowers, don’t buy them.  For winter, pines and holly arrangements will look gorgeous!
  50. Use your library.
  51. Scout your township for free events (concerts, movie night, festivals).
  52. DIY – when advisable.
  53. Make use of your free weekends (cell phone) and use the email or social networking sites to say hello.
  54. When you donate to some organizations, (whatever amount) they will send you mugs, calendars, stationary, address labels, and even t-shirts.  You get tons of freebies and your donation is tax deductible.
  55. Schedule your errands – to save gas and wear and tear in your vehicle.
  56. Plan your menus.
  57. Old towels/clothes/sheets can become cleaning rags.
  58. Adopt an animal, don’t buy one.
  59. Dried summer flowers can make beautiful fall arrangements.
  60. If you don’t have the budget to replace a rusty fence, paint it, or plant vines to cover it: morning glory or honey -suckle will do.  It will look beautiful and fragrant.
  61. Repaint garden items; they will look like new again.
  62. Sell your metals (old appliances, pots, iron, and aluminum).
  63. Sell good parts of appliances that you no longer need (timer, motor …).  There’s a market for it.
  64.  Maintain your vehicle (wash, tune-ups …).  It will last you longer, perform better and save you money.
  65. Some clothes, sheets, can be converted into pillows.
  66. Bundle services, but beware.  Do the math first, to see if you are saving money by bundling.
  67. Take advantage of free credit card rewards.  But use your credit wisely.
  68. Save on postage.  Pay electronically.
  69. Leasing is a waste of money.
  70. Trade services:  “I’ll do your taxes for a tune-up.”
  71. Reuse computer paper as scrap paper/notes.
  72. Start healthy habits; you’ll save on medical bills.
  73. Sell your old gold jewelry (I made over $1,000.00).
  74. Can you cut your husband’s hair?
  75. Old pillows + old bed sheets = good pet beds.
  76. Bundle up in the winter, and lower your thermostat.
  77. Dress appropriately in the summer, and use ceiling fans.
  78. Take advantage of rebates.  Send them out.
  79. Easy on the pedal, save gas.
  80. Have a change piggy bank.  And please, bend over and pick up that cent or nickel on the floor.  It adds up!
  81. Old nail polish can be used on craft projects.
  82. Shake your printer’s ink.  You can get more from it.
  83. Use old Christmas cards as bookmarks.  Cut the part that is not written on and use it as post cards or note cards.  Perfect for those Christmas recipes.
  84. Be creative with pet toys.  Balls made of old socks, an old computer mouse …but, always make sure – safety first!
  85. Evaluate your purchases.  Buy what you need.
  86. Cook your own meals.
  87. Compare brand ingredients with store brands.  Why pay more if it contains the same ingredients?
  88. Grow your own veggies.
  89. Do your own pet grooming.
  90. Cancel subscriptions of magazines that you don’t read.  Keep one subscription and tell your friends to do the same, and then trade in between yourselves.
  91. Networking pays.
  92. Visit Craig’s list for great bargains and free stuff.
  93. Air dry clothes, when possible.
  94. Do some freelancing.
  95. Ask your doctor for generic drugs.
  96. Ask your vet for multiple pet’s discount.
  97. Take advantage of discounts for having multiple policies with an insurance company (auto + home).
  98. Organize your home.  If you know where things are, and what you have, then, you won’t buy things twice.
  99. 100.   Do you really need that boat?

There are many other ways of saving money.  These are only 100 tips to get you started.  Apply what you learn, otherwise is money down the drain – your drain.