Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Explain Men to Me, Please and The Fog is Lifting

It's Steve's birthday today. As usual, I managed to completely underwhelm him, and since he doesn't want me spending any money, there were no gifts for him at all. It sucks. I feel really bad. He is so good about gifts usually, but he almost never likes what I get for him. I looked for stuff, but took Alex with me, who shot down every idea I had.

Apparently the only appropriate gift for men (or at least for Steve, Craig or Alex) is expensive electronics. we're talking a $400 game system, several hundred dollars for a new TV, expensive video games, stereos, whatever. What's the deal? A $25 gift card for Borders works for me. Can someone explain this to me?

What would you like for your birthday?
World Peace.
How about something that is possible?
Okay. A Harley.
The new XBox 360 with games.
Right. Anything that could be purchased without filing for bankruptcy?
World Peace.
Oh good. A card it is then. I love you.


Okay, maybe I was a bit quick to announce my meltdown. Well, maybe I couldn't get better until I faced it, thought about what was happening and really identified what I needed to do, admitted to people the struggle. Basically brought my depression into the light of day and quit trying to hide it.
Confession is good for the soul.
Anyway, I thought a lot about it, prayed about it, determined a course of action, embarrassed myself by putting it out there for anyone to read, and today the depression is lifting. Not that things are great. The credit account we use to help float the business, giving us another 30-45 days has been cut to a third of what it has been, really forcing us to alter the way we do business. Money is a struggle, but I have to remember, again and again and again, that whatever I have is enough by definition. And while I think that things should be different because that is what I see around me, what I must do is to discipline my mind to gratitude and appreciation. I am not supposed to look around me and compare myself to what I see, but look at scripture and compare my life to truth. If I do that, I am taking myself outside of some cultural norm and placing myself inside universal truth. I'm not sure that states clearly what I mean so let me say it another way. I live in America with American expectations regarding money, possessions and more. What I need is to understand finances and possessions in a more universal way, to escape my cultural understanding and find what Scripture says without that filter blinding me to truth.
What I did wrong is I signed up for a conference through my church, on the assumption that I would have made the money by now.
I haven't broken even yet. Real Estate is a great business, but it is very expensive to start out. $800 for this, $400 for that, monthly expenses, annual expenses, marketing, technology fees, internet fees...and that's before you list a property. It costs a minimum of $500 to market a single property. Now I have obligated myself to $200 that I simply don't have. So if you know someone who wants to buy a sewing machine or three, I have several for sale. I have a treadle machine without the base, with the lovely filigree. Another black Singer with the beautiful filigree painting, electric. A Pfaff machine. It's really lovely, but lost a few small pieces in the move. It's a great machine. I actually have 4 or 5 machines. I keep winding up with machines over the years. I really love sewing machines, but for someone who doesn't really sew, owning this many machines is crazy.
I'm going to have to pass on all such invitations/opportunities unless the money is in hand. I just can't do this. I can't handle having this hanging over my head, but I have been unable to find someone to take my spot.
The really great news is that my brother called me out of the blue without a hint of anger or resentment. I'm so happy. I hung up the phone with tears of happiness. For whateer reason, I needed to get past this depression without knowing whether things were okay between us or not. But I'm so happy he called. On my list of favorite people, he is right up near the top, and to have him mad at me is awful.

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