It is Never Just About Money…

butterfly shit

The holidays are a time when “the shit hits the fan” among friends and families, but this is exactly the season to let it go!  There are arguments that seem to be about money during this time of the year, but they are really much more than that.  It can be sibling rivalry from Christmases past, the “Mom loves you more” chant, the fear that what you bring to the holidays is not enough, that you are not enough.  It can be so many things, but the holidays are a time to let it go!

But before you can let it go, you have to take a little bit of time to define what “” is.  Really.  Let me tell a quick story.  I have been divorced for 34 years; I was only married for 14 years.  That tells you quite a bit.  These last few years, the father of my children and I have been thrown back together because of two grandchildren.  This is not a person I would ever spend time with; this is a person whom I have blocked on all social media; this is a person who cannot have a simple “Hello, how are you” conversation with me.  The reasons do not matter any more.  

Well, he is a professional Santa, and he is good at it.  Obviously, his presence in photos with my grandchildren are all over social media through other family members.  It is mind numbing because I love the photos of the two little people, but they are Santa photos!  Santa will always be in them!  It hit me in the last day that “who can compete with Santa at Christmas?”  To be honest, I have never felt that I was ever in competition with him until all of the “Santa photos”.  It took a few minutes for me to figure out what really bothered me about this:  and it does have to do with money.  When we were divorced, I had custody and provided all of the celebrations for my two children.  He was always “Santa” appearing a few times a year with presents while I tried to figure out how to feed and clothe and shelter them.  He cannot ever be in competition with me, but it all had to do with money then and I have let that go.  He still appears with the “toys” while I appear with funds for college, and this year’s present is a year long membership to the local Children’s Museum for their whole family.  He may be “Santa” but I am Gram Gram Jan who will be with them all of the time doing loving things forever.  

Money could still be the shit that gets in the way, but it isn’t.  Their Santa Papa is still more than ever the little boy at heart and will never grow up…  I am letting that go totally!

Labor Day, 2017, and I Lovingly Labor!

Jan 2017 Headshot 2

Yes, this is Labor Day.  It used to be as a single parent, that this was the Last Hurrah Day of Summer with two little boys off to the YMCA Perry Recreation Center in Lake County, Ohio, where we had a total membership being one of the most economical ways to entertain the boys throughout the year.  We also had over time season memberships for Sea World and other fun, healthy places.  As a parent, and I know all parents would agree, Labor Day was a day to nurture and care for your children.  There were Labor Days when it rained all day, but we still tried to make it to the pool one last time!

Do I miss those days?  Not really.  I have two grown sons, one of whom lives near the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and one who is in Chicago with his family for the weekend.  Now, my Labor Day, at least this year, is one in which I am feeling damn lucky and damn good.  I moved to the city I wanted to live in — Oberlin, Ohio–a place of freedom and diversity to be who you are, no matter what that might be.  It is a town that is small enough to know lots of people and large enough, especially with Oberlin College, that you can be solitary and anonymous when you want that.  Today culminates in one way six months of realigning me and my company Empower Excellence into The Empower Excellence Experience.  I have hinted at many pieces of that over the months, and I am trying to be very focused with the blog and its relationship to that reality of what it all represents:  Personal Sustainability.  There will be more and more coming through in the days ahead.

But, above all, all of this is to be of service to people who really want to find their life, their joy, and their freedom in their lives.  They want to be authentic, they want to be genuine, they want to be happy, they want to be joyful, they want to be healthy in all parts of their life:  spiritual, nutritional in all ways, chemical free in their homes, in their personal lives, and in their choices in living.  This all started with the desire to help everyone who wants help in this area to be financially well with their money.  This is the foundation that allows all to be Personally Sustainable.  You have to be at peace with the money in your life–no matter the amount as this is a personal choice, not everyone wants to be rich–in order to be at peace with any other area.  This is important because all pieces of our lives are connected.  More than that, we are connected to each other. So, it is important, you see, to begin with the smallest component, and that is each one of us.  That is YOU!

Over time, I thought financial wellness was my mission, but I soon learned that there is more for me in this life purpose and mission.  Getting the money in line is important, BUT…

  • People, once ok with their money relationship may still be lost in other areas of their lives.  I cannot be all things to all people, but I can help in some basic matters.
  • Over the years, I knew I had a passion for healthy eating beginning with my children and then helping local food entrepreneurs and then it went on and on for me to become as knowledgeable as I could about eating, cooking, and growing healthy food.
  • But it went on, as I learned about chemical free living…personal care products, home care products, and cosmetics, fragrances, and other personal grooming choices that may not be healthy for any of us.
  • How can people wisely spend their money while enjoying their lives in all of these areas.
  • How can local investment dollars be placed into the growth of local entrepreneurs and local companies wisely.
  • While there is more, I am more focused than I have been, and Financial wellness
  • expertiserefer people to experts when I cannot solve their individual situation.
  • But, more than anything, money is what allows us to make the best choices in all of the above areas, and that is where I start. 

While I have been doing this blog for several years, I do not think I have ever thought of placing my photograph on it to identify me, the talking head behind all of this craziness and some wisdom that all of you have seen over that time.  And today, being Labor Day, I wanted to say “Hello” in person in the form of a photo.  Thank you for reading my pieces, and please do feel free to comment, for the ego went away a long time ago–maybe when I was still that younger single parent.  I would love to see each of you, and I do try to keep up with following those who follow me.  

And a few words, I do not pretend to know everything I write about, but I am definitely an expert through education and life experience in Personal Sustainability.  I love my life, my family, my spirituality, my health, and my environment all the way from my belief in good government to the beauty of being able to work in my office looking out on a treed backyard, hearing the wind rustle through the trees, and seeing the light of the sun and the moon play in the shadows  of my life.

Are you Afraid of Opening Doors to the Unknown….


when we are talking about money and food…

Opening a refrigerator door can be scary.

And you can blame it all on money!

Especially for single parents who routinely do their grocery shopping when the child support check comes; and then, for a very brief time, opening the refrigerator doors is delightful.  Why?  Because it is full of food from the proceeds of the child support check.  But it is also scary because everyone knows the dollars are gone and so is the food before the next check comes.  We talk about food desserts in cities and neighborhoods, but what about the food dessert of another kind in your kitchen?

Lately we are really digging in the dirt about food and its relationship to money.  The phenomenon of the empty refrigerator is really more feminine in nature than masculine.  Men may just go on and do whatever they need to do about an empty refrigerator and feeding hungry mouths:  it is what it is.  Women, on the other hand, worry about feeding those hungry mouths.  I am sure that there are single fathers who also agonize over this, but I can only speak from a woman’s perspective.  

And here is something really interesting.  When I was looking for an appropriate photo of an empty refrigerator, it was interesting that I found many, comical and otherwise, of a man staring into an empty refrigerator.  So I widened my search and looked for a woman and an empty refrigerator.  There were plenty, and most of them were of women CLEANING an empty refrigerator.  In the rare cases of men and women and an empty refrigerator, the man looked with dismay at the woman in the picture while the woman stood there with a helpless look on her face.  The man could have easily been imagined to be saying “Why is there no food?”

What I really want to share today is that opening a refrigerator not knowing that there is or there isn’t enough food in the refrigerator is daunting.  For a single parent raising children, it is a major worry.  It is the reason single parents let their children eat first.  It makes the food go farther if she just says “I am not that hungry.”

Food in this case is all about money.