Saturday, January 10

What gets you in doesn't always get you out

During this time of economic crisis I have found watching the news almost humorous. They parade these Guru's in front of us all claiming to have the cure but none of them able to get us out of the mess. This past week has been even more ridiculous than normal. I found myself laughing out loud as one of our self-proclaimed advisors said that the problem is my fault. American's, me, are only buying what we need, we are watching our money and trying diligently not to over spend. I almost choked on my coffee as he said this with disgust. The very thing that got us into this mess, people overextending themselves and buying things they couldn't afford and buying it on credit, this is what our "advisor" wanted us to start doing again. "We need to encourage the American people to get out there and spend money...start buying things again" He acted as if the fact that Americans are actually using wisdom is a bad thing.  Now just to be accurate, it is a bad thing. If you have built an economy on the understanding that people are going to buy stuff they don't need and not just stuff they don't need but the top of the line stuff they don't need. Not just a new t.v. but a New Plasma 42'' built in DVD player t.v.! 
I found all of this so amusing due to the fact that when this all went down every spokes person I saw on t.v. was emphasizing the fact that what led to this downfall was the combination of lack of regulations mixed with negligent credit/lending companies and throwing in a little bit of over extended home owners (those who either thru their own fault or the deception of the lending agency bought more than they could afford). Now some of those same people are saying that what we need to get us out of this mess is the very thing that got us into this mess. People buying stuff they don't need. 
I know this will sound a little cheesy but I am proud of the every-day American right now. Every time I see people in the market using coupons for the first time or taking the 2 for one special while taking the expensive item out of their cart, I smile a little. Not because of the fact they might not be able to afford it but because they are making an effort to give up what they might want and get what they need. I am proud that this past Christmas sales were down. I am also sad that it will mean that many people, Good People, will loose their jobs. Companies who built themselves and their products on people over extending themselves are now suffering and it effects all of us. I do hope though that this time will serve as an Economic Awakening in America. Maybe its unattainable, maybe we will stay greedy and as thing start to pick up we will go back to over extending ourselves. Slowly at first but in time back to normal. 

As for my family, we have decided that we are going to live with in our means. I know that if everyone does this the economic guru's are going to need to come up with a better plan than getting Americans to buy more. Not only will we try to live with in our means but as our "means" increases we want to continue to live sensibly. This is our goal. We refuse to be another young couple with two kids and 20,000 in credit card debt. We have been able to avoid debt most of our married life and we are committing to stay that way!  

Saturday, January 3

What holds weight?

If religion comprises rules you follow, faith is demonstrated by the actions you take"

When reading lately I have been stopping and thinking about what I just read. A novel idea I know and one I am sure I didn't invent. As I was reading Tribes (by: Seth Godin) the above section caught me and took up my mind for a little while. I began thinking, what are my actions? If I were to really look at the dailies of my life what do I do out of 'rules' and what is actually demonstrated by my actions (when I am not trying to 'make a point'). Is most of my time 'comprised' by rules or 'demonstrated'. Even those two words in themselves communicate a heavy message. I don't have an answer of course, all I know is that I need to spend more time on the question. Maybe we all do. Religion isn't necessarily bad but as Seth also points out in Tribes "Religion works great when it amplifies faith"... "at its worst, Religion reinforces the status Quo, often at the expense faith.

So what is my Religion and what is my Faith?