But I Know He/She Loves Me

“Why else would he keep telling me that all the time? He tells me I’m perfect, I’m the best woman he’s ever met. That he knew it immediately. He’s even planned our family holidays, our wedding, where we’ll live. He says he can’t live without me. He wants me to be with him all the time. He doesn’t want me to talk to other guys, let alone date them. He says I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have found him. No man will ever love me more or treat me like he does. Wow….

I’ve known him for two weeks. But yet…. He has this way of making me uneasy. I think I love him, too, but something isn’t right.”

“She says she’s never felt this way before. That I’m the best looking, sexiest man she’s ever met. That she’s been wanting someone like me forever, and she’s the luckiest woman alive. She wants to cook for me every night. Clean my apartment. Meet my kids and my friends. She’s even said how much she’ll love living here after we’re married…and that she’ll even be happy moving in before that so we can plan our wedding better.

I’ve always thought I’d meet someone like her. I’ve looked for her a lot. But yet…why am I feeling smothered? Uncomfortable. I really like her, but this is too much too soon. It’s only been three weeks…I don’t know that I can do this any more.”

And a few days later…

“I told him it was too fast. Too much. I needed space; needed some time. And suddenly he was a different person. Yelling at me. Accusing me of all kinds of things, like lying to him. Making him think I loved him when I didn’t. He wouldn’t leave me alone. Called or texted me continually, berating me and telling me I’d be sorry I broke his heart. Then crying that I ruined his life and he couldn’t live without me.

I was scared. I didn’t know what he’d do. Either to me or himself. Friends told me to cut all ties with him but I was afraid it would cause him to do something to himself, and I’d be responsible.”

“I told her we needed time apart. I couldn’t do every night…every weekend. I had to have time for myself. My tennis pals and golf buddies were ready to replace me. She told me it was ok, that she’d just come over and stay at my place while I was out with my friends. She’d have dinner ready for me even. Maybe even redecorate a bit. That was bad enough, but then she started questioning me about who I was with; who I was talking to….

I couldn’t do it anymore. And I told her. Told her we needed some space. She cried. Said she’d done everything for me; had even given notice at her apartment so she could move in with me. I’d never even mentioned it. She kept calling and texting me afterwards, telling me she was sorry, she loved me, couldn’t live without me…I finally blocked her number. And hoped she wouldn’t come by my place to see what I was doing.”

It’s not just women who start dating people who aren’t right for them, and don’t know how to break it off. Or worse, are afraid to break it off because they don’t want to be alone. Or they’re scared no one else will be there, and being with someone is better than being alone.

Or is it?

We’ve all heard stories about people (usually women unfortunately) who stay with people because they think things will change; that the person really doesn’t mean it when he/she says those crazy statements meant to intimidate or threaten. When they try to be around all the time, smothering their supposed significant other to the point of making them run the other way.

Or worse, when that person starts threatening, berating, screaming, or in some cases, eventually resulting to physical violence. And afterwards, of course, apologizing, begging forgiveness, promising it won’t happen again. Until it does. Or even blaming the other person for his or her actions, saying, “You made me do it! It’s YOUR fault!”

We’ve all either been there, or had friends who’ve been there.

That’s not love. That’s manipulation. Control. Self-centeredness. Selfishness. Intimidation. Jealousy. Whatever you want to call it.

And let me tell you, it’s eventually very dangerous.

You say it won’t happen to you? Think again. It can. And if you stay in a relationship like that, it will. Trust me. I know.

You cannot change someone like this. And without professional help, neither can they. You may care for them, or think you do, even think you love them, but that kind of love isn’t healthy, and leads to nothing but disaster. The best thing to do in this situation is walk away. Run away. Don’t look back, because each time you do it opens the door for the cycle to start over again.

True love is not manipulative. It is not one sided. It is not smothering. It is not jealous. It does not force guilt on others. It is never violent.

True love is patient. It respects the other person. True love requires each person in the relationship to think more of the other person’s feelings than their own.

The actions of true love speak louder than words ever can.

A relationship of love is built on mutual feelings. Mutual respect. It does not happen overnight. Yes, attraction certainly happens immediately, but true love requires a deep emotional bond with the other person that can only come with time. Time to get to know each other. And to develop a relationship that deepens as that time goes on.

He/she loves you? Maybe in their own sad way they do. But it’s not real love.

And it can only lead to broken hearts. And disaster.

Are you in a relationship like this?

Oh, but yours is different, you say. He/she is changing because they’ve promised you. And you can already see it. Well, sort of.

Right. It’s different until it happens again. And you get another apology. And then, a few weeks or months later, it’s the same old story.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit and get yourself out of that relationship.

Because the right one can’t come along until you get rid of the wrong one.

I know from experience!

When Busyness Continually Takes Over Your Life

It’s already started. All the commitments, all the plans are already filling up the first part of my 2019 calendar.

But then I started to think about what I’d written a few years ago. About busy-ness. Not business. Busy-ness. Being busy all the time, but getting nowhere, accomplishing nothing.

It all started with a post from an acquaintance about how busy busy busy they’d been. Doing this, doing that. No wonder we hadn’t seen them in ages. Plans were half made but never confirmed. Either something else always came up, or time just marched in and changed things in its own inimitable way. Plans were juggled here and there, and eventually just fell thru the cracks into an abyss, and nothing was ever done. Sadly that’s still the case quite often. With several acquaintances.

We’re all guilty of that, though.

Many times we think our busy-ness is for all the right reasons. “We had to volunteer at church for this or that.”

“I know we made plans, but this meeting came up, and we felt guilty because even though we’d made other plans, this is really important, and we couldn’t say no. I hope you understand.”

Or, “We arranged to take our parents to dinner, but then someone called and asked us to help them with a project that same night, so we re-scheduled our parents, and I guess we hurt their feelings because they said they guessed they weren’t as important as our friends.”

Or how about, “We ‘forgot’ to discuss plans with our spouse, and he/she had already made plans for that same night. So we’ll pick another night.” And it takes forever to get that “another night” scheduled.

Or we have plans for a big project we want to accomplish. Something we’ve wanted to do for quite a while. We talk about it all the time, but talk doesn’t accomplish what we keep saying we’re going to do. Something else always comes up, and we lose our focus.

And it never happens.

Busy-ness. Or, busy-mess as I just accidentally typed. But it fits!

Remember the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”? That line, “I’d love to if I can find the time.” The dad in the song never did, and because that’s how he was raised, neither did his son. It was always, “but we’ll get together soon. And we’re gonna have a good time then.”

We’re all busy with our lives. My previous job took me away from home 11 hours a day, and I was always exhausted by the time I got home, and when the weekend came around I didn’t want to do anything. It wasn’t fair to me or my family. Now that I have a job I truly enjoy which is only a short half hour commute each way, I’ve actually been able to catch up on the things I missed out on. Some things fortunately waited patiently for me, but sadly, others didn’t.

Those are the things I miss the most. The ones I cannot recapture. The missed opportunities. We mean well. We say let’s do this or that, but we don’t always follow up. And then one day we realize people we really cared about are out of our lives. And we didn’t even realize it. Or the things we really wanted to do have been on the back burner so long we just give up, because we don’t think we’ll ever have enough time to do them. And another opportunity is missed, because we were just too busy, with things that actually weren’t all that important when we look back on them.

That’s unfortunately how life is these days. We don’t make the time we need for ourselves, or for those closest to us, because we’re torn in so many directions by other things, usually things really not as important as we think they are.

Maybe the busy-ness is a substitute for something missing in our own lives. Maybe we think we’re only liked, only appreciated, only useful if we try to do everything everybody else wants us to do. But most of the time that thinking is at the expense of ourselves…and our friends and family. We can’t be everything for everybody all the time. Because then there’s nothing left for ourselves.

Think about it. What’s important to you? Who’s important to you? Now what are you going to do about it?

Is your busy-ness/busy-mess going to keep you running in several directions at once, or are you going to take the time to slow down and re-think your priorities? Before it’s too late.

Take time to smell the roses, and the gardenias. Walk in the rain with someone you love. Enjoy a quiet dinner with friends and laugh at each others’ jokes until your stomachs hurt. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and renew a fading friendship. If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents around, go visit them. Play a game of catch with your children or grandchildren. Be spontaneous instead of filling up your calendar weeks in advance, with no nights free.

Those meetings can wait. Someone else can coordinate that luncheon. The world won’t stop if you say “no” to being on one more committee.

But your world will begin to change. And you’ll wonder why you ever let all that busy-ness take over your life. And suddenly, you’ll have a life again.

It’s a new year, and the first month of it is already almost over. But we can still start it off right!

Back to Normal? Not Really…

This morning some 500,000 federal employees are finally heading back to work, as are hundreds of thousands of federal contractors. Those who had been working without being paid are still on the job but breathing a sigh of relief because they’ll now at least be paid for their efforts.

For three weeks. Three short weeks, most likely, before they may be put back in the same situation.

And if that happens, what next? Where does it end?

The president has already said that if he doesn’t get his way during this time, “it’s off to the races!” What an awful thing to say! Obviously, he fairly well knows he’s not going to get everything he wants, and he’s threatening the American people he’ll do this again. And reports from the White House have said they’re once again prepared to play the same horrible game with hundreds of thousands of federal employees being at risk again.

Why? The president wants what he wants, no matter what he has to do to get it. He wants to fulfill a campaign promise. Half of it, at least, because Mexico isn’t paying for his wall; the American people will, IF he gets his way.

And the federal employees are already in limbo over what the next month will bring, even before they get back to their offices this morning.

Employees shouldn’t have to put up with that from their boss. Working under threats does not cause increased productivity. It creates a hostile work environment. It creates stress. And causes mistakes to be made, some of which could have dire consequences.

These employees have enough facing them right now. Not only the stress of wondering how soon their back paychecks will come, and how many of their bills they’ll be able to pay with them, but trying to figure out what they’ll do if it happens again.

Save some of the money they get? I’m sure some will try, but it depends on how far in debt they already are because of the past five weeks.

How in the world will they be able to concentrate on doing their jobs to the best of their ability under those circumstances? Could you? I know I couldn’t.

Plus, after being away from their desks for five weeks, can you imagine the enormous backlog of work they’re facing? It’ll probably take all day just to prioritize what needs to be handled first.

Yes, they’re back to work for now, but it’s not going to be as simple as it was when they left their offices on that last day before the shutdown started.

Many are probably already looking for new jobs, and may continue doing it while they’re at work. And I really cannot blame them. Many may be close to retirement age and have already decided to leave now, while they can. And when they do, who’s going to be there to adequately train the new hires for their particular position? If any one even wants to work for the federal government right now, that is!

It’s not really a simple problem. It’s a complex situation for which there’s no easy solution.

Three weeks isn’t a long time to solve this. And there shouldn’t be a time limit on people’s livelihoods.

And if it does happen again, it’s going to be worse than before. Because it could make the longest government shutdown in the history of our nation, the one that just ended, look like a walk in the park!

And don’t try to tell me it’s all worth it, and it’s all for the greater good, and as one of the president’s family members said, “future generations will thank us!”

Nothing good will come out of this if it happens again. Too many people will be hurt in the end.

Please, BOTH SIDES, please sit down and negotiate in good faith. No walking out if things aren’t going well. No starting out by saying “I either get what I want or I’m not talking any more.” Negotiating is give and take. A good negotiator knows how and when to compromise. And a good negotiator doesn’t constantly belittle the other side, especially in the national news or social media.

Everyone needs to ALL work together before our federal employees, and our country, have to go through this mess again!

Where is the Compassion?

This is a blog I was hoping not to have to write.

Foolishly I thought our selfish and egotistic politicians holding the federal workers hostage as pawns in a game of “We’re going to win no matter what it takes!” would be over by now and things would be starting to get back to normal.

Far from it.

Back in Washington, both sides are still at a stalemate, one side saying they’ll give a little bit here and a little bit there, but without the “wall” there’s no deal.

The other side says there’s not going to be funding for “the wall” but we’ll give you other things instead.

So instead of sitting down at that impartial table and negotiating in good faith, and working out a compromise that both sides can live with for now, neither side is willing to give on the one thing they’re each adamant about.

While 800,000+ people remain furloughed or working without paychecks for the fifth week. While these people are wondering how they’re going to make it thru this week, and the next, and buy food for their family, keep a roof over their heads, heat their homes, and put gas in their cars and trucks.

It’s not a minor matter. It’s not a matter of saying “oh well, they’ll be ok. They’ll eventually get paid. They can just tighten their belts and live with it. Somebody will help them. They’re at home relaxing, enjoying their kids, and saving money on child care! It’s like a vacation for them!”

Seriously????

They’re on vacation?? I beg to disagree.

“And the ones who’re working without pay right now, they’re really the good guys because they know it’s all worth it in the end, and they’ll be fine as well. There are food banks out there they can go to.”

This makes me ashamed. It makes me sad. It makes me furious. And it disgusts me.

There is no excuse for any of this, and there is no excuse for the lack of compassion for those affected that I keep hearing from the mouths of so many who are NOT affected. Except for the few who say “one of my family members is affected and he/she is fine with it because he/she knows it’ll eventually be ok.”

Well that’s great for them. But most of these workers are not lucky enough to afford this shutdown to go on any longer. And then what will happen to them!? Yes they can take out a loan, possibly, but most cannot qualify for a large enough loan which will cover all their bills. What then? Another loan? Probably not going to happen.

Personally, if I didn’t get paid for five or more weeks, I’m sorry but I’d be having a really tough time. I’d be stressed, worried, and wondering if I could pay any of my bills with the meager unemployment checks I finally started getting. And it would certainly affect my job performance if I were working with no paycheck!

By the way, let’s not forget that many of these workers who are on the job with no pay are working under Homeland Security, which is the agency responsible for border security. Which is what this shutdown is supposedly all about. Explain how that makes any sense.

I know many of you reading this will agree with me, and many sadly will not. We each have a right to our opinions, but recently many people have told me in no uncertain terms how horrible I am that I don’t support what’s being done “for the greater good.” I don’t understand how this is the right thing to do.

Well I don’t support it. And I certainly don’t understand it.

I don’t support leaving hundreds of thousands of people suddenly furloughed or working without pay while supposedly mature adults argue like spoiled children. And if this continues there will be thousands more affected because of decreased spending at grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, which can affect those employees’ jobs. It’s going to become a vicious cycle.

Depending on how long it continues people could lose their homes, their vehicles, and have to choose between life saving medications such as insulin or chemotherapy or eating. No, they aren’t being given a pass, my friends. This is serious.

I don’t support causing the stress in these families’ lives.

I don’t support using these people as pawns to get someone’s way.

If another country was doing something similar to their government employees, our political officials would be outraged. They’d be condemning that government. But I guess doing it here is different, because it’s for a “good cause.”

There’s no good cause that justifies this.

And what’s even more frightening is the lack of compassion I’m seeing from those very people who should have it. There’s no real concern, and no empathy. They don’t think about the big picture because it’s not affecting them personally. At least not yet.

It’s a sad commentary on our country. And it’s a sad commentary on so many who profess to have a huge heart for those who are in need, yet think it’s ok for our elected officials to put so many people in need for their own political objectives.

This country is losing its compassion; its heart. It’s forgotten, or ignoring, the principles our country was founded on.

Many of you who read this will continue to call me names, accuse me of not understanding, and tell me if I’m so concerned about other people I should pay their bills for them. Well unfortunately I’m in no position to do that. I wish I were.

All I can do is speak my opinion and urge the two political parties to stop this senseless game, put our people back to work, and start the healing process.

If they don’t, I’m scared it will be more than a loss of compassion. It may very well be the end of our nation as we once knew it.

Republicans and Democrats need to end their allegiance to their particular political parties and give it to the people who they’re supposed to be serving.

The Human Crisis of the Shutdown

The Human Crisis of the Shutdown

It’s not what a lot of you think. That is one thing I’m sure of.

A huge part of the crisis is the way our country is treating its citizens, using them as pawns in a battle that neither side is going to win.

But even worse is the attitude of so many who are demanding the “wall” that will most likely never be built, and saying it’s all “for the greater good!”

Really? Our hard working citizens and their families who are either furloughed without pay or having to still do their jobs without pay are doing it “for the greater good?!” The government contractors and their families who can’t work and may not get any back pay when this mess is over are suffering “for the greater good?!”

The “greater good” doesn’t pay their bills. Any more than it would pay yours.

It just amazes me. I’m heartsick. I’m appalled. And I do not understand how some people can be so cavalier, so uncaring, even cold hearted. Like they really don’t care, as long as they get their own way and are not personally inconvenienced.

Why? What’s happening to our country? How have we become so insensitive to others who are caught in the middle of a controversy not of their choosing, and certainly not caused by anything they’ve done, except be employed by the federal government?

The end does not always justify the means, and certainly not in this case. Not when it’s hurting so very many American families.

Comments I have heard have amazed me. When i mention how these employees are being treated unfairly and how they’re having trouble paying their bills, I hear “yes it’s a shame, but illegals have taken our jobs away and people can’t find work because of them so we need a wall.” So what about the families who now can’t pay their bills? That question wasn’t answered.

Talking about how wrong it is for these families to do without paychecks and the problems they’re having deciding whether to pay rent or their mortgage, or buy food…”they can take out a loan or get food stamps. They’ll figure it out. We need a wall.”

Then there was, “If you’re so concerned, then help them find a new job, pay their bills, and buy their food. We need a wall to stop drug smuggling, human trafficking, and murderers and rapists from entering the country. We need a wall.”

But many of these employees can’t pay their mortgage or their rent. They’re in danger of losing their home if this continues. “Then the banks should work with them and their landlords forgive their rent til it’s settled and we get our wall. It’s important to our security.”

It doesn’t work that way. Mortgage companies need their money as well, and most landlords aren’t in a position to let the rent go unpaid, because they have mortgages to pay as well. If this continues then their employees could be affected as well. Vicious cycle, isn’t it? But we need that wall!! The heck with everything else!

“The workers can get unemployment. And food stamps. All they have to do is apply. What’s the problem there? We need a wall!” The problem is, they’ll make far less on unemployment than their regular paychecks, and it takes awhile to get food stamps as well. It’ll help some, certainly, but it takes 2-4-6 weeks to get that first check, depending on where they live. What do they do in the meantime? And just remember they have to pay all that back when they finally get paid.

Many of these furloughed and unpaid workers are having to take out loans to survive. Some are interest free. And some are not. Is that fair? Oh, I forgot. “We need that wall! They’ll figure it out.”

Many of these workers are having to choose between food, utility payments, housing, and medicine, some of it life saving insulin. Plus they have health insurance premiums to pay. “Lots of people can’t afford health insurance because of illegal immigrants. They can apply for Medicaid. We have to have our wall!”

I guess the wall is far more important than someone’s insulin, or blood pressure meds, or other drugs people have to take regularly. Is this that “greater good” thing again?

And this is not like being laid off from a job because of an economic downturn. They can’t go out and look for other employment very well, because most employers will assume, and rightly so, that as soon as this shutdown ends, they’ll go back to their other jobs. And finding new employment is not the easiest thing to do, contrary to those who say “stop complaining and just deal with it! That’s life, and that’s too bad. And oh, by the way, we want that wall!”

Our country is in crisis. Our elected officials aren’t negotiating. Each side blames the other, and as of this writing, neither is willing to compromise, which leaves all of these 800,000+ people and their families, plus all of the government contract employees, in a state of limbo, with no financial security at all. They are at the mercy of others who don’t seem to really care about them.

I am greatly concerned for these families, for what this shutdown is doing to them, and how the entire matter is dividing our country so deeply. It has now reached a point of extreme division, often pitting friends and family against each other in a sometimes vicious war of words and name-calling.

I have yet to hear a valid argument as to why it is ok to leave these federal employees in this situation indefinitely. It seems all we are hearing from each side is either “We have to have a wall!” or “We will not fund a wall!” It’s time for BOTH sides to sit down and negotiate an end to this stalemate. These employees do not deserve this treatment by either side.

And to all of you, no matter what side you’re on in this, please try to put yourselves in these people’s places. Actually picture yourselves being there. No income, or worse, working for no paycheck, with a promise to be paid later. Trying to figure out how to meet your expenses, feed your family, afford your medications, and try to keep a roof over your head.

And for those working for no pay, imagine how that feels. No, really imagine it. Don’t the majority of us really need the money we’re paid for the job we do?

How would you feel if you were actually in that situation? No end in sight, and running out of money? Having to try to get loans, beg landlords or mortgage companies to give you a break, and then being told “no”. Then having people tell you it’s all for the greater good, and you’ll get by somehow.

I’m sorry, but this is a real human crisis we’re facing right now. Where is the compassion we’re supposed to have for others? I’m not seeing it here. And until we stop being on one side or the other, no one is going to win. We’re spending too much time criticizing the “other side” and not enough time trying to solve the problem. Yes, I want illegal immigration stopped, but not at so many peoples’ expense who have no say in the matter. Enforce the laws we have, add more border guards, but for everyone’s sake, stop this shutdown madness.

Our federal employees are caught in limbo, and it’s going to start affecting a lot more people if it continues.

They deserve better. Don’t you agree?

For once let’s put politics aside and do what’s right for everyone concerned.

So What Next?

It’s now Day 19 of some 800,000+ people, not counting their family members, being held hostage by the administration’s refusal to re-open the government until the president gets his way.

There are still no compromises unless the other side gives in. Meanwhile citizens’ lives are being disrupted more and more on a daily basis.

For what? So that a man elected to run the country and who swore to protect the people of the country and do so with the best of his ability can continue to play “I’ll show you who’s boss?!” while thousands of his constituents continue to suffer with no paychecks? While some on the other side sort of try to compromise, while others in their party just want to impeach the man so they can say they’ve gotten what they want?

Neither side is right, and neither side is acting in the interest of the American citizens.

And neither action re-opens the government and puts the real hard-working people back to work and earning a living.

Yes, we watched Tuesday night’s speech and the other side’s comments. And we saw no real emotion, no passion, on either side. Just a conglomeration of more political posturing and rhetoric that solves nothing.

One side wants what he wants and nothing less. The other side wants what they want as well, but at least actually said let’s re-open the government and then negotiate from there.

And that is the only sensible thing we heard during the whole speech and the other side’s rebuttal.

The “crisis of the soul” that was mentioned I can agree with totally, but not in the context in which it was delivered.

As one of the speakers last night stated, there is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice.

And right now, wrong and injustice are winning. The real losers are the federal workers who can’t get their paychecks. If that isn’t wrong and unjust, what is? They’ve done nothing to deserve this, yet no one seems to care about what they’re going through. They’re sort of forgotten about in the midst of this mess.

I haven’t forgotten them. And neither should you.

This has got to stop, and stop quickly. Our country wasn’t founded on a government hurting its own citizens to get what it wants.

Please, all of you, grow up, stop this political game of “chicken”, and do what’s right for the people of this country.

Is that too much to ask?

The Real Victims of the Shutdown

It’s now Day 18 of some 800,000 Americans being held hostage by a situation they have no control over. And a situation which appears to have no end in sight any time soon.

There seems to be no good way to end the situation, because it’s been caused by our elected government leaders who can’t agree, who won’t compromise, who won’t negotiate, without using threats and bullying tactics to get what they want. Each side blames the other, while innocent hard-working Americans are paying the price for this shameless behavior.

And by the way, these elected officials are still getting their paychecks. They can still pay their bills on time. Do you think that’s fair? And don’t tell me how the president isn’t taking a paycheck; that’s his decision, and a political one. He and his family have plenty of money and has no idea what it’s like to live paycheck by paycheck. After all, we all remember him telling us how his father gave him a small loan of a million dollars to start his business. How many of us can say that? I certainly can’t. And saying he empathizes with those receiving no paychecks? I doubt it seriously, because to my knowledge he’s never had to live paycheck to paycheck. He’s never had to “adjust” to the situation.

My husband and I are not personally affected by this. Yet. However, far too many of our friends are. These are good hardworking people who need their paychecks on a regular basis, like most of the people in this country. They don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet, or put food on their table, until this is over.

I hear so many people making comments about this is important and “we” have to have our border security. “We” need to be firm in our positions. Or, “it’s not that bad because they’ll eventually get their back pay.” Really????? What do they do in the meantime? Use whatever savings, if they have it, to try to get by? And if there are no savings, what do they do?

How have we gotten to this point that we don’t care about the lives of so many American citizens who have done nothing to deserve being treated this way? I wouldn’t want to be told I had to keep working, but would get an IOU instead of a paycheck. I wouldn’t want to be told I’m taking an “unpaid vacation” for awhile and they’ll call me back when they can. And oh, we’re sorry….

Let’s look a little further into this, and before you start saying how wrong I am, and how “we” need to make a stand, and “we” need to secure our borders, put yourself in these people’s places.

There are approximately 420,000 essential federal employees who are working but not getting paid; another 380,000 furloughed with no pay. And it’s not just the workers themselves who are affected; their families are as well…husbands, wives, children. That would conservatively increase that number to 2.4 million, instead of 800,000.

Social security payments are being paid, although at first many of us were concerned about that. Our military, fortunately, is getting paid. Except for the Coast Guard, which is a part of Homeland Security, which is not getting paid but still working. Congress was able to pass legislation to pay the Coast Guard through December 31, but they cannot be paid on January 15 unless either the government reopens, or another stopgap measure is passed. How wrong is this?

This whole thing is supposedly about border security, but the Homeland Security agency isn’t being paid during the shutdown??? Can someone explain the sense behind that one?

It is estimated that $1.4 billion in salaries per week is being held up because of this ridiculous shutdown. And before someone says, just take those salaries for 5 weeks and build the wall and let them go back to work, let me ask you…could YOU afford that? I didn’t think so. I know we couldn’t.

There are also some 4.1 million government contractors laid off who are not assured of being paid back wages when the government reopens, and at this point most likely they won’t be paid. Multiply that number by 3 to include their families, and see how many people are actually affected.

It’s not a pretty set of statistics, is it? And it’s even uglier if you’re one of those people.

Yes, they’re eligible for unemployment. Most of them. But they have to apply, and it takes 2-6 weeks to get your first check after you’re approved, depending on the state where you live. And that’s not going to pay all their bills.

Get part time jobs? And how long will it take to find something? Who’s going to hire someone part time who could be called back to work at any time? Sure there are probably some such jobs out there’, but not nearly enough. And part time positions won’t pay that much, but they might at least put food on the table.

Mortgages and rent probably won’t be able to be paid. Possibly the mortgage companies may make arrangements, but maybe they won’t. Property management companies may do the same for their tenants, and maybe they won’t. Or can’t. But that also causes the landlords who have their own mortgages to pay on their properties to also be put at risk. And contrary to what many of you may think, not all landlords can afford to wait for their rent without putting their own finances at risk, which means even more people are affected.

Many of these workers have car payments to make as well. Again, their creditors are most likely not going to be able to cut deals for them either. Then there are utility bills, credit card payments, etc. Late and missed payments affect credit scores, and without numerous phone calls and letters of explanation, those lowered scores can affect future financial transactions.

Many of these employees or their family members need monthly medication for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, cardiac related medication, etc. Depending on co-pays, they may not be able to afford their medicine, and I doubt seriously that pharmacies are in the position to take their IOU’s.

As I mentioned earlier, let’s not forget that these families have to eat. Food expenses are a big part of every family’s budget, even if they’re not eating out. Grocery stores don’t take IOU’s either.

There are families who owe tuition for their own or their children’s school. How is that going to get paid? Will the students be allowed to continue their studies or forced to withdraw?

Then we have the home buyers, the ones who are using FHA loans. New FHA mortgages will now take much longer for approval, and will only for available for single family homes. Not condominiums. Existing loans in process may not be able to close on time and may be delayed. This affects the real estate agents and loan officers as well as the buyers and sellers. And contrary to popular opinion, the majority of real estate agents are not rich. They work hard for their money and don’t get paid until a sale is finalized.

Think about it. The affects of this shutdown are snowballing every day.

This is the reality of the shutdown. Its not an “inconvenience” as radio/tv commentator Sean Hannity said. It’s not doing anything but hurting people who don’t deserve it. They’re being bullied, being used as pawns in a political chess game, being held hostage in a political game of King of the Mountain, and no one is willing to pay the ransom to rescue them.

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Let’s forget about what side of the political spectrum we’re on. Forget the “we have to do this or else” way of thinking and do something to take care of our American citizens who have been put in a financial crisis that they are powerless to escape from. Let’s stop the Republicans vs. Democrats way of thinking and think about what’s best for the people of these United States. The longer this shutdown lasts, the more financial damage that will be done and the more American workers that will be hurt.

I care about them. Who else does?

Sources for statistics: CNBC.com

How Do You See the Glass?

Half empty?

Half full?

Or maybe it’s leaking and there’s no plug to stop it.

That’s a decision you need to make. Now. The new year is only a few days old, but already you’re complaining that it’s just a repeat of last year.

The same problems, the same situations that you were stuck in last year. It’s a new year and you’re still miserable. What’s the point?

So the glass is half empty? Or is it leaking like a sieve and you can’t find anything to plug the hole?

Are you going to waste this entire new year ahead of you concentrating on everything that’s still wrong in your life? Complaining, feeling depressed, and concentrating on everything that you think is wrong in your life instead of looking at what’s good in your life, and finalizing and working those plans to change what’s still wrong?

If you continue to see the glass as half empty, it’s only going to start draining down further, and eventually it’ll be empty all the way.

Then what do you do?

Sitting around and looking at things negatively isn’t going to make that glass fill up; it’s not going to plug the hole that allows what’s still inside to pour out and become wasted.

“But you don’t understand how I feel. You have a job/a nice home/a boyfriend or girlfriend/husband or wife/you’re not in pain all the time and facing surgery/your kids aren’t in big trouble/you’re not down to your last few dollars and can’t pay your bills….”

Sound familiar? Guess what? You have no idea what that other person is going through. Because you’re concentrating on how miserable your life is and comparing it to everyone else’s life when you have no idea what they’re going through.

They may be fine on the outside, but inside they may be going through just as many struggles, or more, than you. They just don’t share them and complain about them.

They look at things differently. They see the glass half full. Sure, they want it fuller than it is, but they know things will improve. They’re working toward that goal by thinking positive, and doing things to reach that goal.

They know the glass is only half full right now, but they also know it’s eventually going to get more in it.

They’re out there working to make things happen. Sure, it’s not always easy, and there will certainly be setbacks, maybe even failures along the way. The glass will get a little fuller, but then it’ll drain out a bit. Again.

It’s never going to be completely full, because life isn’t always perfect. And if that’s what you’re looking for, your glass won’t even be half full; it’ll be almost empty.

There’s no quick, magic solution to fix your problems, and to make that glass fuller. When you turn on the faucet to fill your glass, it doesn’t instantly fill. It depends on how fast the water runs, and if you allow some to splash out because it’s running too fast.

Being miserable and telling yourself no matter what you do it’s not going to work becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You’ll stay miserable and unhappy and your glass will keep draining until there really is nothing left inside.

But doing something to make the situation better, and doing it daily, will eventually result in the glass becoming fuller. You may not notice it at first, but all if a sudden you’ll see it differently and realize, it is fuller…and by more than half.

How do I know? I’ve been there. I compared my life to everyone else’s and thought mine would never be better. And until I started to see the glass as half full instead of half empty, I didn’t think things could ever be better.

My life isn’t perfect; no one’s is. At least no one I know. But my glass is a lot more than half full. And I work on it every day because I don’t ever want to see it half empty, or worse, almost empty, ever again.

Keep that in perspective. Write down the good things in your life. Not just the big things, but the little ones, too. Then do the same with the things you need to change. And then…write down how you’re going to change them for the better. And don’t stop until you have at least one idea on how to change each bad thing to better.

It’s all up to you, you know. It’s your glass you’re seeing. And you’re the only one who can change how you see it.

There’s a lot of new year left. Start filling that glass!

When The Confetti Is Gone

Times Square was filled with people. Thousands of them cheering and screaming and waiting for the ball to drop. There were party hats and noisemakers. Streamers and confetti. Entertainers and TV cameras. Each and every one couldn’t wait til that magic moment.

You could almost feel the anticipation as we watched the activity on TV in the comfort of our home, like millions of others across the country and the world.

Like us, they were waiting. Across the globe other time zones had already passed into the new year, and the cameras would occasionally switch to show the other celebrations that were already over….almost as quickly as they began.

In the scope of mere seconds, another year had ended, and another had begun. We were all excited, as we celebrated a new beginning, watched fireworks and tossed confetti, called and texted friends and wished them “Happy New Year!”, and then….what next?

Within a half hour Times Square was almost empty, except for those whose job it was to clean up after the party was over. The celebrants had left, moving on to other parties to find another reason to celebrate, or going back to hotel rooms or homes, as the feeling of euphoria and excitement they’d just experienced slowly left them, and the same old feelings they’d tried to leave behind returned. The confetti and streamers that had been tossed in the air a short time ago, were already being swept away and discarded…forgotten. They were no longer needed or wanted. Because there was no more anticipation or excitement; nothing to look forward to. Really? Are you sure about that?

Life often hits us like that. We spend so much time preparing for and anticipating an important event…and when it’s over, we’re let down. Almost depressed. We dissect what took place, look at the pictures, share memories with friends, but we can’t quite seem to capture that exact feeling again. We keep looking for that same excitement to reoccur, and we’re disappointed when it seems to be back to business as usual.

Or is it back to business as usual because we allow it to be?

We forget how to look ahead with expectancy and excitement, unless it’s for some big special event coming up. We forget there are little things to be excited about, as well as the excitement and anticipation of things to come that we don’t even know about. There are things we’ve been hoping for, and praying for, but we’re almost to the point of giving up on them. Because we’ve been waiting so long, and we just don’t think it’s going to ever happen.

But guess what! It is! Isaiah 43:19 tells us, “Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?” (NCV) We only need to look with our spiritual eyes and heart. We need to see it as already accomplished and begin thanking the Lord that it’s already done. Because He has promised us, and we know that those promises are always fulfilled!

I’m guilty of feeling that way, too. More often than I’d like to be. But this year I’m making a serious effort to change that! I am determined not to go back to that old way of thinking, and I’m going to start seeing all of those things as already done. There’s so much to look forward to in this coming year. The birth of our second granddaughter in the spring is the only one I really know about, but I know there are many more exciting blessings coming our way! I just don’t know when they will occur, or exactly what they will be, but I know they are coming.

So I’m getting out the confetti and the streamers (and maybe a few balloons), and I’m getting ready!

How about your joining me in the celebration?