Hard Times

We are undoubtedly in the middle of hard economic times. I’ve heard from a number of readers who are struggling right now. Some of my readers have a husband out of work, while others are out of work themselves. I know some of my readers have had to sell their homes like Taylor in Mrs. Perfect, while others are having to return to the work force for the first time in fifteen years.

When I write about thinking positive thoughts like I did in my last blog, I am not making light of our country’s economic woes, or about the very real loss of homes or lifestyles. I’m actually saying–yes, things are hard, but don’t let the difficult things and sad things define you. Or pull you under.

I know what it’s like to feel as though you’re on a sinking ship. I know what it’s like when you think the ship’s going under and we’re all going down with it, too.

But none of us need to go down on a sinking ship.  We’re strong women. We’re brave women. We’re good swimmers. All of us. Every one of us can swim.

And if you don’t want to swim, get a raft and climb in that. We can drag our men, our kids and dogs and gold fish into the raft, too. And if you meet resistance–your men, kids, or dogs don’t want to be saved?  They want to cling to the sinking ship?  Then save yourself, girl.  You don’t have to go down.  There’s no reason to drown.

Don’t let stuff drag you down.  Don’t let negative news overwhelm  you.  Don’t think you can’t handle life.  You can.  We don’t need stuff.  We don’t need other people’s high opinions.  We don’t need a lot of things, but we do need self-love and a healthy measure of self-respect.

I’m reading a great non-fiction book right now. It’s research for Shey’s story and it’s called On The Texas Frontier: Autobiography of a Texas Pioneer, by Mrs. Henry Beck, and it was written in the 1930’s for her children, about her childhood in Texas, particularly the years during the Civil War and after when deprivation was the rule, and their lives were full of hunger, illness, and danger. These pioneers had so little to eat, and lived in constant threat of Indian attacks, and everything was such a struggle just to put food on the table (and we’re talking dried meat, corn meal and corn husk coffee, not fancy food) that I realize we’ve lost perspective of what’s truly necessary.

We do need shelter but it doesn’t have to be grand. We do need food, but it can be basic.  We do need opportunity, but there is always opportunity. We just have to look for it. And we might have to leave our comfort zone to find it.

But that’s okay. That’s what life is. Life isn’t about being cozy and comfy and cushy all the time. It’s about growing some balls (forgive me) and having some guts and being tough when times call for it.

One of my favorite passages in On The Texas Frontier is when the author shares the advice her father gave her  brothers when they didn’t want to do their chores: “You will never amount to anything sitting down waiting for something.  Don’t wait for the wagon to come and pick you up. Go out to meet it and climb on. Nobody ever pushed a passenger like that off his seat. If you want anything from the world, go out and take it by sheer force of will power and a determination to succeed.” This was advice given in 1873. How cool is that?

Yes, we’re in the middle of hard times, but hard times are just that–hard times. They’re not forever.  They won’t last forever. They’ll test us, for sure, but they’re merely temporary and we can’t let difficult times define us.  We define them.

We must always define them. And we can. And we will. And we do.

To help make the end of the week a little sweeter, I’m giving away three (3) prizes:  a $10 Barnes & Noble gift cards, Victoria Secrets lip gloss, See’s chocolate hearts and lots of fun JP goodies. Just post a comment below by Friday midnight and on Saturday morning I’ll draw the three winner’s names. and share them in the comments section. Tell me how the current economic climate is impacting you.  Are you okay? Or are things a little more stressful than you’d like them?

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