Dear Aunt B,
Columns & Editorials
The experts are finally agreeing on something. Times are tough. The degrees of toughness are up for debate, but general woefulness blankets all the predictions. Will we have a recession? Are we in a recession? The details are under tremendous scrutiny. Just like anything else, spin doctors for all sides are incredibly busy creating labels and new catch phrases to skew our thought process toward their views. Certain factions will encourage you to save your pennies. Certain factions will prompt you to continue to spend. And, the raptors of the investment world, who pray for times like these, are licking their lips and waiting for the chance to pounce on whatever becomes a low commodity. I’m not a pessimist. I’m just a realist. This I know to be true. The economy will rise. It will fall. It will hang in the balance. This will happen cyclically, over and over and over and over again. But, all is not lost. In fact, rejoice in the opportunity to weather these storms. It means that you’re still here in this world, ready to keep on trying. I remember riding in the backward facing suicide seat of my mother’s wood paneled station wagon on even days (that was our day), in a miles long snaking line of other folks who just needed a little gas, back in the 70s. I tied yellow ribbons onto trees so no one would forget the American hostages in Iran. I watched The Day After for extra credit in high school chemistry, so sure we would be nuked before we had the chance to grow up. Yet, here I am, still watching the sun rise and set in what has turned out to be a gorgeous world. I have willed it to be so. But, back to the economy. My late father, born during prohibition and a child of The Great Depression, has a few things he needs to share with you via his obstinate daughter’s hand.
Superman, Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk all possess superpowers, but I enjoy supremacy even greater than x-ray vision, unlimited strength or the ability to fly. My capabilities come from grocery lists in my pocket and canned goods on aisle seven. It’s the power of food acquisition and I’ve assumed extreme control. Those of us in the know, know it doesn’t get any better than that.
This week I want to introduce you to a truly remarkable young lady, Makenzie Hyde. This weekend she played the lead role in Mary Poppins to sold out shows in the Greenville Municipal Auditorium attended by thousands. Her stage presence was captivating, and she sang with the voice of an angel. To be sure, she was one of a huge cast of dozens of characters that included her sister Larissa who also put in a stand-out performance. There were dozens more people who worked behind the scenes, including her mom and her dad who worked tirelessly building sets for the production. The musical was bolstered by a top notch performance by the orchestra directed by Eilene Wiemar.
It’s very easy to get caught in the loop of only worrying about tomorrow or replaying the past. A good teacher once said, “Look at your feet. Are they where they are supposed to be? Are they headed in the direction you want to be going?” Of course, when this statement is made, the reaction can be, “What?” or “That is so lame.” The better reaction is, “Let me look and see where they are pointing me.” There is much to be learned from paying attention to the direction your feet, and ultimately your head, is pointing towards.
For many years, Americans provided for their retirement needs through three sources: employer-sponsored pension plans, Social Security income, and savings and investments accumulated through employer plans or individual accounts – the so-called “three-legged stool.” But today, that stool is shakier than it used to be. What can you do to strengthen it?
Last week I was busy in my workshop listening to music as I worked when Leon Russell’s version of “If I were a Carpenter” came on. It was a version that was popular when I was in high school, and it brought back some fond memories.
You can change the world without changing the world. Individuals that share their lives with the people around them leave a legacy that spans generations. This sentence perfectly sums up, at least to me, the intent of teachers in the realm of public education.
We all want to live long lives. We all expect to live long lives. But are we financially prepared for this longevity? Before we get to the issue of preparation, let’s look at a couple of interesting findings from a 2022 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones:
While taping a video for Kids Talk About God television spots, I asked a kindergarten boy, “What did the signers of the Declaration of Independence declare freedom from?” He looked at me with some uncertainty and said, “Your parents.”
Dear Aunt B,
Hello, my name is Dina and I cohabitate with the world’s most interesting formerly feral cat named Olive. While I have exhausted my voice in columns past regarding Olive’s amazing feats of glory, she’s mastered some new skills that call for a revisit of her cool cat attributes. See, Olive has grown invisible opposable thumbs. Also, she is bilingual now. But, wait these are only two of the stories we will explore in today’s episode of Kaufman County’s finest purrcast, Olive the Grrrrrreat. How did we get here, you ask? First, let’s cue the Gilligan’s Island dream sequence music and go back all the way to April of 2017. I was working a design job in Granbury, TX. Someone who’d attended an event I’d styled asked me to come and redesign 2 rooms in her home using things she had in other parts of her house and in her storage buildings. In retrospect, I think she just wanted a good spring cleaning. Three days and one broken back later, the rooms looked magazine worthy. Imagine my face when the fee we had agreed upon was paid to me in gift cards. Let’s analyze that once more. I was paid in gift cards. I was livid yet nonconfrontational yet furious yet nauseated by the thought of the confrontation. So, I left with my broken back and money to burn at DSW and IHOP. Just as I was sinking into a woeful mood, my phone rang. It was my daughter-in-law. “Do you want a cat?” she said. “I’m getting one. My sister has a whole litter. They were found out in a field. They are too skinny, and they don’t have a mom.” Sick little kittens who lost their mittens, you say? That’s all I needed to hear. I am that crazy cat lady, after all.
“I sense God’s presence when I pray,” says Kaillyn, age 9. “God comes into my heart and gives me the power to lift my heart up and tell him all the things I need.”
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1a
Dear Aunt B,