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I Don’t Like People

Do you ever feel that way? 

Full authenticity, I really do not LIKE what most people DO but because I have a downright “unnatural” LOVE for my human kind, my heart breaks to watch people sabotage their own success and joy. 

While I LOVE people, I do not LIKE their behaviors that are counter to what they say they believe and want for themselves. 

People are INCONSISTENT. 

After 45+ years of observation, I am convinced that people are not so much “hypocritical” as they are INCONSISITENT. They do not live up to the desires theyEF-People_FB have for themselves such that what they say and do does not match what is actually occurring…and they are ignorant of this truth. They are not aware that what they say and do does not lead to the results they want. 

I KNOW this to be a fact because I work with peoples’ money. I don’t just sell people financial products. I dig into how people manage their budgets; how money flows. 

The #1 inconsistency I see in people is that they say they want more financial security, they say they want more opportunity; they say they want more money and yet they have no clear plan to manage the money they have. They have no idea exactly what happens to all the buckets of money they have already accumulated or even why they chose said bucket in the first place. They have no day-to-day game plan that they can clearly articulate as a means to get to their expected outcomes for their future. 

People flat out have no idea where they are going, so they just “hope” it is better than what they are actually doing.

 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies [“hope”] will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

Because most people really have no clear vision of where they are going, of course they are not clear as to the action steps, behaviors, attitudes that will get them there. And HOPE, while critical in a spiritual sense, has nothing to do with doing your part to create the life that is very possible to have.

So, if you truly want to get to a better place, ya gotta have a plan

The plans of the diligent lead to profit (Proverbs 21:5)

If you want success, freedom, opportunities, options in any area of life, you have to map out of plan that you can stick with and evaluate.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

As such, make a plan. Set some goals. Use the SMART method to refine the list. Share it with another. Check in at regular intervals to make sure you are making strides towards said goal. And do it again the next day.

While my “Goals Wheel” can help you start the process for every area of your life, when it comes to your money, an understanding of how money REALLY works and what is possible might motivate you to get busy defining a budget and setting monetary and financial goals. To that end, join us on ONE of 4 seminars being offered live or via webinar this month.

The traditional financial planning model no longer exists. Join us in person or via webinar for one of FOUR dates and times to learn how we can combine what you are already doing with the latest economic analysis and strategies to produce more funds for your retirement.

Click the link to register

Expanding Services to Companies

Companies who offer retirement plans to their employees must provide “financial education” to comply with federal ERISA regulations. The “standard” in most companies is to have an annual meeting at which the 401K provider tells employees what they think will happen in the market over the next six months.

However, there are a number of very important issues you need to know about.  Knowing “why” you should invest in a 401K and how much you should contribute is vital information.  Knowing about other financial assets and what is a “safe” asset versus an asset “at risk” are questions that we will also address when Epiphany Financial (aligned with Shelby WhitesidePersonal Economics Group) rolls out our “Corporate Services” division in 2015.

To better position ourselves to serve the corporate community, Epiphany Financial has hired a full-time “Client Relations Manager, “Shelby Whiteside.

Shelby will graduate in 2016 with a Masters in Marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas and has a Bachelor in Psychology from the University of North Texas. The emphasis of her current course load is in “Professional Sales and Business Development” therefore joining the Epiphany Financial team is a perfect opportunity to understand what and how to motivate people to discuss THE most private topic – their money.

Looking forward to new ventures in the New Year!

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469.682.8280  www.financialepiphany.com

From Life Insurance to Managed Money, LEARN how money REALLY works!

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As Much As I Can Get

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“Middle class falls short on retirement funds” was the title of an article in Reuters recently. Because I work with “average” families every day in my business, mostly small business owners, I know that the advice people get is not advice at all but opinions and a hope and a prayer.

I was a client of these advisors for about 15 years until I couldn’t stand my own ignorance anymore and I started educating myself.  As such, I never ask the question which all advisors, regardless of firm, asked me, “How much do you think you will need in the future?”

How am I supposed to know how much I will need?! Isn’t that why I am coming to you Mr. Advisor?!

Unfortunately, as the article points out, what the average American thinks she will need is far too little.

Thus, the only correct answer that should come from your mouth when you are asked, “How much do you think you will need in the future?” is “As much as I can get!”

If that sounds greedy or selfish then I submit that to speak differently is true selfishness because if God chooses to bless you with the ability to earn an income, then you have the responsibility to use His talents to earn more. (Read Matthew 25)

The article goes on to explain that most people will not have enough in retirement because they “have their heads in the sand in the face of obvious savings deficits.” How is it that we judge others for their ignorance, their lack of education, when we do not seek knowledge for ourselves? If you will not take the time to educate yourself about your money, who will? 

The writer points out that while individuals recognize the need to get educated, they are not willing to pay for advice. Does that mean people won’t take the time to buy books and read? Or does that mean people are not willing to give money to someone they barely know so that person can tell them information they barely understand?

I agree. Why would you pay someone for advice that you are not even sure is going to work? What sort of guarantees can the advisor offer? Any?! 

Don’t pay someone to advise you. If the advisor is worth his or her salt, she will offer you a strategy that you can understand and you will implement. It is from the products within the strategy from which she will get paid. We all make a commission. Some of us charge you for our time because it gives the illusion that we are important but the truth is, if I am teaching you to operate in a capitalist society, then I should behave like a capitalist and capitalists do not get paid until we add value.

Oh, wait a minute…. we are still operating in a capitalist society, aren’t we?

The article points out the majority of people expect someone else to help them. They expect the government to help via social security benefits and other tax payer funded welfare programs and they expect their current employers to educate them about how to manage their money.

What’s wrong with us?! Have we strayed so far down the socialist path that we have forgotten that NO one is guaranteed anything? NO one is entitled to anything. What’s wrong with working hard for your money and saving it?

People, wake up. You HAVE to invest TIME into your own education. You have to READ! Turn the TV off and start reading. If you don’t know what books to start with, click on my resources tab and choose from a great list.

Finally, please know that the millionaires of this country are NOT the most “intelligent.” Having true wealth is not that complicated but, alas, those of us in the financial services industry have worked so hard to impress you with our credentials and all the “big” clients we serve, that we have left you feeling like maybe wealth is for someone else. But I say, why not you?

Families of sustainable wealth start because someone at some time decided to do things differently. Why not you?

To your success,

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Does your financial plan maximize what you have today without undermining your tomorrow? Are you willing to learn about processes and systems rather than products and quick fixes? I am here to help guide and instruct you, no matter what level you’re at.

It’s Freedom Time!

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In my last post, It Takes Work I told you how imperative it is that you never stop learning. I even gave you some homework, asking you to begin educating yourselves through reading and research. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the reading resources on my website. Kudos to those of you who took an interest and made a giant step in the journey towards your own financial epiphany. For those of you who didn’t, I ask, without condemnation or judgment, “why not?”

What is the real reason you didn’t push yourself to expand your economic knowledge base? What kept you from taking a few moments out of the day to learn something new? Why would you not want to educate yourself on the belief systems that guide you? After all, it is YOUR money and YOUR present and future security we are talking about. Isn’t that worthy of your time?

FACT: You burn more calories reading a book than watching TV. Who doesn’t want to burn more calories, let alone exercise the muscle that is your brain? Wisdom requires action, and often times those actions counter one’s fleshly desires.

If you are not seeking insight/knowledge into your money, and I don’t mean reading “investment books,” I am talking about how to FRAME YOUR MIND AROUND THE TOPIC OF DOLLARS AND CENTS and the realities and challenges we face as hard working citizens, who is going to do it for you?

In his book ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON, Henry Hazlitt tells us that

“economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man because the inherent difficulties of the subject…are multiplied a thousand-fold by…the special pleading of selfish interests. While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also…interests antagonistic to those of all other groups.”  (p.15)

Since the rise of the welfare state as initiated by FDR and Keynesian philosophy, we have been brainwashed into thinking that we can spend our way to success. We believe LIFESTYLE is wealth when most people would NOT be able to maintain their lifestyle at the same level for more than a month or two if someone lost their job and most people certainly will not be able to maintain their lifestyle if and when they ever seek “retirement.” 

Therefore, I beseech you, start to question that which you hold as “truth” – challenge what you already believe, and never stop!

The truth is not as scary as most people think. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and walking into the unknown is quite exhilarating once you get past the fear of it. But heed my advice, arm yourself with wisdom. Proverbs 4:6 tells us to not forsake wisdom and she will protect us, love her and she will watch over us.

Listen, clinging onto false realities and beliefs does not serve you or anyone else. Turning a blind eye only keeps you confined to what you have now, blocking the way to your best life possible. Jesus told his disciples that the truth would set them free. Imagine that for a moment - what does freedom mean to you? Whether it is personal, financial or anything in between, my wish for you is to experience the jubilation of true freedom. Keep reading. Keep pursuing knowledge. Keep growing.

To your success,

EF - Signature

Does your financial plan maximize what you have today without undermining your tomorrow? Are you willing to learn about processes and systems rather than products and quick fixes? I am here to help guide and instruct you, no matter what level you’re at.

Forget Thin. I Want To Be Hot!

Have you ever checked out peoples’ butts? I mean, just sat there and watched as people walked by and checked them out; all the saggy EF - Forget Thinbutts, the skin tight jeans over non-existent butts, the designer jeans reshaping the overly round butts, and every once and a great while you see a really nice ass. It’s rare isn’t it?

Heck, everyone has some semblance of flesh on their backside. But for 60% of the population their butt is more bulbous than bodacious. The minority that might be considered “thin” simply have no butt of noticeable significance.

A truly nice ass; a butt worth admiring; a butt I would want – now that is rare.

Personally, I don’t accept just average. I don’t want to just be “thin.” While thin is nice, and I am glad the Lord continues to bless me with a body that has not expanded too far and wide, I simply do not want to be just thin – I want to be HOT!

Don’t you? If you could achieve HOT by changing a few things in your daily routine, maybe not even too much, and yet attain the status of HOT, wouldn’t you want to know those few necessary things? Of course, if I told you that your HOT status may not come within a few months but it may even take a year or two, wouldn’t it still be worth it if, again, I did not impact your overall lifestyle in too dramatic of a fashion?

I can. I know how to guarantee you will be HOT!

But, alas, I am not a personal fitness coach. I am a personal wealth coach and if you are okay with having “enough,” if you are fine with doing “okay,” then I am not the trainer for you.

However, if you want to be HOT when it comes to having your money work for you, I can get you beyond “enough” and “okay” and I can help you get MORE!

Heck, who wants to be just thin when you can be HOT!

To your success,

EF - Signature

Does your financial plan maximize what you have today without undermining your tomorrow? Are you willing to learn about processes and systems rather than products and quick fixes? I am here to help guide and instruct you, no matter what level you’re at.

Client Spotlight: Lorie Burch

Lorie Burch, Wills & Trust Attorney, The Law office of Lorie. L. Burch, PC.

www.burch-law.com / lorie@burch-law.com / 972-385-0558

 If you interact with April Client SpotlightLorie Burch for very long, you will hear her exclaim, “If you do not have a will….” and in a loud, enthusiastic voice you will respond in unison with those around you, “….then the State of Texas has one for you!”

 While a newcomer to the scene will chuckle upon hearing the robust response of the crowd, and she will immediately acknowledge even the severity of this truth, almost 70% of US citizens do not have a will. When I asked Lorie why people abdicate their responsibility to care for those around them, she stated people do not have this vital legal document due to: (1) procrastination, (2) no understanding of how the law really works, and (3) cost.

 While no one can help someone who won’t help themselves, lack of understanding can be overcome and cost is relative. In both cases, Lorie has been an exceptional and patient teacher for me and my family and, ultimately, the cost paled in comparison to the education and peace of mind we now have as a family.

 2013-10-27 LorieBurchLorie is passionate about her legal practice because she deals with subject matter and life events that are the most difficult for people  to confront. As such, when the inevitable occurs, those who have relied on a loved one who has passed away not only know what this person would have wanted to occur, but they have the power to do something about it. Lorie told me, “Creating a will has very little to do with what you have. It is about making this difficult time as easy for your loved ones as possible by letting them know your wishes and empowering them to carry those wishes out.”

 When Lorie is not helping clients create legal peace of mind, she is busy pouring her heart and soul into women all around the country as the current National President of the oldest personal and professional development organization for working women, the American Business Women’s Association – ABWA. While she has officially been a member for nine years, Lorie grew up in ABWA because her mother is a long time member. When I asked Lorie what it is about ABWA that is so special she stated:

 “From my earliest days all I knew is that I wanted to make a difference and change the world. The path God has put me on is not only what I do for a living but it is to support and promote the women of ABWA. I am passionate about helping ABWA because they have helped me be a more complete person. My biggest passion is advocacy – specifically equal rights for the LGBT community and I advocate on a local and national level. It is in ABWA that these two passions come to life as I was completely accepted, supported, promoted and even celebrated for all aspects of who I am- ABWA allowed me to be me. As such, I want to help change hearts and minds so that each person can live to their full potential which means living comfortably and productively in their own skin. This is what ABWA did for me!”

 To learn more about ABWA, feel free to contact Lorie directly at lorie@burch-law.com. Oh, and if you do contact her, get ready to have the phone answered by the most absolutely divine Senior Paralegal, Matthew. J

My Story

EF Web – My StoryMy mother raised myself and my two older brothers just east of LA. My father lived just outside Chicago and when I was nine, he remarried. Soon after, he and his wife gave birth to my sister. My childhood was bittersweet. On one hand, I grew up in the "broken side" of the human condition. Alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse and the "latch-key" realities were part of my formative years. On the flip side of that, at a very young age I understood that I had God-given gifts of intellect, insight and discernment beyond my years. In 1st grade tests confirmed that my IQ was well above 145 and I was sent to a special school for the "Mentally Gifted."

Although I had no formal religious or spiritual training, I knew there was someone bigger than me out there, someone who had a plan for my life. It was in this belief that I found the strength to rise above a less than ideal home environment. I also knew that a big part of that plan had to do with excellence in education. I studied and worked my tail-end off throughout high school. The payoff was well 1988gradcruiseworth it, being offered scholarships from USC, Yale and Stanford. I ended up accepting Stanford because they gave me a full-ride. I graduated in ’92 with a 3.85GPA Bachelor’s in History with a focus on the economics of education, specifically as it relates to women and people of color. Because Stanford wanted me to continue my studies with them, they offered me another full-ride to attend the "Stanford Teacher Education Program." While carrying a full course load I taught high school World and US History, coached JV Volleyball and was able to earn my Master’s in Education with a 3.95GPA.

Upon graduation, I was eager to earn money. I was determined to never again live the subsistence-level lifestyle in which I had grown up. From 1993 to 2007 my career-path took me in several different directions (both figuratively and literally). There were multiple cross-country moves, and my positions spanned from Director-level, to working directly with university presidents and finally in partnering with corporate executive teams. However, my purpose was the same in each of these positions – to design sustainable systems and processes to maximize the efficiencies of an organization’s finite human capital. My career life wasn’t the only thing going in different directions during this time, in my personal life I had married, given birth to my son and then divorced. Those fourteen years were somewhat of a whirlwind, but just like Dorothy, that twister dropped me down just where I needed to be.

By 2007 I was on a mission. I wanted to find the means to ensure every dollar I accumulated had the potential for a return. While I had paid several financial advisors over the course of my working years, it was clear to me that they were "product" oriented and not "process oriented." These traditional financial professionals had ideas about how to climb the mountain ("How much money will I need?") but they had no clear vision or strategy for getting me down the mountain ("How will my accumulated money provide a guaranteed income when my body no longer can and/or I choose not to produce the income myself?")

It was during this time that I was introduced to Personal Economics Group. When I met the advisors at PEG, they spoke about the importance of "accumulation" AND the reality of "distribution." What was even more exciting was their emphasis on the Private Reserve Strategy which systematically structures cash flow such that one earns guaranteed, protected growth on the money they spend.

I finally found my "home"! The whole process not only felt right, the economic truths could not be denied and I knew I was on the right path. After a year of referring clients to PEG, I realized I could take the same skills I had applied when I was working with professional organizations, and use them to help individuals better leverage the finite resources within their personal economy so that they have more financial security and flexibility... guaranteed!

DSC_3765So, now you know my story. And the transparency I talked about in the beginning... I am not motivated by money (believe it or not) I am motivated by making a difference in the life of another. THIS is my "selfish" motivation – I want to "matter" to someone else. I want others to say, "I am so glad Kasandra shared her knowledge and took the time to teach me. Knowing her has made me a better version of myself.” I’m not sure if that sounds worse than wanting money but, alas, that is my reason for doing what I do.

P.S. I am now blessed to be married to a man who expanded my immediate family to three teenage boys. I am a far cry from the 1000sf stucco home of my youth, living in a beautiful, gated golf community and enjoying all the luxuries that hard work, discipline and an honest living brings. My desire is to live my life as a testimony to others when your heart, thoughts and actions are rooted in Faith, Family and Community, good will always prevail.

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Kasandra Vitacca tells How to Become a Client

Patrick:  Welcome back to the Business Spotlight. My guest today is Kasandra Vitacca. She is a personal wealth coach that has been helping me for a number of years, and I wanted her to come and tell her story and maybe help persuade some of you guys to become longer-term thinkers about your own personal financial management and long-term wealth for your children and maybe even their children. Kasandra, thanks again for this show. I want to talk this time a little bit about how someone actually becomes a client. You started last time. You told them that you go through a training process. What are you really doing? Are you training or retraining? Kasandra:  Both. People don’t like the word “ignorance,” but the reality is it just means you do not know. People aren’t stupid. There might be a few, but most of the people… Patrick:  Hey, I only took a little while to come on board, right? Kasandra:  But the reality is they’re just ignorant. People don’t know. Yes, there’s part of it we just have to train. But a lot times what people think they know is not true. That’s where there’s the retraining. And that is where some people actually fall off because they really can’t take it in. They’re not ready. I have been doing this now with personal individual clients about five years now, and a lot of folks in the beginning when I first started talking to them, it took them maybe a year or two to come back but they have come back.  They’re not ready.  So You asked me about the process and someone coming on board. I say to folks I don’t charge for my time to sit here and learn from me. This is my missionary point. Please don’t waste my time. They’re going to learn a lot. We are going to structure a whole heck of a lot for them. Be honest with me along the way. If really do not ever want to do business with me, tell me. Will it hurt my feelings? Probably. A little bit. I might cry a little bit, but I will get over it. Actually, I will be real clear. Sometimes people do not want to work with me personally but I have other colleagues that have completely different personalities. Boys, girls, different colors, different ages. What do you want, honestly? Get the information. It is really important. Patrick:  That’s is one of the things when someone comes on board, like when we started working with you, it was the education that was so important – the change in the mindset. I believe marketing is everything and everything is marketing. But even beyond that, if that is the case, then everything that we have ever seen on TV or anything else has been somebody programming me. Now you come along and say, “It does not work real good long term.” Kasandra:  Yeah. Patrick:  When you bring somebody on board and they start engaging with you, about how long do you think it takes before the things that they are doing with you actually begin to produce results in their lives? Kasandra:  Honest to God – and this is probably going to freak people out, and this was my experience too – it takes probably about a year before people have that real epiphany. They have epiphanies; otherwise they would not have become a client. There are light bulbs of moments of realization when they go, “I need some more help.” They hear what I’m saying and they look at the numbers and they understand the process and they understand the strategy and they come on board and become a client. But inevitably, I have to sit down with clients three months, six months, nine months, a year and go over some of the same stuff and look at the numbers again. Sometimes they’re snapping to it the three month mark. Most people are snapping to kind of about that nine to twelve month mark where they go, “Oh! I really get it now!” That’s partly because they don’t know how to teach it, so they feel like they do not know it. They hold themselves accountable because they do not know what to tell their friends. What happens is I do not start getting referrals from my clients till about a year in because they do not know how to say anything to anybody. That’s why it takes a year for them to feel like “I can say something now.” Patrick:  It’s a little bit like eating right or working out. They haven’t come out with one pill herbal liposuction yet. Kasandra:  I am up for that! Patrick:  The issue is that once somebody begins to work with you and they begin to learn the process, then they begin to see the results. Kasandra:  Yes. Patrick:  What happens after that? How long do you think it takes before somebody actually begins to start changing a lot of things in their career and the way they spend money? Kasandra:  I’m thinking of clients right now and going through the client list. It takes us six to ten hours to map. We are mapping out a strategy. We’re having serious conversations about, “Can you do this?” Patrick:  So you are actually giving somebody a financial plan that is a life plan with money. Is that what I am hearing? Kasandra:  Oh, yeah. And they are making decisions around it. I’m real generous to people. Let’s put it this way: I always map out the most brilliant – absolutely will be a multi-millionaire – plan. It is brilliant. It is perfect if they do it just like I say it. No one ever does it just like I say. They never do. People do make adjustments. As soon as they have become a client, they’re making adjustments. But it is like working out. You’re running on the treadmill. Maybe you can only go a mile, but soon, you look up and you are running a half marathon? How long does that take? How much time are you putting in? This really is akin to being healthy. I am a fitness professional for finances. I can show you how to use the stuff. I can show you what to do and when. But I can’t make you do any of it. Patrick:  I totally get it. I’ve seen you do this for a number of people and the thing that’s really neat is that you started as a client and you continued as a client with the company that you work with. You’re a user and somebody that can teach others. The coolest part about that is you actually have what I’ll call the mantle of authority to really share about how you change other’s lives. I will tell you, folks, Kasandra has been a blessing to me and my family for a number of years now. Connect with her. Get with her. Go to Epiphany Financial. Connect with her online, but the phone is probably the best way. This is the Business Spotlight. We’ll talk to you next time.

“Financial Reckoning Day Fallout” Excerpts

"Financial Reckoning Day Fallout" tells us how to survive today's global depression and it does so by helping us understand that the "enemy" is us...how we think...what we believe.  We have embraced lies when the truth is available....but the change starts with you - individual you. Join me on Facebook at "Epiphany Financial" to dialogue about the book. "Cogito, ergo sum” (I think therefore I am), wrote France’s most famous philosopher, Rene Descartes. The proposition was self-evidently absurd….Descartes’ self-centered assertion is an invitation to trouble, for it flatters our self-confidence and lures us to destruction. (p.34) Information out of context is useless. (p.36) Today the Internet, though ultimately just a means of communication, delivers an almost infinite number of facts and fictions. The tough part – the “Intelligence” work – is sorting them out. (p.37) As processing information takes time and effort, the more of it you have to deal with, the more likely you are to seek shortcuts. Popular interpretations offer a substitute for careful reflection or observation. In other words, instead of actually figuring things out for themselves, people become more susceptible to collective thinking. Public thinking replaces individual thinking – simply because there is too much information to process. (p.49) Never before was it possible for so many people to share so many bad ideas all at once. Thanks to progress in communications, men and women were drawn to group thinking like moths to a flame. Soon, they were talking all sorts of nonsense and making their own lives miserable with wars and upheavals that contributed nothing to their well-being other than being a distraction from their personal problems. (p.60) Groupthink is popular because it is easier than private thinking and the stakes are lower. A man’s public attitudes are buttressed by others, held up by the media, and reinforced by constant repetition. His private thoughts, on the other hand, are fragile, lonely, and often desolate. He cannot even get his own children to clean up their rooms or his wife to agree to his family budget; who can blame him for wanting to tell other what to do? (p.154) The madness of crowds has two important features.  First, crowds can only know things in their crudest, most dumbed-down form. Since the truth is infinitely complex, it follows that what a crowd thinks is almost always reduced to a point where it is more lie than truth. Second, though the same emotions beset individuals as well as crowds, a man on his own rarely causes much trouble. He is restrained by family, friends, and the physical circumstances. A crowd, on the other hand, so magnifies his emotions and so corrupts his ideas that son the whole society is on its way to hell. (p.276) The majority thought it was entitled to a retirement it had not earned, government programs it did not want to pay for, and a lifestyle it could not afford. The United States’ majority expected its leaders to “do something” to make sure they got what they expected, instead of what they had coming. (p.277) …the boomers were subject to the madness of crowds on a monumental scale. The boomers adopted every idea that appealed to them and dumbed it down…broadcast it…vulgarized it….(p.331) Yet for the first time in U.S. economic history, the boomer generation was unable to live up to the living standards of its parents – let alone surpass them. In the 1980s, the boomers were turning middle-aged, and they should have been saving for retirement. Instead, they increasingly ran up debts. (p.333) The nature of the economy had gradually been switching to focus from production to consumption over the lifetime of the boomer generation. By the end of the 1990s, the trend had become grotesque, with 4.8 new dollars worth of credit and debt for every extra dollar’s worth of gross domestic product (GDP), 1997 to 2001….Americans confused capital gains with capital accumulation. (p.335) The more seriously they believed that buy and hold really worked, the more certain they are were to lose money. (p.343)

A Working Mom’s Tribute to Stay Home Moms

Today I gained an understanding and appreciation for the stay home mom in a way I heretofore had no perspective. I was ignorant. Although I had plenty of time to get ready for my first appointment, I found myself rushing to get out the door on time because so much of what occurs in my life happens at the hands of my mother.  For all intents and purposes, I have a “wife.” I moved my mother into my home in 2007 when I traveled domestically and internationally about three weeks in every month and I wanted to ensure my then 8 year old son had proper care. Thus, after awakening to an empty house given my son is off to spend three weeks with his father in another city and my mother has elected to visit a sick cousin for a while, I found myself rushing. As I attempted to leave for my first appointment my fifteen and a-half year old lab mix who can barely hear or see anymore began to get sick and while I rushed her outside before the majority of her illness hit my floor, I had some cleaning up to do. At the same time, my sister’s cat has lived with us for a month while Kelly has been on a major project out of town and the feline got sick as well. If my mother had been here I could have left without worry but for the first time in quite a while, I had to manage ALL the affairs of my household……and finally the reality of a stay home mom’s contribution became glaringly real. I have worked all my life and I must admit, I held a bit of disdain for women who did not “earn” a living. While some part of me envied the “life of luxury” that I believed these women enjoyed because they did not have to fight in the “real” world of fickle personalities and petty, insecure minds, not to mention they had someone to take care of them and I had no one; my real “issue” with stay home moms was I did not see the economic value in what they provided a family. If you did not earn money, if you did not get paid cash, how do you quantify value? In fact, is there value outside of the lip service we pay to positions we state with are words are valued (teachers for example) but because we don’t pay them that much, we have essentially shown what we truly value. Furthermore, because I have spent most of my career working with men, I mainly hear my male colleagues complain about how much money their wives spend or how annoying it is that their wives complain about his lack of financial wherewithal, and, as such, I understood the “pressure” men feel to have a fat wallet. Couple the aforementioned with the fact that we live in a consumeristic society with a “Keep up with the Kardashians” mindset and, alas, how could I respect a stay home wife?  I watch many women spend more money and time at the spa getting their nails and hair done than cleaning her home and cooking nutritious meals for her family….after all, so these women tell me, they have maids and restaurants for those needs. But that is not the average mom who stays at home. In fact, that is a gross exaggeration that makes for yet another popular TV “reality” show when it is so far from the truth. Most stay home moms are what “The Invisible Mother” reveals. A story of what God intends for his people – a life of abundance overflowing with love! Fortunately, the good Lord does not suffer His people to be ignorant for too long and, today, I now know why families are blessed when they have arranged their lifestyle so that at least one parent can stay home. Moms, we could not do our jobs without you doing yours - Thank you! You are a BLESSING! The Invisible Mother It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'   Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??   Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'   Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'   I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!   One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'   In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.   A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'   I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.   No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.   I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.   When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'   As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.   Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.   The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.   To all the wonderful mothers out there!! God bless and keep you.