Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Cost of an Onion

I read something yesterday that affected me profoundly. It was a post originally written in the Forums at Phoenix Rising. I read it at Cort Johnson's blog (the founder of Phoenix Rising). You should follow this link and read it for yourself because it's beautifully written, but essentially, the writer talks about how 31-day months, like October, are extra-hard when you're on disability because it's so difficult to figure out how to feed yourself for an extra day. She writes of wanting to buy a small onion so she could make a stew and not being able to afford it.

Lately, I have been constantly worried about our finances and how to pay our ever-rising medical costs. Ken and I talk about it all the time. In the midst of worrying about our own problems, though, I see now that I have lost my sense of perspective. I may not be able to earn much these days, but Ken has a good-paying job with excellent (though expensive!) health insurance. We live in a very nice home in a great neighborhood. Although I am careful at the grocery store - comparing prices, buying the store brand, using coupons - I have never, ever worried about any of us going hungry. We pretty much eat what we want to eat (I hear Craig opening the fridge again now!). I haven't been seeing the bigger picture. We are very, very fortunate.

Here's a cool website recommended by a CFS friend, Global Rich List. Go to the site, plug in your annual income, and see how your family compares to the rest of the world. It's pretty eye-opening.

So, while we're worried about paying for plane fare to see Ken's parents, Craig's braces, and our increasing health insurance costs next year, there are plenty of other people with CFS worried about how to pay for a single onion. They're not worried about paying for expensive medicines and specialists because they can't afford any medical care. Maybe some of you reading this are in that position.

I need to remember this when I think things are tough and try to keep a sense of perspective, as well as helping other whenever I can.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I need to remember all that we have to be grateful for.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Sue
    I agree with you on this, and plan to read the article after commenting here. I often get upset about money problems and complain outloud...even though I know that we are so blessed to have a nice home in a nice neighborhood and we have the option of using a credit card or getting a loan to pay off medical debt if we have to...and we have a retirement fund.......we have the blessing of being able to eat well even if, like you, we are trying to make food stretch...We lived in the Philippines for 2 yrs and every day people came and dug through our garbage to eat our scraps! We did what we could to help people there, but the poverty was overwhelming...We were called rich Americans and it was an eye opener for us to realize that compared to the rest of the world we are rich.
    When I wrote a newsleter for chronically ill Christians, one member ended up living in a small tent when there was no wood smoke...and in her car at a park in AZ. because her disability had a glich and all of a sudden she had no money..no where to live...nothing but her car. She did this for several weeks getting bronchitis, etc. due to being out in the elements.She was already sick with CFS/ME and MCS....it was an eye opener.
    Thank you for reminding me Sue that I have more than what I need, live in a house that is bigger than what we need, eat well, and have the best doctors available. I am blessed.

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  2. That link on Global Richness is amazing - I really forget how lucky I actually am. Great reminder!

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  3. You said it perfectly, Renee - we are blessed.

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  4. Even more fortunate in the UK to have our wonderful National Health Service. It has its problems but it is available to everyone regardless of their income. We tend to take it for granted over here.

    The welfare state also ensures that I always have food on the table, a roof over my head and a warm house. For that I am profoundly grateful.

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  5. Anonymous12:32 AM

    It was extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

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  6. A good reminder for us, who are doing fairly well on a medium-sized single income while we wait for disability to be approved. We are scrimping and saving and I worry plenty, but the reality is that we are actually very rich. Thank you for the nice reminder.

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  7. Sue, one way you might be able to generate a bit of supplemental income (without hardly any added work) is by creating an Amazon "Associates" account and linking to amazon pages for the books you review in your blogs. I don't know what kind of readership you have but it can be a way to generate a couple hundred bucks a month (not much, but every bit helps I figure). They pay you 4% referral for every item that gets purchased from your link, and it jumps up in percent the more stuff that is bought, topping out around 9% I believe. Just a though.

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  8. Thanks for the tip, David - I'm already on Amazon Associates and include links at the end of every book review on both of my book blogs. I haven't actually made any money that way yet, but I keep hoping!

    Sue

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  9. Sue, I looked at your book blogs but did not see any links to amazon, only good reads and other blogs. If you send me your associate link or ID, I'll start buying stuff through it (I shop A LOT on amazon).

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  10. Hi again, David -

    Thanks so much for offering to use my amazon Associates link! That's awesome.

    Every time I post a review on one of my book blogs, I include an Associates link to the book at the end of the review (you won't see the links on non-review posts).

    For example, here's a great book for people battling chronic illness:
    http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2006/03/healthinspirational-anatomy-of-hope.html

    And, if you're more in the mood for fictional escape and some good laughs, you might like this one:
    http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2010/01/fiction-review-this-is-where-i-leave.html

    And it took me a while to figure out, but I just added an Amazon search box to my CFS blog - in the left column below the rest of the stuff there. If you access amazon from that search box, it will go toward my Associates account.

    Thanks again and happy reading!!

    Sue

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  11. Hmmm. I see a link to amazon at the end of your review of This Is Where I Leave You: http://www.amazon.com/This-Where-I-Leave-You/dp/052595127X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264193842&sr=8-1

    It doesn't look like an associates link though. Maybe that's why you haven't made any money through the program, the links aren't formatted correctly so you're not getting credit for sales??

    There are various ways to format the links, but the easiest is something like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/052595127X/wwwsuzanjacks-20

    Just enter the amazon ASIN (each amazon product page has a unique ASIN), everything else stays the same.

    Hope I am not just making it more confusing!

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