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By Evelyn M. Bingham
SUN COLUMNIST & POET
Financial independence for women, is
a subject dear to my heart. Each woman
must gain, maintain and cherish her
independence, and become savvy in the
management of her money. By manage, I
don’t mean tracking or hand carrying, or
ATMing it from its source, straight to the
beauty parlor, department store, boutique,
restaurant, theatre etc., with perhaps a brief
trip to the supermarket. Take care of your
in-come, for it’s a guarantee that the out-go
will take care of itself!
Money management is knowing the source and amount of your finances, it is having a savings and checking account, understanding bank charges, taxes, about credit and debit cards and their wise use. It is in understanding and knowing the sources of investing and savings funds, and providing for your retirement. There are many companies and individuals available to assist you with your financial planning. Find someone in whom you can trust and have rapport with, and who will teach and guide you through the process and steps of learning, without making you feel totally mindless and inadequate.
Whatever your source of finances, whether you are self employed, in the work force, receive social security, an allowance, allotment or stipend, or are retired, each of us needs the feeling of independence, even though it may not be actualized at the moment. Work on it, because without it, your sense of pride, dignity and self worth is greatly threatened. It is a gravely demoralizing feeling to not have your own! You may have heard the saying from years ago, and it still rings true, “Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless the child that’s got its own”! Many times it is not how much money we have, but how we manage and budget what we do have.
Having and managing your own money, makes you stand a little straighter, move a little more gracefully, feel a little prettier, feel a little happier and speak more confidently. It causes the best that is within you, to want to extend beyond itself. It makes you want to help others to get, maintain and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
A woman who has and who manages her money wisely, commands respect. She is respected by herself, her spouse or significant other, her children and her family and friends, and the world in general. She can be a mentor and model of what a woman of determination can be or attain. She should always be in a learning mode of self education.
Each of us, as women, should take every opportunity available to instruct the young girls and women with whom we are in contract with, that education is the key to a future of financial independence, and the tool to be used in the accomplishment of their dreams!
At life's intersection: Cross with care
By Evangelist Barbara Colbert
“WANTED: CROSSING GUARDS -
Years ago, the Lord inspired me to start an
outreach ministry. However, already working full-
time was a distraction, so I decided to step out on
faith, and focus on accomplishing this task
exclusively. To preserve my mental energy, and
generate at least some minimal income, I took the
crossing guard job. Even though it was well below
my skill set, it offered flexibility and would not
require much time or effort. Little did I know, that
even a job so seemingly trivial, would provide a
plethora of human experience to lay the
groundwork for what I would do for the rest of my
By my third week as a crossing guard, I knew all the children and all the vehicles that frequented my intersection. I had developed a small fan club of bus drivers, police officers, and the former crossing guard who passed my corner daily, shouting out rather risque accolades better left unsaid. As simplistic as a crossing guard’s job may seem, it did have its perks.
The mornings, before the children came, were quiet times used to simply reflect on this unusual juncture in my life. I found the early hours inspiring, as trees bristled in the wind, and the sun made it’s brilliant debut from behind the billowy clouds. My thoughts flowed freely and uninhibited. I confidently planned the course of my endeavors, provoked by the beautiful kaleidoscope of autumn leaves swirling about in the warm autumn breeze, providing an atmosphere of supernatural inspiration.
Then came the business of doing what I had been hired to do; safely leading people from one side of the street to the other and becoming acquainted, one way or another.
First to travel past my corner, were the elementary school children. In a whirlwind of youthful exuberance, they traveled in groups of three or more, like colorful balloons loosed in the wind, racing to my corner, halting just short of my STOP sign. Then, as I lowered the sign off they’d go, carefree, full of joy and innocence, never failing to provoke a wistful tug at my heart.
Next were the junior high pre-teens, who always traveled in pairs, girls with girls, boys with boys. Endlessly chatting away, their gait light and quick, tolerating my crossing commands, as long as I kept my distance.
Periodically, I’d get a high-schooler. Interesting creatures for sure. Generally walking alone and self-absorbed, their body language spoke volumes. They were never candidates to engage in conversation. I knew to give them their space. Reluctantly, yet wisely, I’d leave them be.
Finally, came the seniors. Their gait was much slower, rarely were they in a hurry. My most enjoyable pedestrians. Welcoming my assistance, they were always engaging and never failed to impart into my spirit kind words of wisdom and many times, encouragement.
I came to realize that I had observed life full circle. From the energetic youngster; to the caterpillar-to-butterfly pre-teen; to the self-absorbed teen; and finally, the seasoned senior. I came to learn that in God’s divine scheme of things, His purpose is not only on a grand scale, but a personal one as well. Graciously, my experience as a crossing guard prepared me to cross an intersection in my life that would equip me to minister to people from all walks of life. But more importantly, it taught me to never forget that God’s divine providence can be seen even in the business of something so mundane, as standing on a corner and crossing folks across the street.