Tag Archives: economy

Never a Break

Never a Break

There is never a break when you own your own business.  Never.  Ever.  Well, seldom.

In a morning networking meeting, it was commented that the U.S.A. has a growing 2-tier economy.  Meaning, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Unfortunately, that divides the middle class too.   As the middle class disappears, they either get rich or poor.  Hence, there is never a break for the self-employed.

After my morning networking meeting, it was home for a short period of time, and then off to the doctor’s office.  (Another self-employed individual.)  That was actually a break from everything else.  And, from the doctor’s office, it was off to see a couple of other business owners about some business related matters.

So, let’s see… me, a small business owner, spent the morning with about 20 other small business owners who are looking for more business.  That was followed by my visit to my doctor, another small business owner.  From there, I went to talk to two other small business owners about various business matters.

The missionaries were unavailable on Sunday, so we invited them to come to dinner tonight.  This was the first time for both of them.  I baked a ham, some mac-n-cheese and green bean casserole.  A perfect meal for a day in the teens.

After dinner, I e-mailed some small business owners about business matters.

Yes, my day was spent dealing with my business, which supports other small business owners.  A hundred years ago the farmer was said to be the backbone of America.  Well, today, it is the small business owner.

So, the next time you step in to one of those national chains, ask yourself, “Can I get what I need from someone local?”

Chances are, you can.

Here are some links to find some local small businesses in the Palmyra & Rochester areas:

http://rocreferralnetwork.com/

and

http://tricountynetworkers.com

I personally know each owner of the businesses listed at these two sites.  If you have questions, or would like me to refer you to them for business, let me know.

D. Brent Walton and his wife, Elizabethe, own and operate the Beckwith Mansion (www.beckwithmansion.com), a tourist home, in Palmyra, New York.  Brent is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and owner of photography by db walton llc. (www.dbwalton.com)

Finishing Spring Cleaning

I think I’ve got my spring cleaning done.  The studio floor painting is done.  I’ve moved a lot of clutter out of the studio.  (I might be moving some more stuff out.  Take that back… I will be moving more stuff out.)  The studio feels more inviting now.

I’ve got a viewing screen on the wall where I can now let client’s see what the unprocessed pictures look like immediately after the session.  My plan is to move one of the bistro tables to that corner with a couple of chairs.

This morning’s Tri-County Networkers meeting had a presentation about the new health care law.  By the end of the presentation, I do not know a if a single person was pleased about what we learned.  At one point, I thought I read that the most someone will be fined is $695/year if they refuse to go with Obama-care.  That’s not the case.  It can be more than 9.5% of your annual income.  So, if you make $50,000/year, that’s $4,750/year.

There were other surprises… like a 6 month waiting period to make sure you don’t have pre-existing conditions if you change jobs.  If you cut employee’s hours, they will take the hours and add them all up, divide by 40/hours per week.  (In other words, that’s not a loophole, which sounds good, but the fees and taxes being placed on businesses is very scary.  Big businesses might be able to afford it, but mom-and-pop shops… they may not survive this.)

It sounds like the real winners in this law are huge businesses with huge group policies and people on welfare.  On the other hand, it sounds like the real losers in this law are the small businesses, sole-proprietors, people who may lose their job/coverage and have a chronic illness, and anyone who makes enough that they don’t qualify for welfare.

These are troubled times.

The Formula to Save the Economy

Today in Sunday School, we were going over Alma Chapter 36.  For those who are not Latter-day Saints, this chapter is a dad’s talk to his son.  The dad talks about the mistakes of his past and what turned him around.

I got thinking about a recurring theme in this chapter, and throughout the book.  It is this:

If you keep the commandments you shall prosper in the land.

It is the blessing God gave to the Promise Land (the Americas).  If we keep the commandments we will prosper in the land.  It is a blessing with a promise.  Equally, we see a warning that if we do not keep the commandments, we will be cut off.  (Cut off from the presence of God and his revelations.)

Throughout the Book of Mormon, we see a repeated pattern.  The righteous people prosper, the wicked ones do not.  Then, after the righteous ones get a prideful, they start becoming wicked by allowing little things to creep in to their society.  Little things like the way the Zoramites began to pray for recognition of men.  Or, the way the people in Jacob’s time treated their women and children.  Once they started this downhill slide, it wasn’t long until their enemies took them over.

We as a nation could learn so much from the Book of Mormon.  But, I know that’s not going to happen on a large scale.  There are too many blind people who cannot see what is happening.

It works like this…

If I tell you it is wrong to do something, and you ask, “Says who?”

I say, “God says.”

You say, “I don’t believe in God.”

Does that change anything?  For me, no.  I believe in God, and that all men are accountable to Him.

For the unbelieving there is no moral basis for anything.  You might as well question the laws of the land.   What basis do those laws have if you don’t believe in God?

We need to get back to our moral roots.  We don’t commit murder, because God said, “Thou shalt not kill.”  We don’t take what doesn’t belong to us, because God said, “Thou shalt not still.”  There eight other commandments given to Moses, most of them have been pushed by the wayside because people do not want to associate God with our society.  However, you simply cannot deny the existence of God and think such things will go away.

Every blessing we receive from God is a result of obedience to his commandments.  Knowingly or unknowingly, that’s the way it works.    The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can make changes to receive more blessings.

The Book of Mormon has the formula for saving the economy.  ” If ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.”  Do we as a people have the courage to turn things around?  Or, do we continue to let evil circles dominate public opinion and entertainment?

Read the book if you want to find out what happens in the end.  (To request a free copy, go to http://mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon )

D. Brent Walton lives in Palmyra, New York.  Brent and his wife run the Beckwith Mansion (http://www.beckwithmansion.com) and Brent is a full-time professional photographer (http://www.dbwalton.com and http://www.FineArtbyDB.com).

Three Types

It appears the world is cleared of another dictator.  Sad as it might be for one of God’s children to lose their life, the world is better off without people who have chosen evil.  Muammar el-Qaddafi, Sadam Huissan, Osama Bin Laden, are just a few we’ve seen removed from power in a short period of time.  The world is changing.

On a closer, more personal note, have you ever noticed we are surrounded by three types of people?

Type 1 – They stay in contact because they love you. (Unconditionally.)

Type 2 – They only contact you when they want something.

Type 3 – They only contact you when they want to criticize or abuse you.

I think we all (personally) want to be Type 1s.  And, I think we should ask ourselves, are we Type 1s?

A Type 1 writes a letter to bring someone up-to-date on their life, and tell the recipient they are loved.  They send e-mails saying, “You’re awesome.”  They pick up the phone, call you, and ask, “How are you doing?”, and are really interested in the answer.

I think our Savior, Jesus Christ, was a Type 1.   I’ve personally known Type 1 people and they are nice to be around.  When they talk to you, they enjoy what you have to say.  If you are down, they show empathy.  If you are up, they share in your joy.  They love people for who they are.

Type 2 people like you for what you can give them.  Whether it is money, entertainment, gifts, time, work, or anything else that is measurable, they like you because you can provide them with what they want.  They may, or may not, reciprocate your generosity.

Type 3 people  suffer from some serious emotional problems.  Perhaps they were seldom complemented them as a child, or they were seriously abused.  And, in rare cases, they may have just abandoned common decency and chose evil over good.

Now, bringing this back to where I started today…

I don’t think dictators become dictators by being Type 3 people.  Type 3 people are not fun to be around.  You are either walking on egg-shells around them in fear you will set them off, or you are on the defensive the whole time.

I don’t think Type 1 people have it in their nature to turn in to dictators.  I’m not saying it is impossible; it is just not plausible.

So, that leaves Type 2 people.  Selfishness ran its course, and now that they have the power they want, they turn in to a Type 3.  That’s my theory.

Now, let’s personalize this…

What type of person do you want to be?

Canned Meatloaf

On the way home from work we stopped at Wegman’s.  (By the way, Wegman’s is one of the best grocery stores you will find anywhere.  One of our missionaries recently described it as the Disneyland of grocery stores.)  They had ground beef on sale so Elizabethe and I decided we were going to can meatloaf.

To make sure the meat got cooked all the way through, we stuffed it in to quart jars, and then baked them on a cookie sheet.  (The jars were left open while baking.)  After baking for about 1 hour, I pour the fat off, and we replaced the fat with catsup.  Lids and rings went on the jars, and then into the pressure canner they went.

Neither one of us had ever done this, and we have no idea how they will turn out.  It will be interesting.

Speaking of food storage, I really hate the fear-monging media.  About a week ago, panic was created around peanut butter.  People were rushing to the store to purchase peanut butter in fear the price would go sky-high.  They were emptying shelves and acting like idiots.

Today, peanut butter was $1.29 for an 18 oz. jar.  There was plenty on the shelves.

Here’s a little lesson in economics…

1) Store and save for a rainy day.  (By this I mean, put food in your pantry, and money in savings for a time when either might be scarce.)

2)  Never panic purchase – you’ll spend too much.

3)  If the price goes up, don’t buy it.  If we ALL do this, it will force the price back down.  It’s call supply and demand.

4)  Waste not; want not.  Utilize everything if you can.  If you cannot, find someone who can.

It wasn’t long ago when bacon grease, or the fat trimmed from a side of beef, was cooked down, skimmed, and mixed with ashes from the fireplace to make soap.  Yes, that bar of soap that cleans your body is a combination of fat (tallow) and ashes (sodium hydroxide).

We seem to have gotten away from the  frugal nature of our grandparents.  I believe they had skills that helped them survive the great depression and two world wars.  I think they knew skills we should know today.

So, if it seems strange that we canned meatloaf, imaging no refrigeration (because we have no electricity) and you just shot a deer.  How are you going to preserve all that meat?

P.S.  Don’t get me started on the wastefulness of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

You Can’t Call This Snowing

I’ve noticed the media is making a huge deal about the “snow” here in the east.  I’m not saying there is no snow on the east coast, but the media really blows things out of proportions.  What a shame.  It really does everyone an injustice.

It’s like when Elizabethe and I came to Buffalo in October 2006.  We had a layover at LAX.  The TV kept showing the same house with snow up to the rain gutters.  I commented to Elizabethe that each shot was of the same house, and in some cases, the same shot too.

As we flew in to Buffalo that afternoon, I was watching out the window as we approached the airport.  You couldn’t see any snow at all on the ground under the approach path except at the corners of parking lots where the snow plows had plowed it.

Did it snow that day?

Yes.

Was it really bad like the news made it sound?

No.

Were people without power as a result of the storm?

Yes.  But then, people have been without power for many other reasons too.  The fact of the matter is, the storm was early in the season and caught people off guard.  Had it been the same storm in December, January, February or March, people wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

Today’s blowing around of flakes all day long hardly constitutes a snow.  In fact, none of it even started to appear on the sidewalks until after the sun went down.  Even then, the snow was just a dusting.

Around 9:30pm as I left the Palmyra Temple, the snow was starting to stick.  But still, we are not talking anything more than a light dusting. 

All this said, if it keeps this up all night, we should have some accumulation by morning.

The Dahneke’s grandson went through the temple tonight.  It was really neat to see them there with their son and his family and his grandson.  Bart had the look of a proud grandpa.  I was really happy for him.  Brother and Sister Dahneke just shined with joy.

I ran to WalMart on my lunch break to pick up groceries for the week.  I ran in to Tom Chapman and his wife.  It seems I’m always running in to them at WalMart.  But, this is a small town and chances are, you’ll always see someone you know no matter where you go.

Speaking of small towns, I think that is what makes the quality of life better in a small town.  In a small town, kids are less likely to get in trouble because everyone knows their parents.  In a small town, people are more likely to treat each other with kindness because of the close proximity to each other.  In a small town, people are more likely to help one another because you are more likely be friends.

Zoning laws in larger communities really have destroyed the quality of life.  That is the main reason I left California.  In California, it is nearly impossible in most communities to walk to the store, doctor’s office and post office.  Zoning has these business placed far away from where you live.  This means, to do most anything, you have to take some form of transportation.    Suburbia, which was once thought to be the ideal setting for family life, has really destroyed the closeness of families and communities.

I spent the first decade of my life spending most of my time at my grandparent’s home.  They had a corner store.  It was just a small house that had been converted into a market.  My grandparents did MOST of their shopping there.  If they didn’t have it, you could let the owner know and they would get it.  It was years before I learned that my grandparents even owned a car.

When I retire, I may not even pull my car out of the garage except to drive the 2 miles to church.  For that, I might even walk to church some of the time.  The exercise you can get in a small town can be incidental to living in a small community.  I can walk to the Village Hall.  I can walk to the park.  I can walk to the barber.  I can walk to the grocery store.  I can walk to my doctor’s office.  I can walk to the post office.  I can walk to the pizza parlour.  I can walk to a couple of sit-down restaurants.  I can walk to several of my friend’s homes.  And, if push comes to shove, WalMart is close enough I could ride my bicycle to WalMart, Lowe’s, or some of the other larger businesses in neighboring villages.

 Now that it has been over a year since the last major election, and the economy continues to slide into the toilet, we can start waking up and realizing that the media is not our friend – whether it be the weather or politics – they are not our friend.  Zoning laws and other government controls are not good for us, our families and communities.   I think it is time we get back to basics.  We should get back to small businesses ran out of homes within walking distances from our front doors and elect politicians who will let us do just that.

Now, I’m going to go to sleep knowing I might have to shovel some snow in the morning.  But, as for today, you really can’t call this snowing.