Excuse me are you listening? 4-24

Dear Readers,

    I should truly say that I’ve been blessed this year.  I’ve seen many business come and go.  When a store goes out of business that I deliver to, I’m saddened by the loss.  It’s very difficult to help all of the businesses.
   I’d like to say thank you to the people who have been helping me this year with the newspaper.  On the top of my list is the Washington family, my “Southside Angels.”
    If I could attribute my favorite quote to the Washington family:  
“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out; but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”   The quote was written by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
  I call the Washington family my “Southside Angels” because for the last year they’ve been helping me with deliveries on the southside of town. The most incredible twist to it, is that they just do it out of love for me and the newspaper.
  They’re a multiracial family.  We have multirracial conversations.
  We agree. We disagree. We smile. We ponder. Then we know that together we’ll see exactly what the future holds.  We know that regardless, we will still like each other.  
  They are one of my extended  families here in Lansing.  I truly can say that I love them. I know they volunteer doing many other things but they have been the most consistent and caring volunteers that the newspaper has. They do so much and then add, ”Rina, we do this for you because we love you.” My eyes well with tears just to know that especially in times of rising gas prices and rising emotions because of the state of the economy.  They have made me trust in the goodness of human beings.
   They will read this and smile (at least Frank will).  I know that
Jody will get misty.  Samara, she is just an all around hard worker and an honest person (she is also an awesome performer).

For Barter or Worse

   I remember agreeing to barter delivery services with a local church. They were going to help me deliver newspapers as a project. Well, that fell apart quickly. I often think about how some people have failed me over the years.
  I remember spending over three hours at another church, instead of the quick visit I planned. I was supposed to go present  our packet for advertising then leave. But I decided to do a story about the church as well.   This is what happens when you’re out. Since my two youngest children were in daycare, I was able to take the time and write an article.  I don’t get paid to go out and
see people. Our only form of income is advertising.
  So anyway, I’m at the church, I get to see the new this and the new that.  There were even matching hand towels in the bathroom. (What’s the point of this paragraph? It either needs to be expanded or deleted.)
 The pastor tells me that they’re going to advertise. Folks, we’re
talking about $48.00. I work on the article about the church for two more hours, which if I were to divide it up I would have made $5.00 an hour.
   The story was great. I call about running an ad, and … Well, I’m not going to stress about it because this has happened before.
    When I finally get to speak to someone two months later I was told that they had spent too much money on chairs. Yes, chairs. And this meant they were unable to advertise in the newspaper.
  You wouldn’t believe either but this same church continues to ask me to print and come out and cover stories for them. They’re probably  upset with me but I have to consider the bottom line.  It costs to print the paper.
  I’m talking about giving back.  Owning and running a newspaper is a difficult job.  
   However, I’ll continue to defend it and do it to the best of my ability.  I’m willing to listen to anybody and offer advice.  I give  free marketing advice to those who call.  There have been too many times that I’ve been burned, but I keep going.
   I would like to thank my 2005  volunteers and the advertisers.  My heart is often with  them on nights like this one as I type by the light of the moon.  I think about many things.  I think that one day, I’ll have an editor who will work beside me so that I can see my own mistakes.  Then I can hold them responsible for all of the errors that are made.
  Good volunteers are people who do things from their heart, not those who have something up their sleeves.  I would repeat it again but are you really listening?
  I am not perfect by any means.  I speak my own truth in this column.  I do not agree with every single article that’s printed, but I have to be mindful of our readers.
    If you’re reading this column and you read it faithfully, I should be expecting your subscription in the mail.  Our goal for 2006 is at least 250 paid subscriptions.

   2006 should be the year of the ‘fix’.

Here is some advice that may help:
  Be nice to people on your job, so what they are not like you.  So
what you can’t aspire to be a stand up person like they are.  But you know what, that’s not their fault it’s yours.  As we approach the new year try to ‘fix’ yourself.  
     Figure out exactly what makes you happy or happier.  Don’t dwell on how you ‘can’t stand’ some one because they do not think exactly like you do.  It’s so ridiculous.
   Tell husbands or wives who do not get the picture, help out more.  If you think that time is slipping away with your children, look at your spouse.  All right, maybe one spouse faints at the sight of a needle going into an arm of a child.  I give them a pass, sort of.  That parent can still go to parent teacher conference or take all of the children out at one time.  
   Be cognizant of your spouse and the things that they do, even though you both may do the same amount of work, switch up sometimes.
  Get your paperwork in order, especially for burial expenses for
all of your family members.  There are so many options, go see an insurance agent.  My favorite person in town is Staci Lewis.  Call her and make an appointment.  
  Don’t fear living.  Fear what it’s going to be like for your family without protection, like burial or life insurance. If at least five people go ahead and do this, that’s five people who won’t put an enormous burden on their family, friends and churches. Help people ‘fix’ themselves by being responsible for themselves.  You can also contact a funeral home and work out burial policies.  They won’t pay your bills, but it can save or even ‘fix’ fractured family relationships after you’re gone.
  If you have some thing on your mind ‘fix’ it by getting it off of your chest.  You may be able to change a certain situation or bring it to closure by sitting down and speaking with that person.  If you can’t sit down with the person, write them a letter and be honest.  If you do not think the person will understand where you’re coming from, save the letters in a safe place, sealed and with peace of mind you know that you had your say.  It may ‘fix’ a portion of what has been heavy on your spirit and then again it may be the beginning of your healing process.  If you are really hurt talk to a professional about it.  Make sure that you question the professional regarding what their specialty is.  They may be proficient in adolescent behavior but really have not  had experience with marriage counseling or drug and alcohol abuse.
   Excuse me are you listening?  2006 should be the year of the ‘fix’.


Rina N. Risper