Keep up with my posts by e-mail

4/5/06

The Value of Appreciation

It’s tax time. Instead of allowing paying taxes to be a burden, let’s look at ways to see it as a blessing. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., proclaimed that, “taxes are the price we pay for civilized society.”

I recently attended a Get Motivated seminar with renowned speakers like Zig Ziglar, Tim Timmons and Krish Dhanam. Krish is from India. As a child he dreamed of coming to the United States to live the American dream. Upon arrival he was disheartened with the pervading attitude of complaints and ingratitude. To the axiom of “the grass is always greener on the other side,” Krish said that a good eighty -percent of the world’s population knows the harsh reality that there is no grass on the other side. Krish noted that American’s complain about having nothing to complain about. I wanted to dismiss this assessment despite an inner agreement of conviction and sadness.

Garland and I had the wonderful opportunity of taking a cruise to Veracruz and Progresso, Mexico. When it came time came to debark, there was a rush to exit the ship back into the rat race. It takes a long time to wait for 2000 tourists plus luggage to go through the narrow hallways and down a gangplank, and even more time at customs. The complaints were abundant. I whispered a prayer for those weary souls who vacationed without being re-created. I also said a prayer for me to be patient with the impatient and to not be judgmental of the critical.

In years past I had the awesome privilege of being Education/Outreach Minister at Victorious Life Church in Waco, TX. Although I was staff and had a regular salary, income tax was not withheld. I set my own schedule and operated like contract labor. Having been self-employed before, I knew the value of deductions and kept accurate records of mileage, travel and entertainment expenses. When my CPA did our taxes, these deductions were not applicable, stating that since I had an office at the church away from my home-office those items were “un-reimbursed employee expenses.” Imagine my shock at owing a few thousand dollars immediately to the IRS.

I sat quietly to think about this predicament before responding. My CPA voiced surprise at my calm acceptance of this pronouncement of deductions annulled and funds owed.

Here is my thought process:
  • Arguing and angering will not change the situation
  • We have good credit
  • The high road is always the smoothest road
  • I had a responsibility to find out if I truly was contract labor and had tax privileges rather than assuming what someone else said was accurate
  • I have a job that I love, working with employees that I love, being able to help others
    I am thankful to be an American

I continued to work in that position for five more years until starting my own consulting and training business in 1999. In the grand scheme of things, living in a country with income tax is a small price to pay for our freedom, abundance and many blessings.

DON’T COPE, OVERCOME:

“In all things give thanks and for all things give thanks.” (Ephesians 5:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18)

“WHAT? In all things and for all things give thanks. Surely you jest! Are you telling me that I am supposed to be thankful for hardships, rejections, toil, death and taxes? Are you telling me that it is God’s will for sickness, handicaps, accidents, rape and murder?”

I am suggesting that a thankful spirit for the mundane or the ordinary sets us up to be healthier and happier and to avert discouragements and disorders. I am suggesting that it is God’s will for us to be thankful – not for the difficulty - but even in the midst of difficulties. I am suggesting that a thankful spirit in spite of the devastating results of a sinful world sets us up to overcome even in times of tragedy.

TESTIMONIALS: What others say about Mona’s seminars

“Mona is multi-talented. I have listened to other speakers and looked at my watch, hoping they would soon be finished. But Mona is so interesting, as well as encouraging class participation, that I am never wishing it would end. She is informative, witty, smart, and very sincere.” NJ

“I can see things in my life as your speak and can instantly begin to apply these principles and solutions to my problems. Your seminars are very effective and fun as well. As you said, 'Learning is fun' and I had fun learning.” Seminar participant

ASK MONA: Insights into perplexing questions

Q: “How can I develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’?” Seminar participant

A: The first step to any life-style change is to become aware of a need for change. Actively pay attention to how you respond to all situations and to feedback from others regarding how you respond. Monitor your thought processes: do you think like a victim or a victor? Monitor your self-talk: is it negative and depreciating or positive and problem solving? Look for life-lessons to be learned from difficulties and allow character qualities to be developed. Over time, this outlook can become the foundation, not only for a pleasant attitude, but also for wisdom.