Coming from a railroad town to a farming/rural community has definitely been an eye-opener. Living in North Platte, Nebraska, we were sheltered, almost secluded from the down-turn of the economy. The housing market was still viable. Houses were still selling, maybe not at a profit, but at least for their appraised values. Job loss was rarely unheard of in the community.

I've been in Ohio for a few months now, and I'm astounded by what I see. At least 1 house, sometimes 2 or 3, for sale on almost every block. "SOLD" signs are a rarity in this neck of woods. Office buildings are vacated and empty. It's like we're living in a "ghost town" as the local cafe manager said recently. The percentage of free or reduced lunches in the schools are over 65%, with some classrooms having 22 or more students without para support. Job selection is scarce. Sometimes as little as 8 jobs are listed in the Sunday paper.

I was conversing with Joe about these events that I was witnessing. And, in all his logical wisdom (mine has disappeared with each recurring pregnancy), he replied "We were unaffected by the downfall of the economy because we lived in a railroad town. Railroad members took early retirement, were placed on the board, or relocated to a needed area."

I am so grateful that Joe works hard and provides for our family. I'm grateful that we can pay for our living expenses and have plenty left over at the end of the month. I'm thankful that I don't have to deny my kids the little pleasures in life, such as a piece of chocolate or an ice cream cone a couple of times a week. We might not have a new vehicle, the newest electronical gadget, or the largest house we could find stuffed full of expensive, unused crap, but I have enough!! I am truly blessed!!!

Unaffected until now....

Can you find some time today, to reflect and pray for those affected?

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