Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Importance of a Good Support Network

This morning I was pondering how blessed my family is to have such a great support network of friends and family.  I know that the "experts" stress that this is so important in times of crisis, but I also find it important in the every day life also.  Let's face it, we all feel better knowing that there are people out there that love us and are willing to help us when needed and that we also can do the same for them.

Over the years, our family has built a wonderful network of friends in addition to our family that share their time, talents, love and resources with one another.  In Hawaii, we would call this group a "hui".  Many of these people have become "hanai" (adopted by love) "ohana" (family) to us.  Not only does this help emotionally but it also helps financially.  With the economy being what it is and with so many of our "hui" trying to get out of debt, starting new families, reaching retirement years with little income and some also facing job losses or cuts in pay, it is important that we all stick together and help each other out.

Some of the ways we have done this over the years (and continue to) is by sharing our talents.  My husband used to be a carpenter and although he is no longer in that profession, he has the skills needed to be able to do home repair, remodeling, roofing, etc..  He can also build furniture.  He has been able to help friends fix their roofs, replace windows, add a new bedroom within an existing home, build furniture lifts to make getting in and out of chairs easier for people that need that help, patch drywall, build stairs, etc.  He also did extensive remodeling in our home.  My talents run along the line of saving money by couponing, being able to budget well, making the most of what you have, cooking from scratch, tutoring children and hooking people up with resources that they may need.  I'm also really good at seeking out great deals at thrift stores and yard sales so friends will give me a list of what they need and I regularly find it for them for pennies on the dollar.  We have friends (some of them have passed away now) who are/were master gardeners.  They taught us how to prune trees, the secrets of a good garden and shared their knowledge, plants and produce with us.  We now regularly share the produce from our garden with our "hui" and they share theirs (if they have a garden) with us also.  It's a win/win for everyone.  We have done other things like apple cider pressing where everyone contributes apples and container and we work the day away to press cider for all the families.  We also pass down clothing that our children have outgrown and also share tools with each other.  We help at the weddings of each of our children and grandchildren.  We help one another with appliance and computer repair.  We watch each others children, homes and pets when needed.  If we have an item we are not using, we see if someone else needs it in our "hui" before donating it to a thrift store or selling it at our yard sale (we also do some of those together).  Our group is also there to pray for one another and support each other through the daily things of life. :)

Honestly, I feel so blessed to have this wonderful group of talented and loving people in my life.  Together, we have all been able to help each other not only save money and time, but the support and friendships mean the world to me.  I know that I have learned so much from these amazing people and my life is all the more "richer" for it.

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