How to tell your family you don’t want Christmas gifts is on the docket today. Every year in November I send an email to my four daughters to remind them that Mark and I no longer need or want any Christmas gifts. I also call them, to let them know we are fine with it. I don’t want them to feel guilty that we are not getting a present under the tree. I’m decluttering my very small home and want more space, so I don’t need stuff. I used to think stuff was awesome, but then you get to an age and stage in life that you realize stuff doesn’t make you happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting up on Christmas morning and watching the grandkids take turns opening presents. When I was little I got one present and I was thrilled with that ONE gift. I’m glad that my daughters don’t go overboard with spending money on gifts for their kids at this time of the year. They have never gone into debt to buy Christmas stuff, I’m so proud of them.

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Why you need to be self-reliant is a statement that often brings up a lot of questions. First of all, what does self-reliant mean? I found this statement describing the phrase self-reliant from Merriam-Webster and I quote “confident in your own abilities and able to do things for yourself : not needing help from other people” End of quote. That pretty well sums it up, we need to take care of ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I remember having to work from the time I was very little. No this isn’t a story about how I walked through two feet of snow to get to school. My mom raised me to be independent. I raised my four daughters to be independent.

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I talk about the 5 D’s of being self-reliant today. We all tend to think difficult things will happen to someone else rather than us. Life seems to be full of a variety of challenges. I’ve been thinking about some situations with family and friends that remind me that life is fragile and uncertain. If you think about it, there are at least five events that the majority of life’s troubles fall under; disaster, disability, disease, divorce and death. I’m sure you can think of some others, but I think most life changing events could fall under one of these categories. Some of these events we bring on ourselves because of our individual lifestyle or risk taking activities, but many came at us with no warning and due to no fault or input on our part. I’d like to outline some situations I’m personally familiar with to help illustrate why each one of us needs to be prepared for the unexpected, but also to remind us that some activities or life decisions can have consequences that are difficult to deal with and/or overcome.

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