Remember the good ol' days ... about three years ago, when we all had money and businesses were booming? Things have certainly changed in Ahwatukee, as well as the rest of the country.

We made some sound investments in raw land and netted a nice profit. Our business (A & M Nut and Bolt) was busy. My husband was actually taking care of "big picture" aspects of our small company (previously a little neglected) because our son and others were now running the operations. We were looking toward phasing into early part-time retirement and building our "dream house."

[Insert loud screeching noise] Today things have an entirely different complexion. The business has slowed down and we've had to make staffing cutbacks. My husband is back in the mix of serving clients and overseeing all the details each day. We live in the same little 1970s house we've been in for 26 years and don't have plans to move.

But the way we look at it determines our level of joy. We have chosen to not focus on what could have been or what we hoped would be ... instead, focusing on how much we do have.

We have a business that still supports a number of families. We have kept our debt low so that if there isn't enough money for our paycheck, we can get by. We have a comfortable home that is surrounded by loving friends and holds countless, sweet memories. We are healthy and strong enough to continue doing the work that needs to be done.

Things don't look the way we thought they'd look today. We're working longer hours and have to make sacrifices in our spending. But we have generous friends who invite us to visit and some frequent flyer miles, so occasional travel is still possible.

Our family is all in the same town and we have an easy, fun time when we're all together. There's not a lot of drama and discord. Everyone is stepping up and taking care of themselves according to this altered economy.

And Noah was born in July ... a first little grandbaby to divert our time and attention toward. That one fact simplifies everything. All-in-all, we're blessed beyond belief. God is good. All the time ... in every circumstance and economic climate.

Are you focusing on what you have or what you "should have had?" What has changed in your life? What can you do to help shift your focus and gain more joy? Share at or

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Markins can be reached at Visit her blog


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