Thursday, January 20, 2011


I remember when I finally got around to learning how to use Excel six or seven years ago I found the formula which required an "if/then" sequence to make an equation work. It went something like: if X equals (place value here) then Y will be (blank). It was a pretty straightforward formula, nothing fancy. In fact, the day after I took the four-hour course I used the formula to find about $60K in lost revenues for the company where I worked. I then used the formula to modify the company's time sheets and made it an online form which could better track billable hours. It was kind of neat - when it worked. When there were too many variables the system could end up being a mess. And by variables, I mean humans.

This month has been a month of lot of variables. I am beginning to understand that in my life I am the biggest variable of all. The decisions I make based on what may or may not happen sometimes get me into hot water. I find myself asking (and often praying): What can I do to make my life transitions run more smoothly, build a better income, find reliable transportation and continue to do the work I am ordained to do as a writer and philanthropist? I keep running the if...then sequences in my mind and often on paper and it all looks good in theory. The problem comes when I put it into practice.

Take last week's snowmageddon for example. I looked at my work schedule and knew roughly how much my pay check would be based on those hours. I gave my paycheck a little wiggle room (it's a little paycheck) and then planned my spending accordingly for rent, household bills and enough for a partial down payment on a car. I figured if I spent wisely, then by the end of the month, I'd be driving again.

Then it snowed six inches and metro Atlanta came to a screeching halt for a week. My job was shut down for three days and on a fourth day I couldn't get a ride home from work so had to forfeit a day's pay. I will be lucky to be able to pay my rent, household bills and cell phone. If your call goes right to voice mail...well. My conclusion: If...then is not very reliable. Life is full of a lot of variables.

I don't know what it is going to take for any of us to get over this financial hump. I do know that the challenge is very taxing on most people I know. A lot of us are living dangerously close to the edge and some of us don't even realize it. I was one of those people once. Now, I am all to keenly aware of my seemingly dwindling cash supply. And even though I know there is money to be made and it is coming in my direction some time in the near future, right now it feels a little hard to bear.

Still, I keep plugging away. Even if I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know it is up around the bend. I have to believe there will be an if that has a then which works for me, because if I don't, then I will be in serious trouble. And that has less to do with what is in my bank account than what is in my faith account. That is a bankruptcy I truly can't afford.

So, I will keep working on the if...then calculations. One of them will work at some point. All it's gonna take is some faith and a whole lot of prayer.

Robin "Bobbie!" White is the Executive Director of We Can We Care, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization which is dedicated to decreasing poverty and enriching the lives of the world's poorest children by building homes and schools and by providing renewable and sustainable resources for their health and well being. She is an award-winning author and publisher. For more information go to

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