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One of my least favorite parts of working for me, myself and I is figuring out my taxes, especially for the year.

And as I begin working on last year’s figures, I cringe as I look at my business income for the third quarter. “Could I have really made so little?” and “Should I really be in business?” and “Is it worth it?” are all thoughts that taunt me.

But as I think back to what was going on in my life in the fall of 2010, I can breathe a little easier. You see, my father-in-law ended up in the hospital after several days of not feeling well and he needed abdominal surgery; he ended up spending more than two weeks in the confines of a hospital room.

Since he and my mother-in-law take care of her aging parents (they’re in their 90s), she couldn’t be at the hospital as much as she liked. Thanks to my flexible schedule, I could stop by the hospital to make sure my father-in-law was receiving the care he needed, to give him someone other than the nurses to chat with and bring him news of the outside world.

The story doesn’t end there. My father-in-law was no sooner released from the hospital than my mother-in-law’s father became ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia; my in-laws’ refrigerator broke; and, soon after, my mother-in-law caught pneumonia, as well. Needless to say, as the only child whose waking hours were not dedicated to a J-O-B, they often called on me to run errands (such as replacing the food lost to a not-so-cold refrigerator) or make sure my husband’s grandparents didn’t need something.

While all of this was going on, I was also preparing for and running a read-a-thon for my son’s school, which is almost a full-time job for about six weeks every year; my son was taking karate lessons; I was missing Bible study classes; and life – as well as business – went on.

Was I making much money during this time? Well, no. I was pretty much spending more than I was making on gas, running around for folks. But if I had been working much more or for someone else, I wouldn’t have had the time to give to some of the most important people in my life when they truly needed it. I also would have been stretching myself way too thin to remain healthy and sane and be much help to anyone.

I guess that’s the beauty of not only owning my own business but being able to work from home: my hours are flexible and the benefits to others are priceless! So as I tackle a new year – one that is already shaping up as one of the best ones yet for my business – I can know that, yes, it is so worth it. And I know that I am reaping the blessings that come in so many forms from just being available to others.

Now, back to those taxes …

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Kelly K. Serrano

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