28 February, 2011

Super Powers? I Don't Think So...

"Mom needs her coffee Sis. It's where she gets her powers."

My 5-year-old brother knows how important my mom's coffee is to her in the morning.

My son also understands and pays reverance to the magic, caffinated elixir that is my morning cup of joe. He knows not to touch it, blow on it, or fuss at me before I've poured it. In our marriage, there is never a fight over who makes the coffee because we just have an understanding that it gets made. There are days when I am near certain that the coffee fairy makes it.

My cup is the start to my day and the splash of heavy cream that I add to it is the small mama luxury that gets my day started off right.

No one need elucidate me on coffee's many flaws and disadvantages (nor the cream I put in it). I gave it up in some degree during each of my pregnancies and have sacrificed it during Lent a time or two. Having worked at a coffee shop to put myself through college (both financially and physically) brewed coffee with cream is my stepdown from the harder stuff like flavored lattes (and the daily donut that is now represented around my mid-section).

Someday I'll swear off of my caffinated crutch in favor of my other dear friend decaffinated tea. Someday, when I have a beautiful house overlooking a lake where I can sit and watch the sunrise while waiting for my grown children to call and give me the latest update on the grandchildren...Someday, when all that is on my plate for the day is cooking and reading.

Until then, this is my place in life. A place where the rich smell of roasted beans in my nose instantly clears away the cobwebs clouding my mama brain.

25 February, 2011

With One Voice...

We've been having a rough week over here. Politics have not been kind to the hearts of our household this week. It seems that an awareness of our very lives has been sidelined for the sake of an issue.

My heart aches for my hard-working husband who spent years waiting and working for a position in higher education that promised a stability for our family that had eluded him in the private sector. His hard work paid off for one short year until the recent budget crisis has once again placed him smack in the center of cuts, shrinking benefits, and the rumors of layoffs. He's gotten to the point where he seriously believes that perhaps it is him and not the flawed systems.

We've spent a lot of time wondering "why?". Why have the faces of our beautiful children been stripped from this issue? Why have our voices been ignored in favor of faceless "taxpayers" that should, in fact, include us?

We know, fully appreciate and support the need for budget reform. We deal with it on a daily basis in our own household. We are regularly making sacrifices of things that are in concept good, but are beyond our financial ability. We all make sacrifices even though our youngest members don't realize it yet. Shouldn't that be the case in politics? Shouldn't we all share equally in at least a portion of the sacrifice? We'll give what we need to under the circumstances, but don't strip us of our voice and our ability to gain back that which we have sacrificed when the tables turn for the better.

Ultimately, as we've cried and prayed over our situation this week, there is only one thing that is clear. We cannot rely on any force, organization, or leadership on this earth to provide for us. God is the only being in which we can place our trust.

Moreover, everything we have, big or small, is simply a gift entrusted to our care for a short time while on this earth. Even our paychecks, the things with our name on them, do not belong to us. The money in our checks is a gift from God for which we are called to be caretakers, or stewards.

God gives us gifts not because we deserve them, but because we are loved and because we are His children. We are called to receive that which we have been given gratefully, nuture it responsibly, share it justly, and return it abundantly to our Father in Heaven.

While we seek justice in solidarity with others, our voices are not to be one with any human. Seeking dignity for all, our voices are to be one with the angels and saints guided by the wisdom of the Spirit. We are called to trust in something unseen and look upon the darkness of the world with love and hope in something greater.

For all of you facing the darkness this week, be it loneliness, addiction, unemployment, underemployment, fear, infertility, anger, homelessness, heartlessness, incivility, silence or overscheduling, know that as the communion of saints we stand in solidarity with you. We pray that God's light will guide you through the valley and that together we will continue our journey to God's just and glorious Kingdom.

One day we will all find perfection in God.

Until then, I'll find my hope for innocence and perfection in the eyes of my children.

19 February, 2011

Welcome Women Celebrate Readers!

I spoke at a lovely women's conference today called "Women Celebrate" at the beautiful Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, WI. The beautiful women who joined me there for conversation and fellowship brought great joy to my heart and I am deeply grateful for their openess and hospitality!

For those "Brides of Christ" who are coming here for the first time, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere! I am so glad to be with you!

I've highlighted some of my favorite posts below and hope you'll visit often for new ideas, thoughts, and random ramblings! I write in this space, but more importantly, you read in this space. If there is any question, situation, or current event you would like to see me address, leave a comment and I'll do my best!

Tradition, Movies, Burgers and Spoons

I do not propose to be an expert or even a wise woman. Perfection is far beyond me and I look to the day when I am made perfect in Heaven. Here on earth, I just do my best to honestly share my experiences and my beliefs as a wife, mother, lay-minister, and friend.

You are welcome, you are blessed! This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

13 February, 2011

Down but Out-of-Town!

We just found out that we will likely be taking a large pay cut due to legislation being proposed which will affect state workers. My husband works for the university system and without getting into politics, we are talking a yearly loss of nearly $5,500 for a position that is already paid about 30% less than the private sector (for which we are equally compensated by the nature of our additional benefits which have also been proposed to be reduced). Those is just the facts.

How did we celebrate this unfortunate proposed turn in our family affairs? We took a family "Get out of Dodge" vacation! We needed some time away from the daily doings and something to perk up our tired, winter spirits. We drove to Madison on Friday night and ate a late dinner at our favorite irish pub chain "Claddaugh". Beer was good, food was better and we laughed ourselves sleepy watching John Ross flirt with the couple next to us and dance to the live band. We checked into a beautiful mid-range hotel where they proceeded to upgrade us to a suite with a fridge and microwave for FREE. Yeah!

We woke on Saturday morning to a lovely, hot hotel breakfast and a swim in the pool which was equipped with a water play area just perfectly suited to our two small children. We went to lunch at another local favorite while we watched the Badger basketball team beat #1 Ohio State. Naps were in order and then we were off to drop the kids with their old nanny who lives downtown and offered to watch them so we could have a night out. All dressed up, we walked down State Street to a beautiful local and seasonal fine dining restaurant for a light meal of mussels and fresh pasta before attending a performance of the Madison Ballet. The second act of the ballet consisted of a local jazz artist and her band performing as the dancers interpretted. We had a lovely night's sleep and headed for home.

For my hubby, the whole situation mentioned above has left him (and by extension me) feeling powerless about our political life, our empolyment situation and our financial well-being. This seemingly insignificant trip gave us back a sense of having some input in our family life. More importantly it reminded us about what is most important in life and that is each other. We are not ultimately in control of our life, but must treat each other with love and compassion trusting that God's plans for us are for good and not evil.

***We didn't make the situation go away and we will keep fighting for our financial well-being. This is another one of those situations where a political leader is unable to serve the fullness of pro-life: both our moral values and our economic circumstances. It is not as clear cut as many make it out to be.