Saturday, June 16, 2012

Update to the Great Recession

We are fine, everyone, we’re fine.

I feel like I need to update The Great Recession post to add a few details.

First, we are fine now, we aren’t in desperate need. Do not worry over us. The worst is behind us (I hope!)

I wanted to write about how the Great Recession had affected us because I think our children and grandchildren deserve to know about how hard times can be blessed times, how the struggles of everyday life can make us better people, even when the slog through tires you to your core. You should write about it, too.

On the face of it, there’s nothing special about our journey. There are a thousand of you who read that post and nodded along because it was the same story as yours, not in the details, but in the belt-tightening, white-knuckling of daily life during these times. We are far from the only ones, and we are far from the worst of it. We are ordinary. Some of you struggle as single parents; some of you lost houses, cars, or more tragically, loved ones; some of you had trials that were awful, scary, and unbelievably difficult. I learned that no one gets out of this life without experiencing terrible things, that we would do well to be kinder to everyone because someone else’s journey can make yours seem like a ride on a carousel.

The flip side are the grousers who complained about the bright spots, that I got to go to Hawaii on a “vacation.” The truth is that I choose to call it a vacation. I was working, I was in meetings, interviews, and working the whole time. I spent 30 minutes with my feet in the ocean. I spent most of my time in the hotel room with Lulu. And guess what? I still call it a vacation, because I was in freakin' Hawaii; it was in a hotel room in Hawaii. I am GRATEFUL for the chance to work, even if it has to be in Hawaii. Comparison is the thief of joy, y’all.

Get ready, here come the squishy parts...

I believe in the power of tithing. We made a commitment to give back 10% of what we earned in tithes. I know that because we made that commitment, we were continually blessed. When things would get down to the last $40, we’d take a deep breath, and not worry. Something would always come in. A client would pay their invoice. I would be approached for more work. Those ends would always meet, eventually.

And you know what? It was a blessing to learn that if you are open to what the Lord would have you do, if you will try your best, and work really hard, eventually, things have a way of working themselves out. You just have to give the Lord space to work his miracles in his time. Sometimes it isn’t immediate, the route may be circuitous, or come in a way that you expect, but it just works. All things will work together for your good, y'all.

Finally, I have two really great employers right now, one of whom is TodaysMama. I need to publicly thank Rachael for her unceasingly hard work, her brilliant mind, and for the chance to work for her. She makes dreams come true (HAWAII.) The rest of the team I work with are so high-trust and outstanding, it’s wonderful to share the load. There are great things on the horizon for TodaysMama, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

It's been quite the journey, and it's not over. Love you all to pieces!

I haven’t even told you the Parable of the iPod yet, kids, but trust me, it’s a good one. Stock up on tissues.


dalene said...

People complained about your bright spots??? Let me at 'em. Seriously, people, WHO PEED IN YOUR CHEERIOS??? I have never been to Hawaii myself but I get excited when someone else gets to go. Particularly someone else for whom other things aren't exactly a walk on the beach at the moment. I am thrilled you got to go to Hawaii. And that you didn't freeze or starve. Not freezing or starving are good, too.

I tried to comment on your first post, but Blogger mistook me for a robot. In any case I loved your candor and I thank you for it. I agree that it's ok--even good-to be up front with children about hard times. They don't need to know all the details, but kids need to see that if you look for them, you can find bright spots in just about anything. It is good to teach your kids how to survive and how to thrive in hard times.

Hildie said...

The last two years have been killers for us too. I just keep my teeth clench muttering, "my children are healthy" over and over.

The unfair part (in my mind) is that my husband and I both have church callings that require an enormous sacrifice of time/talents. It's not hard to be bitter and yell at god for blessing the people who are crappy members of the church. Because, gosh darn it, I want to be able to spend money frivilously!

Delirious said...

I wholeheartedly agree about tithing. Even my non-LDS friends who pay tithing have made the comment to me that if you pay your tithing first, everything else works out. And in fact, even Susy Orman teaches this principle, although she doesn't use the word "tithe". She teaches that when you give to the universe, that it will come back to you. Kind of like the scripture from the Bible that says if we cast our bread upon the waters, it will come back to us. This is a universal truth, that when we give, we are blessed in return when we are in need.

Tamsin North said...

Well, I still wish I could take you out to lunch, because I still like you, even if you didn't freeze and starve. So there.

Anonymous said...

There are other ways to tithe other than giving to "The Church". So, Heavenly Father will only bless you if you give directly to "The Church"?

Azúcar said...

Dear Anonymous,


It's insulting to that you would even posit such a question when I deliberately did not engage in such binary polemics.

I DO think that being abundant, giving and sharing what you have with people who are in greater need than you, is a universal principle, regardless of the imparting mechanism. Expectation of reward will always lead to disappointment, no matter if it is a tithe, donation, or some other gift.

I rarely choose to discuss my religious preferences on my blog. It's just not something I do because it's personal to me. Religious preference (or no religious preference) is not how I measure other humans; everyone is on their own journey. To discuss even this small detail is something I did with much thought and trepidation. This is MY journey.

That's why having some anonymous person come along and ascribe some sort of dogmatic injunction to my very personal experience is pretty rotten.

Kacy Faulconer said...

I loved the part where you said Heavenly Father will only bless you if you give directly to the church. Scratch that--I loved the part where you shared a very personal and nuanced experience with us. Thanks!

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy said...

Anonymous: she said that they "give back," not necessarily that they "give to the church." I'm not Mormon any longer, but I stick by the principle and do my best to give as generously as I can to worthy causes.

In related news, I'll give twenty bucks to the charity of your choice if you reveal your name, admit that you're arbitrarily being a sanctimonious prick, and flick yourself in the ear.

Bebe McGooch said...

Ah, yes, well. Not surprised by the comments here.

Anyway, I just want to voice my appreciation for your previous post. I don't have a lot of time or patience these days to read blogs like I used to, but when I do, they always seem to be about someone's recent shopping trip to Anthropologie or something (which that's great for them, really, it is). It's so weird, I'll have pangs of envy for a dress that I wouldn't spend the money on even if I had the money to dump. So my point is, it was refreshing to be reminded of how blessed and even lucky I really am, even though I haven't bought any new clothes in a very long time. I have grocery money. And I'm even able to go over budget for grocery money every month (disappointingly), and not go into panic mode because we can still pay the bills. Because of our current living situation, we're able to save a little money, despite the fact that my husband's student stipend is a hilariously low sum. It's nice to be smacked with a little perspective now and then--the internet is so full of pretty pictures and pricey new-age hipster fashions, it's easy to start feeling sorry for yourself because you've been wearing the same seven year old Target skirt for the last three days. I hate it when when I get all pathetic and mopey because of superficial things.

Anonymous said...

Just when my cup overfloweth with love for you, you go and deliver the best smack-down on a rotten comment I've ever seen. The next time I need to stand up for myself, I'm going to pause to pray, and then summon the voice of Azucar.

jeri said...

Comparison is the thief of joy. I needed to hear that today. You are awesome, tithing is amazing and hugs to you.

I actually came over here to look up your apricot pie recipe. Because it's life-changing.