Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Note to Warm a Mom’s Heart

Adopting an older child from foster care brings with it a unique set of challenges. A child with a past is often a hurt child, a child who hasn’t been able to count on anyone in his life often behaves in challenging ways. With my son schoolwork is one of his major battlegrounds. Sometimes at the end of an afternoon wrestling with my son over his assignments I feel like I’ve been going toe to toe with a ten-ton gorilla. His dad comes home from work and all I want to do is toss the baton of parenthood to him and flop in a soft chair to remain motionless for the balance of the day.

Toward the end of this school year I’ve been backing away from forcing him to study well for exams, or be as complete as possible with assignments and have allowed him a bit more leeway to let the chips fall where they may with his grades. He needs to have an 80% or better average to play sports, and he knows the standard, so when he’s in the mood to do a slacker job on his work I’ve told him what I would like to see done but that I will let him make his own decision about how much effort he will put forth. It’s been kind of challenging, and as we are nearing the end of the year and his efforts aren’t as diligent as I’d like to see I’ve begun to wonder if I’ve helped him this year at all.

And then as I’m going through his papers I find this…

My teacher Mr. Jones asked us students to write about who is a good influence in our life and so that is what I will write about for our journal topic today. The person that influences my life is not my dad or uncle or cousins, they make influences to me. But the real person in my life is a person I see every day of the year who lives in my house would be no other than my mom! The way she influences me is by caring about me. She helps with my homework and expressing my feelings. She is my favorite person in the world! Other than God! She loves and cares about me with all her heart! She encourages me to do my best with everything in school like math because I’m not good at that subject.

And did I mention that he’s been alter serving at every Mass we’ve attended since he received the sacraments of initiation at Easter Vigil, and all the little old ladies of our parish have co-adopted him and are praying for a vocation to the priesthood for him? I guess the gorilla wrangling is paying off after all.

Thank you Lord for this child and the gift of motherhood.

Friday, May 8, 2009

They Say It’s a Recession Not a Depression

Depression Definition Per Wiki: A depression is characterized by abnormal increases in unemployment, restriction of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation or hyperinflation are also common elements of a depression.

Well I suppose for Warren Buffet it is a recession that's "almost over".

But in the construction industry it’s a depression. I pray that my industry isn’t the leading edge of what’s coming down the pike for the rest of the economy, but if it is hold on to your hats ladies, it’s going to get very, very bumpy.

Construction Industry Stats:

Unemployment Check: Nationwide 23%, in my State 30%

Shrinking Output Check: New Housing Starts Down 50% over March 2008 (per US Dept of Housing & Urban Development press release dated April 16, 2009)

Restriction of Credit Check: No National Banks Writing New Construction Loans – Not One

Devaluations Check: Everyone is familiar with the foreclosure rates and the housing market value free fall & it isn’t pretty.

My industry is in a depression and it shows no signs of letting up any time soon despite all the rhetoric.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner:: This afternoon, the Federal Reserve and the national banking agencies released the results of the stress tests... These tests will help ensure that banks have a sufficient capital cushion to continue lending in a more adverse economic scenario.

Who are they fooling the banks aren’t lending at all let alone continuing to lend if it gets worse. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

So What’s the Upside?

For our business, absolutely nothing that’s visible to the human eye.

Personal upside…

I’ve always known in my heart of hearts that my husband and I aren’t in business for the money. Being an entrepreneur isn’t at all what folks tend to perceive and occasionally people react with jealousy or malice to financial success.

I’ve always known that my ego wasn’t tied up with the money, and facing professional and possibly personal bankruptcy confirms this. I don’t feel the least bit differently about myself facing the possibility of going broke. It hurts to let people go one by one, it’s a heavy burden on our hearts, but being broke doesn’t hurt at all, it just requires adjustments which we are happy to make and we both continue to be grateful for what we have.

I wasn’t looking to have my detachment from money confirmed, but there is peace in the knowledge.

Thanks you Lord for all the blessings in my life. I will continue to keep my eyes on you, continue to rely on my daily Manna, continue secure in the knowledge that I will not perish but live, steadfast in the assurance that you are resting peacefully in the back of the boat as these waves crash over the bow. Jesus, I Trust In You. Amen.