4 November


{unrelated photo of tea with cream! gasp! so very un-English of me, I know!}

I've been a bit gloomy (and very stressed) lately, and I have decided to talk about it. I try to be pretty honest here -- obviously, the purpose of this blog isn't complaining, so I don't write about every single bad thing that happens, but I value candor, and I know from your comments and emails that you do, too.

This fall, our family has found ourselves in the worst financial situation we've been in for many years. Right after my husband was hired for his new job, the school district made cuts to teachers' salaries. He really loves his new job, but his base salary is less than it's been in a while, and at his last job, he had a lot of little extra things that added up to a pretty decent amount of money for our little family. I am completely optimistic that things will improve somewhat drastically next fall (for a number of reasons -- some changes we can make in our insurance, the fact that my husband will be eligible for some student loan forgiveness after having taught for 5 years in low-income schools, the fact that his extra-duty band director pay will go up a bit, and hopefully the base salary, too). 

We've never been rich. We're a family of five with a public school teacher's salary. It's not the way to riches. But we've been gradually more comfortable. This fall, real worry has set in for us. I fret about things, anyway, but it's even worse when we can't buy our kids coats and don't know how we'll pay for food and gas for the month. We make just enough too much to qualify for any "help". And our parents, too, are just keeping up in this economy. 

It's a frustrating place to be, but at the same time, I know we're not alone in it. I don't have any answers. But I can tell you, we had our favorite yellow dal for dinner tonight, a meal that is cheap and so delicious. We are having friends over for dinner tomorrow and I realized I can make another Indian-inspired meal for them that will cost us next to nothing (we already had all the ingredients in our pantry and freezer except the coconut milk). 

One day at a time. This is a lesson I know I need to learn. Today we have food enough in our bellies, and gas in our car. Today we are comfortable and safe and warm. Today we have everything to be thankful for.

Somehow this verse (Luke 12:27-31) just keeps finding its way to me. These words, spoken so long ago, are exactly what is meant to be said to me, and perhaps some of you, today. I hope you find comfort and hope in them, even if this lesson is as hard for you as it is for me. 

Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.