Mary Beth Writes

The word courage comes from the Latin Cor – which means heart. Core – the center of things. Cor - to go towards the essence of what needs to happen, to be at the middle of an event. Courage is to act from our ‘cor” - our center, our heart.

While on the space shuttle Columbia, which would explode during reentry a few days later, astronaut Laurel Clark wrote some emails to family and friends. This is from one of them: Subject: Hello from 150 NM above the Earth

“I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis (aus-trah-lis) lighting up the entire visible horizon with the city glow of Australia below, the vast plains of Africa and the dunes on Cape Horn, rivers breaking through tall mountain passes, the scars of humanity, the continuous line of life extending from North America, through Central America and into South America. A crescent moon setting over the limb of our blue planet.

“Magically, the very first day we flew over Lake Michigan I saw Wind Point.”

It’s a powerful image, isn’t it? Roses blooming in the experiment lab of a doomed space shuttle. The busy, humming cooperation of men and women who had trained for years to be able to do this work. The dangerous location – outer space. And then that beautiful perfume of roses. Astronauts accept that missions will never be routinely safe; astronauts also have the courage to do what needs to be done to further science that makes our human lives safer and better. 

We see it backward this morning; we see a vision of a tragedy about to happen. The Columbia crew lived it forward: doing their work, using their training and education, working to accomplish their mission.

We are not all brave here, but we can think about what it means to have courage - to risk ourselves in lives of love and commitment.

Courage is too often over-glamorized.

We need to think, think, and rethink the differences between stereotypes of courage – and courage.

Courage is not a commodity one turns on and off by a spigot. Courage grows, develops, and blooms like the living thing it is.

The world says you change the world with courage – but as anyone who has done courageous things knows, courage changes you, too. 

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What It's Like (for me anyways) to Preach

This is what it’s like to preach if you hardly ever do it.

This coming Sunday (2/25/18) I am preaching in my own church, United Universalist Unitarian at 506 N. Washington in Waukesha, at 10:30. You are very welcome to attend. 

My sermon is “645 Years Later / Julian of Norwich and the Spiritual Art of Perseverance.”

I have been working on this sermon a little and then a lot for the past several weeks.  It is a peculiar adventure to invent a sermon topic, write the sermon, and then preach it. Women and men who do this every week have my utmost respect - and disbelief.

Where I am Preaching 12/31/2017

I am preaching this Sunday, Dec 31st in Beaver Dam, WI at this church.

The service will start at 9:30 in case any of you live close and couldn’t think of what else to do Sunday morning (hah).

 My sermon is “Something Happened Here”

“One innocent day last spring my husband asked me if I would like to take a little getaway to Chester, Illinois, In August.  Because we all know how appealing southern Illinois is, in August.

“What’s in Chester, Il?”

Sermon – Something Happened Here

One innocent day last spring my husband asked me if I would like to take a little getaway to Chester, Illinois, In August.  Because we all know how appealing southern Illinois is, in August.

“What’s in Chester, Il?”

“It’s in the Path of Totality. There is going to be an eclipse in August and there will be a 60-mile path that goes from Oregon to South Carolina, and Chester is inside that path. If we go there we can see a total eclipse.”

Invite Me to Speak - It's not SIMPLE life, it's Simpler Life

I can speak to the luxuries and adventures that happen when one pursues a simpler life.

What are things to consider and enjoy?

Knowing oneself well enough to know what you want from your mortal life.

Where to live.

What to drive (or not drive).

What projects to tackle and which ones to let lie low.

What to wear.

How to splurge with joy and not worry.

When to go out and when to stay home.

Friends, company, cats and pups.

How do you design and live your own authentic, generous, rewarding life?

Invite Me to Speak - How to Retire on Less than a Half Million

I wrote that line! "If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again."  Somebody made the poster without asking, so I use the poster without asking....


I'm not Financial Planner - don't come to me for Money Rules For a Retirement Income That Will Not Fail.

I am a thinker and observer. And  we are retired (on less than a half million) and we love this part of our lives.

Invite Me to Speak - The Simple Art of Raising Children in your Spare Time

It's not hard to find experts who will teach us how to manage our children.  But that both exhausts and bores me; I don't want a system.  I don't want to maximize my kids' potential - whatever that might mean. 

Kids are not adventure equipment, or status symbols, or raw material to channel through the factory of my ego-whims.

I am not here to tell you how to get your kid to eat her lunch, go to bed on time, or to devise a homework schedule.  I used many child rearing techniques in my 20 years of parenting, but almost every "system" eventually fell away. 

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