Mary Beth Writes

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....

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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.

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. 

Who We Welcome is Who We Are - The Book of Ruth

I was raised on Bible stories. I like to go back and see what they mean to us now.

The Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures story of Ruth – Surprise, Surprise! - is not the particular romance of Ruth and Boaz. It IS a story of dangerous poverty, racism, and sexism – and what happened when good adults welcomed each other in an unsafe place and time.

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There is a huge and powerful message going on that says what’s wrong with society is foreign people, especially foreign women, lax morals, and lack of respect for the laws, rules, and customs of olden times.

"Do You Have a Question?" AKA the Life of Faith

 

What does “the path of faith” mean, anyhow?  How do we find and get on it? How do we grow in faith to become people who shine with courage and compassion?

In this sermon I acknowledge my own story from my strict beginnings in a Fundamentalist home and church.  (I can pretty much promise there will be some laughing.)

I acknowledge that what pulled me forward into my life weren’t other people’s answers, but my questions.

Guatemala - An Education in Respect and Empathy

We North Americans have much to learn about poverty in the developing world and about what we can do to support our fellow humans who live in struggling-to-dire circumstances.

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In 2002 I went to Guatemala with my then 17-year old daughter. We traveled there because one of the best friends of my life, Kathleen Morkert, had become the Exec Director of MayaWorks and she told me I ought to do this. (If you knew Kathleen, you’d probably do what she told you to do also. Hi, Kathleen!)

Two Handsome Farmers

   

     Swollen gray clouds dragged across the sky all day. The world was quiet, stuck in a gloomy swale between dawn and downpour.

          What was the moment that tipped the pewter pitcher of sky, that let the rain begin to flow?

          Whatever that tiny moment was, it had finally come. With a roar.

         

MindfulChickens - Hunting for Watermelons that are Not There

This was written 9/19/16

ONE – I baked.  I realized our sweet potatoes were losing their youth. I looked on the internet to see if there is such a thing as Sweet Potato Bread and of course there is. It was delicious, and there is one piece left in, I can hear it humming.

A few afternoons later I wanted a cookie badly but we had none. I made a HALF batch.  A cookie fresh from the oven is a lovely pleasure.  I don’t see why we have to give up warm cookies altogether just because some of us no longer live with kids all over the place.

Pre-Xmas Thoughts

Written 12/12/2016  

1. You probably read my last post of last week that says our first grandchild was born. We are unambiguously happy.

The Frugal Craft of Sewing - Clown Edition

The "Womanly Art and Practice of Sewing"  

AKA

"Sewing with Clowns"

 

The beginnings of my career with needle and thread:  When I was in 3rd grade my classmates and I played marbles at recess. I was jealous of the cool “store-bought” marble bags some of the other kids possessed. I decided I could have a marble bag, too. All I had to do was make it myself.

Oh the places “make it myself” has taken me…

The Frugality of Gang Life

Have you ever considered joining a gang?

Three times in my life I have been a Gang-Member.

FIRST – When I was a little kid in a rural elementary school. There were about 10 girls in our class and we became a gang by necessity. If we didn’t make friends with each other we were going to be lonely - and we were also going to be at the mercy of those stinky boys.

We started Kindergarten together and were classmates through 8th grade. I learned the glories of gang life from those lovely South Hamlin girls.