Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Fair Wage

What is a fair wage?  What amount of money is an appropriate compensation?  What exactly do you see as a good income number?  Am I making enough?  Do I deserve more for the hours of work I put in?  Does my boss value me?  How come that person makes more than I do?  Should I ask for a raise?  If only I made more I could afford that new outfit.  If only I was paid more I could go on trips.  If only I had more money I would be happy.
If only..........

These are all questions that we have all asked ourselves at one point and time or another.  I know that, for me, I had these thoughts many times when working I was 12 hour days in a salon....or when I am up painting till midnight in the quiet of our house.   We all think these things.  We all do.  Even you.  It is natural.

The only problem with this is that, for me, my job that holds the most responsibility doesn't have easy answers.  That job, of course, is my position as CMO.
 Chief Momma-ing Officer!

Being a mom is the hardest, most challenging, frustrating, joy-producing, exhausting, exhilerating, tear-your-hair-out, worry-generating, humbling and amazing job I will ever hold.  There are days (and nights when they are babies...and teens!) that I would like to throw the towel in, give up or trade with someone else.  Anyone else. :)
But...there are days when I wouldn't change jobs for anything.  Any one thing.

So, how do we get compensated for this job?  What is the pay off?  Why won't the government offer a tax deduction for CMOs?  What is a fair wage for this position?  Where are the rewards?

These questions rarely get a practical way.
But, if you choose to look in the right places you will find the answers.
For me, they come by way of notes, letters... and texts.

The other morning my youngest, Noah, dug deep down into his backpack.  He was looking for something.  He said, "Momma, I made you something the other day but it isn't in my Thursday folder.  It has to be in here somewhere."   I couldn't see any of his carrot red hair as his whole noggin was inside his backpack trying to find this thing he had made!  Then the red hair emerged and his freckled face arose from the abyss with a huge grin and raised his hand in the air.  In his hand was a crumpled piece of white paper.
"Here it is Momma!  I found it!".  I carefully uncrumpled it and found.......a paycheck.
A big, fat paycheck!!

Dear Mom,
I mes you today.  I'll love forever and ever.  I can't wat to see you after scool today.
Love, Noah

A precious note from a 1st grader..... a treasured letter, from our son, found back at home after Craig and I returned from moving him into his dorm room freshman year of college...... a clump of flowering weeds, held by a sweet little dude, picked for his momma....or a high school English assignment that is written about me, given as a gift for Christmas, by my amazing daughter.........or a text that says "loveya momma"..............

Sigh.  There are the answers.  These are appropriate compensation.  That income number is fact it is plenty.  My boss values me.  I couldn't possibly want more.  Paid in full.  

I have my answers.  I just need to remind myself of them...sometimes daily.

May you love your job.
May you receive the compensation that you need.
May you look for the answers in the right areas.
May you feel valued for what you do.
May you be grateful for the answers.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Threshold Wisdom

I recently was in Boston.  It was not my first visit to the city but it was the first time that I really was able to take in the sites and get a good feel for it.  I loved it!  It had an energy to it that was palpable.  Some of that, I am sure, was due to the fact that the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds were being played there.  I had gone to watch my Badgers...and saw them play their best game of the year only to lost to the #1 seed by ONE point.  Sigh.....

Oh my, sorry, I digress.   The Badgers and Packers have a way of doing that to me... Back to the story.

The energy in Boston was amazing.  That city oozed intelligence (over 300,000 college students) and overflowed with the "salt of the earth" quality of the people.  I love that combo!  As we toured around on our trolley bus I took lots of pictures.  I kept noticing that many of the buldings, entryways, churches and gates to the different universities and colleges had quotes or mottos engraved on them.

This one was at one of the entrances to Harvard University.
"Enter to grow in wisdom"

I am sure that the many who are admitted into Harvard already are quite intelligent.  But there is a difference between being smart and having wisdom.  Wisdom is gained with maturity....exactly what will happen to those students who cross that threshold and experience college for 4 (or more!) years. 

This one was on the side of a beautiful historic church.
"Behold I have sat before thee an open door."

I love the power of these words.  An open door.  For me...this is a beautiful image of God.  He is an open door.  We can walk in or out through it.  It is each person's choice to make.  God's open invitation.  This choice we have is a right that I am grateful that we all have.

These 2 photos started me thinking.  The words that companies, teams, organizations and homes use to mark their thresholds can be so powerful, encouraging and set a tone for all.  Some examples are.....

This is on the threshold of a library.
(notice the "open door" again...)

These words are what you would read when entering the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

These simple 3 words greet people at a exquisite church.

This banner adorns the tunnel entrance for the Green Bay Packers!!!

And, (humor me one more time here folks!), 
this plaque is hung on the wall of that entrance for all players to see 
and feel the pride that history of this team brings. 

I am not sure where this one was taken but there are signs like it all over the world....
in the halls of locker rooms everywhere.  
Players touch these words before they leave for the field, court or rink.  
The words are a last minute "pep talk" to help them focus on why they play the game.

So this led me to think about what kind of motto or statement would hang in other people's homes.  Shouldn't we all have a motto or touchpoint that makes a clear statement for our lives and how we want to live them?  Shouldn't we all have words hung on our threshold that send us off out into the world with a sense of purpose and who we are?  

I thought about what words I would want to hang above the threshold for our home....  
Silly me... we have some!!    Many years ago I painted my first "typography" project.  It was on an old, weathered piece of barnwood.  I wanted it to be words that defined our family and what was important to us.  It hangs in our kitchen, above the door to our patio and backyard.  I know it isn't above the main threshold of our home but our kitchen seems to be the heart of the home anyways. 

 It says SIMPLE GIFTS, and is flanked by words that represent 
what we see has the gifts that we have been blessed with in our lives... 

This is a beautiful handpainted ceramic tile piece of art that is at our front door.  
It has been in Craig's family for many years hanging in his grandparents home.   
We are honored to have it in our home.  

And this is by our back door to the garage.  It is the last thing we see before we leave our home.  
It is a license plate that was owned by Craig's grandparents.  
His family says it means "God's Blessings" in Dutch.  
Other translations I found say it means "named best".  
It can be like that touchpoint for the athlete going out on the field for our family.  
When we see it, as we go out into our days, we can focus on the blessings and 
what we are named for..... and live that out.  

May you encounter many open doors in your life.
May you have gained wisdom through maturity.
May you have used that wisdom to discover what your motto for life is.
May you use those words to focus your eyes on your purpose.
May you find a way to have those words grace the threshold of your abode.
May you live them out well, fully and with passion.