Spiritually Speaking

QUESTION: We’re in our mid-40s with two children in college. My husband has worked at the same job for 25 years and now would like to begin another career. This would require him receiving additional education to complete an advanced degree as well. I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom, and although I’m college educated, I don’t feel I have marketable skills that will support our family during my husband’s job transition.
This has created a great deal of stress for me and is affecting our relationship. Is there a way to make this a win-win situation?
Worried About the Future 

Dear Worried,
Life is about change, and many of us resist change. When I felt called into the ministry, my wife was very supportive. That is not said to “shame” the wife who is looking for a way to make her situation a win for her as well as her husband, but I am grateful for my wife’s flexibility. What I would ask this couple is: Do you still love each other and want to remain together? If the answer is yes, then I would ask the wife if there is anything that she has been yearning to do or even thinking about doing.
What I’m getting at here is a quid pro quo; if I’m doing such-and-such for you, are you willing to do such-and-such for me? Also, have you two thought about lowering your standard of living while the husband goes back to school? How about bringing in your college-age children into the mix? Maybe they could get part-time jobs to help out the family cause, or at least to help with tuition.
What about your prayer life? Are you bringing God into the conversation?
None of this is easy, but as I’ve heard before, “A pearl of great price is not had for the asking.” When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, conditions were hard on the journey to the Promised Land. On the lighter side, I’ve heard this: “All things cometh to him who waiteth … if he worketh like hell while he waiteth!”
And on the ultra-serious side, I would ask the wife, “What if your husband gets hit by a bus?” In such a situation you would have to give up your stay-at-home mom lifestyle. Maybe the time has come to pretend a little bit. Maybe you need to pretend that you must get out of the house. And who knows? God may have just been waiting for such an opportunity to use some of the talents you didn’t even know you had!

The Rev. Skip Lindeman

La Cañada Congregational Church

Dear Worried:
This can be a very stressful situation, but not impossible. Many people are now getting higher education in their 30s and 40s. My doctorate class had all but one person in that age group! And it is not impossible to do. It sounds like the perfect time, with no minor children. It comes down to finances, however, I am curious – why would you have to support the whole family? I went through my masters program and am doing my doctorate program while working and having three minor children. It is completely doable. And I am the sole source of income for our family.
So can he work full time or part time and pick a school that meets every other weekend or two nights a week? That is what most adults supporting a family do. I have not run into anyone in this age range who stops working to get an advanced degree.
I think you working is a separate issue. Your kids are out of the house, [so] it may be time for you to do something to fill your time. While staying home to raise children is a blessing many cannot afford, it is often very good for a woman’s self esteem once there is an empty nest to begin working – a win for you! This could add to the money the family brings in, but should not be expected to replace your husband’s career. Advanced education is a privilege … a win for him! But many sacrifices need to be made on his part – meaning possibly giving up his free time on the weekends. But definitely not the money he brings into the household.

Kimberlie Zakarian, LMFT
Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy, Inc.

QUESTION: Is it important to make New Year’s resolutions? When I was about12 I used to try, and in a couple of months I realized I wasn’t doing too well at keeping my resolutions. Since I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t think it mattered whether I did or didn’t. Now, I’m in my 20s and wonder about the value of making resolutions and sticking to them.  
Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,
New Year’s resolutions have become about something we are attempting to give up in our lives rather than something we would like to add to our lives. I believe it is important to have a vision for what we choose, so we have some form of direction. People who choose to quit smoking as a new year’s resolution usually are lighting up by mid-January because a resolution by itself is a wonderful idea, but without a plan it is just an idea.
I would invite you to ask yourself, “What do I choose to have in my life that I have always wanted?” and resolve to have.
Start with a clear-cut plan. Positive resolutions are very important because they give our minds something to work with, a goal to shoot for. Keep your vision fresh before you and reaffirm it everyday.
Take some sort of action everyday to make the things you affirm happen. Making resolutions does matter because we need a vision for, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18).
I believe the law to be the law of commitment. Commit yourself to your goals, work at them daily and watch what happens. If you find yourself slipping away from your goal, make a new goal that is achievable.
What is your vision for your life? Making New Year’s resolutions are a great idea, but setting goals is a better action plan.

Rev. Steven Van Meter

Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta


Dear Just Wondering,
How cool that you started making New Year’s resolutions at such a young age! You are not alone in having not followed through on your resolutions. I think it’s human behavior to make resolutions in the New Year with the hope of at last following through “this time” on those same resolutions made in years past.
Let go of any guilt feelings about not keeping those resolutions of long ago. The New Year is a time of starting anew, thus the idea of making resolutions to improve oneself in all areas of life. In truth, every day, every moment can be the beginning of a new resolution. I prefer to call it intention.
I make out my daily list of what I intend or hope to accomplish and mark it off when done. The leftovers are continued to the next day. And instead of feeling bad about what I didn’t get done, I feel good about what I did do, and look forward to another opportunity to complete the rest of the tasks.
With the New Year looming ahead of us, I believe it is always good to write down your goals, plans, and intentions for the day(s), month(s), year(s) ahead.  By making a list, 
you are creating a focus point of intention and energy follows thought into manifestation. So by setting your intention, you are planting seeds of possibility to grow into plants of reality. You are also making a commitment to your own self for accomplishment. If there is a failure to follow through, just know you always have another moment of opportunity to set your intention towards completion.
It’s very important to stay positive and if it takes baby steps to get things done, at least you are doing it! There is great value in New Year’s resolutions.  I absolutely encourage you to start the New Year setting your intentions and goals. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
What a great habit you began years ago. Don’t give up on your self!  Continue on and 
love yourself every step of the way. You’ll be pleased with the results.

Laney Clevenger-White, RScP Religious Science Practitioner
Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta