As a girl I was enchanted by the Little House on the Prairie books. My great-grandmother passed on her set to me; they were yellowed and tattered when they came to me and I read and re-read each one until pages were falling out. Laura's life was so attractive to me. She explored woods and played with paper dolls and swam in creeks and made maple sugar candy. And she was perfectly content. I remember wishing that the world was still a place where oranges and cakes were delicacies and people were happy to eat mere bread and butter when there was nothing else. The simplicity and yet fullness of this lifestyle was attractive to me even as a child.
Sometime in middle school I told my mother I thought I would be really good at being poor. I don't know what we were talking about; probably something related to living a simple lifestyle. My lovely mother is the queen of the simple life. She's got it down. We were probably talking about how she makes her own chicken stock or uses bread ends for croutons or doesn't buy paper towel or something else amazing that she does. I saw such value in these practices from a young age, and carried along the assumption that it would all transfer seamlessly into my own life.
Surprise ending: It didn't.
This is partly because being poor didn't seem like a real possibility to me. I grew up fully expecting to one day stake my ground in the upper-middle-class world. Little daydreams about pinching pennies and living off of soup were merely daydreams, more fascinating than they were serious.
But now here I am, and the truth is I really stink at being poor. And it has taken me a long time to figure this out. Growing up with one socioeconomic status and landing in another is a confusing journey of replacing old habits and being really honest about where you are. It's hard to walk into a grocery store on a tight budget and ignore all of the Kashi-organic-superfood-crazyexpensive goodness screaming your name. When I was single it was easier to pretend I could afford things like that, since the only person my budget affected was me. I spent a few years in college attempting to maintain the lifestyle I desired, thinking, "I'll tighten my budget when it really matters."
But here's the problem with that: when "it really matters" your old habits will still be in effect. Your flesh will still be patterned to react a certain way. If you are used to ignoring your bank account and buying whatever you want, you will do that even when it really matters.
My hope in writing this is to encourage you, whoever you are, to think about you and money. Are you pretending to be in the "it doesn't really matter" place right now? Are you trying to live above where you can afford to? Do you spend money when you know you shouldn't?
Think about these things. Ask the Lord to reveal to you why you mess up, because habit is involved, but it is ultimately a heart issue. Maybe you are medicating your life with new things, or doubting that God is good, or believing that you are in control of your life, or trying to win the approval of people. When you begin to understand which lie your heart is believing, the burden will be lifted and habits can be changed.
So for me, this:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. [1 Timothy 6:6-10]
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light. [Psalm 36:5-9]
are what I want to soak in this week.
And I am actually going to put into practice something I saw my mother doing; buying and eating a rotisserie chicken and then using the rest to make chicken stock. I found this great tutorial and plan on using this clever method
to store it! Look how cute, little soup muffins. You freeze them, throw them into a bag for storage, and grab a few in the morning to put in a thermos for lunch. Perfect right? Yes, this is me getting excited about soup-freezing methods. It's the little things.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sometimes morning sun can't shine bright enough to pierce through last night's tears.
Sometimes the very saddest of songs aren't a sufficient match for your sorrow; the loveliest song grates against the stubborn grains of your heart.
Sometimes you get stuck thinking in what ifs and why nots and how comes and why mes.
Sometimes old insecurities, once beaten, rise up again til your blood races inside charged veins and breath escapes you.
Sometimes the Enemy whispers and snickers and deceives and suffocates and contrives his way right into your very mind.
But always you are a child of the Most High God.
Always you may take refuge in His arms.
Forever He will be your defender, your shield, your fortress.
Day after day He promises His plans are detailed and perfect and good.
Without cease He will fight for your soul and heart and mind.
You. Are. HIS.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I've got the vacation bug. Thanks Pinterest.
If budget allowed, I'd totally pull a Yes Man and run to the airport to buy the first ticket out. (Which, from NOLA, would almost certainly be Atlanta. So...maybe the second ticket out?)
Maybe my surprise ticket would take me here...
Gondolas! Yes. Perfect. I know Venice is supposed to be an overpriced tourist trap that is overcrowded and stinks like pee. But whatever! Let's do it.
Or this? I think I could be about it. I mean..I guess don't really know what it is. Some sort of little modern caveman resort hut complex? Super. I'm in. Leaving tomorrowww!
Or this bench. It's in France. So, that right there should be enough. Look how perfect it is. I just want to go sit on it. I bet wonderful things happen when people are sitting on that bench.
I'd also be quite content to wander around the English countryside and
pretend I'm Elizabeth Swan do some exploring. I'm very fond of walking.
Sometimes I get caught up in the everywhere-but-here excitement of vacation dreams,
and I forget that this
is right in my backyard.
And as you can see from that last photo, we have a pretty good time in Wal-Mart, so...we're gonna be just fine.