Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photo Book

Shutterfly was offering a 40% discount this week on photo books, which was just the kick in the pants I needed to finish up our 2010-2011 "yearbook." In case you're dying to see it (which I know you are!) check it out here:
Visit to create your own personalized photobook.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Spending Fast: What we learned, and what we didn't.

It's now April 18th and I realize that I haven't posted any 7-related thoughts in awhile.  Nor have I given any kind of summary/recap on March's spending fast.

That's because I'm a slacker.  Plain and simple.

Here's what I learned on the spending fast:
1. I like buying stuff.  Conveniences.  Luxuries.  Pick-me-ups.  Caroline-related stuff.  House-stuff.  Not being able to do that for a month kind of sucked.  However, the discipline disrupted my rhythm and gave me the opportunity to pause and offer up small prayers of thankfulness for what I already had. 

2. Other than a couple of deep drive-thru urges, I didn't miss eating out.  The option was removed from our dinner options, and I hardly thought about it.  I was surprised by that.

3. I'm a lot less content with what I have than I thought I was.  While on a daily basis I usually don't covet bigger houses or nicer cars of private planes, I do desire a lot of smaller items.  And I buy them often.  It was hard to say no to those things for a month.  Especially when they seemed useful or reasonable or a good deal.  I can justify all kinds of spending, let me assure you!  Forcing myself to be content with what I had for a month was a sobering window into all the little areas where I'm not content, and all those times I just buy something to fill that little hole.

4. I look forward to future fasts.  The disruption of "normal" was so good for my prideful, irresponsible, me-centered little soul.  Although giving up things was difficult, gaining a little more thankfulness and a little more empathy for folks who have no money to spend is so much more important. 

5. We are quicker to give when we know there's extra money to do so.  I desire to be the kind of person that sacrifices her own comfort and luxuries to be help people who really need it.  Homeless folks.  Widows.  Orphans.  S.ex slaves.  The hungry and desperate and scared.  People who need to hear about Jesus.  But most of the time, I pay only lip service to that kind of sacrifice.  It's a bit harder to part with our cash when we know we've got a big credit card bill coming in the mail.  But when we spend less on ourselves, it simply frees up some resources.  In March, I don't feel like we got "there" by any means.  I don't think there is a "there," and if there is I'm very, very far from it.  But I know personally the wealth that I have in Jesus, and in light of that I want to be the type of person that's quick to give to others.  The month of March was a small nudge in that direction.

What didn't we learn?
1. How to have a happy medium.  Now that we're well into April, it's clear that it's all too easy to fall into spending cash without giving it too much thought.  It's fun to consume, and spend, and get this cute little thing.  And harder to stop and say "thank you, Jesus" in the process.  Jesus, give us wisdom in our finances, the ability to pause and be grateful, and an extra dose of contentedness.

I'm grateful we're not striving to earn favor with God.  It's obvious that we would fail at it every single day.  Praise Him for his sweet and tender grace, and the compassions that are new every morning.  And I pray He continues to work in our hearts to draw us nearer to Him, ugly and stumbling and twisted thought that path might be.  He is faithful.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maybe you didn't know...

But sidewalk chalk?

It isn't for doing this:

Or even this:

But, rather, one needs to pick up each piece ...

and load them into one's arms.

(The chin comes in handy.)

Then walk down the street.
0412_0430 0412_0470

Basket, shmasket. Who needs that?

When, inevitably, a piece or two fall out...

One must stoop and pick them up.

Then, of course, others fall in the process of re-loading, and those need to be picked up once again as well.  It's a vicious cycle.

But thank goodness for chins. They really are helpful for such work. 0412_0473