Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waste-Not Want-Not

The other morning when we were about to leave for church, Ansley walked up to me with big, bright eyes and said "Look!" while holding out a quarter for me to see. I said, "Oh, that's great Ans. You found a quarter!" She nodded, "Can I use it to help pay for our van?"

Bless her.

Recently we entered back into the world of car payments, and Patrick and I have apparently been talking about how it is affecting our "not-so-disposable funds" more than we realized.  Just the week before when Addison was talking to her Nana on the phone, she shook her head, shrugged her shoulders and said something like, "Nana, I just don't know how we're going to pay for our van."

Out of the mouth of babes.

Patrick and I jokingly said we should start watching what we say in front of our kids because they pick up on so much more than we give them credit for.  What were joking, tongue-in-cheek comments like, "If you keep eating out at all these nice lunch places, I don't know how we are ever going to pay for our van..." or "maybe we should re-think our Atlanta Braves/American Girl weekend that we were considering since we now have an unexpected car payment..." turned out to be much more dire in the minds and hearts of our sweet girls.

We got a good laugh out of it for sure.

Then I started thinking about it more reflectively,  and I changed my tune a little bit. I think it is good for our girls to hear us talk about real stuff. I think it is healthy for them to know that we have financial limits and that we have to think about what we spend our money on, how we give to others, and how we need to save for special things.

Since Christmas, we have been reading the Kit Kittredge books that go with Addison's American Girl doll. I LOVE them, and I now love Kit almost as much as Addison because of her unique story and perspective. A little girl growing up in the Great Depression, she has to hear difficult stories of hardship from her family. She learns how to be creative and resourceful, and she still finds a way to give to and help others who are in much worse situations than she is. She learns from her frugal Aunt Millie to adopt a waste-not/want-not mentality and finds new uses for old things.

I am definitely not comparing our situation to Kit's family's, but Addison has learned so much through reading about her.

In James Dobson's Dare to Discipline, he suggests that we sometimes do unintentional harm to our children by loving them too much... by giving them things they don't even know to ask for, by making the world too easy for them. He suggests that you grow through having to wait for something you want; you grow through mistakes and setbacks. I agree with him

When I think about fruits that I want to help my children produce, I think about thankfulness, graciousness, and benevolence. Maybe, living a more intentional lifestyle with the way we use money will help their little hearts more than I ever realized.

Other food for thought:

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Regift That Never Was...

We've all regifted, right? Surely I am not alone here. After we got married and had 5 covered pie plates with no clue of the store of purchase for return or exchange, we added them to the gift closet and pulled them out for occasions where we were invited to a 7th cousin twice removed's wedding. No shame there, right?

I always was a little bit nervous though--double and triple checking for "evidence"--like a calling card or stray wrapping. I always made myself feel justified by writing a thoughtful card and presenting it with fun packaging.

Sigh. If only that were the subject of this post--getting caught regifting...

Nope. Have you ever given a gift that showed evidence of being a regift but actually was purchased--by you--for the recipient???

Well, that's just humiliating.

Our upstairs closet outside of Ansley's room is our entertainment closet, our camping gear/picnic closet, and our gift closet. Gifts in here include future gifts for our kids for upcoming holidays, future Birthday party gifts for the girls' friends and family, books that I buy in bulk from Scholastic, and gifts that our kids have previously received that we have hidden away for rainy day fun.

You know what I am talking about, right? After Birthday parties or Christmases where your kids have received 6 coloring books, 4 dress up outfits, lots of Melissa and Doug crafts, and squinkies--Oh the squinkies... Too much stuff, and you just.don' So I usually stack them up and hide them away and pull them out when another coloring book has been filled up, or a dress up dress has ripped, or it's raining... and my kids are about to tear the house down... and I need to settle them into a painting craft, or when Maggie has eaten squinkies...

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was pulling out a gift that I had bought for one of my favorite soon-to-be-1-year-olds, and I wrapped it all up, presented it to her, and when my friend pulled it out for her daughter, a slip of paper fell out of the baby doll that read, "To Ansley, Love Grandmama."

I GASPED. A low, gutteral, groan followed. Of all the times I had gotten away with re-gifting, I got CAUGHT on a fluke innocent mishap. I went up to my miscellaneous closet, saw the gift from Grandmama for Ansley that I had hidden away for an opportune time, and surmised that that tag had fallen into this babydoll.

Oh, the horror.

Thankfully, my gracious friend laughed and listened to my crazy explanation. I don't know how she could have believed it.

I still can hardly believe it myself.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Tender-hearted Tears

Snuggled up on the couch--still in our pjs and covered in blankets--I felt Addy cling a little closer to me and felt some moisture soak into my shirt. I lifted her head to see tears streaming down her cheeks. She shyly whispered, "Mom, I think this movie is making me cry."

I nestled her back into position against my chest, held her a little bit tighter, and allowed some of my own sympathetic tears to fall. She was watching the film, the Lorax, and she was touched deeply by the plight of the Lorax his friends who were having to leave the forest after a final leaf fell.

Then I realized that this little person was feeling empathy--naturally, in a pure form that couldn't be taught or explained.

I thanked the Lord for the way that He is forming her tender heart and allowing her to really embrace how she feels. Then I thanked Him again for allowing me to slow down enough to share this moment with her. It was a good day.