Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hard Candy Christmas: Frugal, Wise, Or Am I Just Plain Cheap?

Yesterday at the grocery store I listened to the cashier and the bagger talk about buying Christmas presents. "I've still got to buy presents for my husband's brother and his family. I don't know what I'm going to get them but I'll have to wait until I get my paycheck cashed."

To that the bagger replied, "My mom has put everything on her credit card. She will be fussing about it when the bill comes!" They both laughed and the cashier looked at me and said, "Well, I guess there is no way out, what are you going to do anyway? It's Christmas."

I smiled at her and said (What was I thinking? I should have just poked myself in the eye with a sharp stick!), "My family isn't giving gifts to each other this year that cost over $25. We don't have any little children . We decided that we just don't need anymore stuff. We only buy for our immediate family, not the extended family because they all live out of state and shipping is just too expensive. We would spend more on that than presents. "

She stopped dead in her tracks, mouth slightly open as she stared at me, "No presents over $25? None?" "None. We took a trip to see my daughter at Thanksgiving and we are using the money we would have spent on presents for paying debt and to increase our savings." She narrowed her eyes and grunted, "That doesn't sound like much fun. Don't you think ya'll will miss opening lots of presents on Christmas morning? I would hate that."

I replied that I didn't think that would be a problem as we had other things planned for the day and that just being together would be enough. I took a minute to try to explain how important it was to us to get out of debt and for our children to understand the concept of living a debt free life, not to mention learning to put the idea of having so much "stuff" in it's proper place.

I was met with nothing more than a look of annoyance and a muttered " Well, I guess so, but it sure doesn't sound like Christmas to me." As I walked away I think I heard the word cheap muttered by someone. I left the store feeling a little chastised to say the least. I loaded my groceries and on the drive home questioned our decision to forgo so many presents. Am I wrong? Is a Christmas without lots of presents somehow not Christmas at all? Am I indeed being "cheap"? Should I feel ashamed that I'm not loading the space under my tree with beautifully wrapped, put on the credit card, presents?

By the time I had reached home I had calmed down enough to answer the question with just one word. No.

Why should I be ashamed of living within my means? Who created the idea that spending money you don't have is a virtue? And why did I even have to think twice about it being one? Old habits die hard.

Somewhere along the way we have been made to think that we should identify our self worth with the stuff we possess. I want to change forever the way of thinking that says I need to be ashamed of not being able to afford something. I want to instill in my family the idea that saving for what you want, or just for a rainy day, is a virtue. Now that, that is a gift worth giving.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful Blogs: Junk Mail Gems

Some people just seem to think in a different way than the rest of us. I love the blog Junk Mail Gems because Gretchen is one of those cool people. Right now she has some really cute recycling ideas for the holidays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dolls To Make

There is still time to make one of these adorable dolls for your favorite little person. A handmade gift is a gift from the heart.

My Tree

Clearance garlands bought 2 years ago for $2. Free chandelier crystals from my sister. Thrift store ornaments and a brand new 4.5 ft tree bought for $11.00 to replace the 7 ft one that I don't have room for this year. I love my little Christmas tree.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

New Orleans

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in New Orleans with our daughter. We had a wonderful time. We saw so much it is hard to know what to post. I'll start with the St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. People have been worshiping on this spot since 1718 and this building was completed in 1794. The cathedral faces Jackson Square where a statue of Andrew Jackson stands. Inside the cathedral is breathtaking. The murals are exquisite and the stained glass is fabulous. Even the gift shop is beautiful! Afterwards, we treated ourselves at the Cafe du Monde. The cafe opened in 1862 and is famous for it's cafe' au lait and French-style beignets. We did some shopping in the French Quarter and some more sight seeing. There are beautiful enclosed courtyards at the homes along Chartre street. It is interesting how many people live right in the middle of the all the businesses. New Orleans is a beautiful city full of interesting sights and people. I have more pictures to share., including some great ones of the local graveyards. We had a wonderful time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sky May Or May Not Be Falling

I think some people are born being a pessimist. The glass is always half empty. Everything in the world is preventing them from finding their way in life and trouble is right around the corner.

I've been there, done that, and got the tee shirt. I work everyday, every single day, to overcome it. I've driven my family crazy worrying about their safety, their happiness, their health. As crazy as I have driven them, I've driven myself even closer to the edge worrying about them, and worrying about things that may or may not happen in my own life.

I saw a funny sign the other day: "Don't tell me worry doesn't work. 98% of the things I worry about never happen.". That has to make you smile. There is humor in truth when you finally see it.

If you turn on your television, or radio, or surf the internet, or go anywhere in public, you hear the talk. The fear that the world as we know it is coming to an end. Maybe it is. Maybe it needs to. Maybe it is supposed to. All I know is that there is someone else in charge of things. He promised us a long time ago that he would take care of us, not forsake us, if we would just have faith.

Matthew 6: 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What will happen tomorrow? I don't know. Will it be bad? Maybe. Maybe not. Am I going to worry? Probably. But I'm going to try hard to have faith that one who knows and cares for me is in charge. What happens is for my own good and no matter what, the sun will still rise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Can you find these hidden pictures?

One of the things I loved as a child was Highlights magazine. My mother kept a subscription for awhile and I kept the old copies for years.

Some of my favorite memories are of curling up on the couch with Highlights. I would compare my own drawing skills with the ones of the kids who were lucky enough to get their pictures published, read the poems they wrote and try a few of my own. Goofus and Gallant never failed to teach me that manners always matter.

My favorite had to be the hidden pictures. I loved it because they made it hard enough that it was a challenge. Yes, there is a lot to be said for paper in hand when it comes to learning. But isn't it wonderful that almost anything you want can be found today through the wonders of the internet? I found one of my old favorites to share. Do me a favor, if you ever find those scissors, or that megaphone, let me know.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What I Saw: Fog At Midnight

I could not sleep last night. I have been sick all week with a touch of the flu. My congestion got the best of me and I just could not get comfortable. Pepper decided that she needed to go out around midnight. I walked out onto our porch and into an eerie fog shrouded night. I thought it would be fun to try and capture a few shots while I waited on her. The technical aspects are poor but I just like the feel. The black and white one has a lonesome feel to it.