This weekend was very special to me. My older sister Holly and my mom came to visit from Utah. There was a lot of visiting late into the night, eating yummy food, taking pictures, coloring, pretending with paper dolls and taking drives around Wisconsin. I will cherish the memories we made!
On my family’s last day here, we went shopping. My mom works very hard as a third grade teacher, the president of a women’s organization and a mother to her children. She has little time to go shopping. Holly is a wife, mother of four and a first grade teacher to 61 students. She, too, has little time and interest in shopping for herself. So you can imagine that going shopping was a treat for all of us.
As we walked into a department store in the mall, my sister just wandered around.
“I would never to stop and shop here. Everything is too expensive.”
My mom and I continued to look around and started to add articles of clothes into my sister’s arms. She followed us around with her pile of clothes in her arms and a deer in the headlights look on her face. At one point I looked at Holly and she looked completely overwhelmed. I started to laugh and realized that she was not enjoying herself. I suggested we take what we had found and try it all on. Once we got into the dressing room she was able to loosen up and we started to find some pieces that looked really nice and had the right price tag. We made a plan for each clothing item to work in many different circumstances and seasons. Every purchase was considered carefully and slowly. Eventually she chose four items that she was willing to buy, with apprehension.
“I think I might be able to find this shirt somewhere else for less,” Holly said.
At the register, a kind lady started to ring up the purchases, and after each item except one, she scanned a 20% off coupon and my sister started to feel much better about her decision to get the clothes. =)
“I could do a happy dance right now.”
We were all very pleased with the surprise discount that we were not expecting. Watching my sister struggle to feel like she could buy herself clothing made me realize that my family has adopted a sense of frugality that was started a long time ago. I have pioneer ancestors who worked hard and made beauty and wealth from very little. The popular quip “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” is a principle that is at the foundation of most of our decisions, and I am glad that it is.
My grandfather would wear shirts until they literally had holes in them and he wore swim trunks that he had worn as a teenager in his 70s. He could care less about the fact that the clothes he wore may be out of style; they still covered him up so why get a new ones. My grandmother processed her fruit and vegetables that they grew themselves and sewed her children’s clothing for years. My mom always taught me to take care of everything I had so that I could enjoy it longer. Another grandmother kept things in boxes and took meticulous care of what she had so it could be passed down to her family. This legacy of frugality is inspiring, and I am starting to realize how material- driven the world is. And I easily get caught up in it too.
I had a mentor and friend who told me about her grown daughter calling crying about not having anything to eat. I thought for sure that my friend would relate how she transferred money into her daughter’s account or came over with a load of new groceries, but I was wrong. Instead she asked her daughter if she had flour, baking powder and a list of other ingredients. Her daughter affirmed that she did have each ingredient and my friend told her that she did have food then because she could make biscuits. What an incredible lesson to teach her daughter…and me! Sometimes we sit in misery because we don’t have what others have, but in reality we have more than enough if we would get creative and work a little harder. Scarcity fosters innovation, and although I love the physical abundance I enjoy most of the time, I certainly want to be capable of making do with what I have and being grateful for it.
For me, getting what I want right now is not worth debt or not having the things I need at a later time. There are plenty of things worth waiting for and sacrificing for. I may not have all that I want right now, but I have all that I need right now and the hope and peace of a secure future. I know that if I am a good steward of what I have been given, God will give me more of what I need. I know that my righteous desires will be rewarded at the right time.
I hope God will pour good gifts upon you today and always! Have an abundant day!