Shifting my perspective

I can’t imagine receiving manna from heaven and complaining.

Lord, we’ve been eating manna FOREVER! Can we have some lunch meat, please? And send down a jar of mayo while you’re at it…this bread is so dry! 

Okay, so I’m paraphrasing the children of Israel, but you see the point. 

My thoughts go to impoverished countries where they literally eat the same thing every day and are thankful. Variety is not important to them; having food at all, no matter if it is the same thing, is what’s important.

A little bit of perspective goes a long way in our consumerist society.

Last night I ate a dinner that was entirely provided–minus the butter and onions–by friends who blessed me with fresh eggs, cheese, bread, and herbs.

Wow. Talk about being spoiled…

Each bite was a sweet reminder that God’s given me some great friends and friends who are generous at that.

It also reminded me of our brothers and sisters around the world who don’t have access to food as readily as I do. Some of those brothers and sisters live in my backyard.

They are the chronically homeless.

They are the families who live paycheck to paycheck.

They are recovering drug addicts.

They are down on their luck war veterans.

They are the disabled who just need some help.

I am hanging out with my neighbors each Thursday and my perspective changes as I see what true struggle looks like.

My friend, you and I are blessed.

And it’s not about having all the coolest toys or the latest and greatest clothes. It’s not even about making the most money. 

My perspective on what it means to be blessed is changing.



Packing, purging, and processing

I’ve done a LOT of purging over the past 3 years, but it’s amazing how much stuff one person can accumulate.

Deciding what to keep and what to give away or sell can be tough. I wanted to share with you my technique for purging.

  1. Is this item useful?
  2. Who gave it to me?
  3. Can this thing be easily replaced, if needed?
  4. Why do I like this item so much? (If I can’t seem to shake my desire to keep it after the first 3 questions.)

Christmas is already a time when I start to sift through my possessions. Being a stingy hoarder is something I guard against vigilantly. This kind of attitude smacks of fear and ungratefulness and the highest level of selfishness.

Add to Christmas time my upcoming move (it’s a month away) and I’m about in full blown purge mode.

I only have one rule when moving: Everything must fit in my car.

I realize having a family will change this rule. The day will come soon enough, though, when another vehicle–maybe a trailer or truck–will be needed to move me. So, for now, I am sticking to my guns on this…

My bend toward minimalism is another big factor in keeping my stash of possessions at a manageable level.

We need to question what we own. It’s a telling picture of what matters most to us in life.

I’m not one of those people who rants and raves about the woes of capitalism and consumerism and how the two are intricately linked (which they really are, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

I just know that my value system in regards to possessions is being radically changed because of the gospel.

I also know that most people have never stopped and ask themselves critical questions on the subject either.

In light of all these things, I’ll leave you with two questions to think on:

What are the guidelines you use when purging?

What questions do you ask yourself when making a purchase?



Lessons from Toyland 

Toy stores are overwhelming. 

I took my little sister to Toys R Us to buy her a birthday present. 

Thank goodness she knew what she wanted! (Even though the toy looked weird to me at first). 
You could get lost in there. 

I just wonder if it’s healthy for kids to be bombarded by so many options at such a young age. 

Even with parental guidance it’s hard for a kid to navigate the world of entertainment, especially because every company wants kids to grow up with their merchandise. 

Brand loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. And that’s why companies target children. 

Like anything in life, how strict you are as a parent will always be under scrutiny. I don’t have any children yet, but I watch families closely. 

It’s the best way to pick up the dos and don’ts of parenting. 

Kudos to all parents though–no matter how strict or lax in other areas–who monitor their kids’ toys. 

I learned quite a bit from my trip to the toy store about how hard it is to provide educational and fun toys for kids without sacrificing their little hearts in the process. 

North American Problems

I believe Dave Ramsey was the first person I heard use the phrase “That’s a North American problem.” His platform is devoted to helping people get out of debt. Of course, money is the biggest resource lacking across the globe, especially in third world countries.

This leads me back to North American problems…those of us in North America rarely find ourselves lacking.

Now, I understand that there’s a lot of people who really struggle to make ends meet. However, even those citizens who fall below the poverty level are still considered to be some of the wealthiest in the world.

All of these thoughts were swirling around my head as I was faced with a frustrating dilemma: cancelled my book order and I had pre-ordered six weeks in advance.This is a perfect example of a North American problem.

So would Starbucks not having your favorite drink flavor or having to wait in a long line to return an ill-fitting blouse to the store.

Most of our modern day conveniences—which we perceive as our right to have—are not readily available across the globe.

This is not meant as a slam against anyone.

I love hot showers, gourmet coffee, and electricity as much as the next person.

What I am learning is that my true needs are few. Many of the items on my “needs” list are merely wants—justifiable as they may seem.

Don’t go into the holiday season feeling condemned because Audra is a meanie.

Just don’t take for granted the blessings in your life.

I’m guessing that your closets are full, your electrical outlets are overloaded, and your pantries are stocked. That’s a huge blessing in itself!

It’s my goal this holiday season to get my mind off the need to buy everything. Sure, stuff can be useful, but I’d much rather focus on the people who are most important to me.