Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

Money vs. Health: my struggle April 28, 2016

Filed under: Money — Kris @ 2:46 pm
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We used to belong to a gym. Yep, you heard that right. Used to. We had a family membership to the local Y. For a time, we went regularly, particularly the kids and I. But then life got busier, time got more occupied and the Y was less frequented. So, in an effort to save money and use our resources to pay off some debt (at the time), we didn’t renew our membership.

And my body has paid for it. You see, for every financial decision we make, there are good and bad consequences. No consumer debt = good. No exercise = bad. When we were members at the gym, I at least tried to go and “get my money out of it.” Tried. But then, I just didn’t.

Now, Racer and I have talked about needing to re-join the Y. But I’m having a hard time justifying the money for a family membership when we still are trying to build our emergency fund. We have other financial goals that those fees would go toward.

But in a physical earlier this year, my doctor and I agreed that I need to move my body. While my health “numbers” are ok, the direction of my health is going the wrong way.

So, save money or go to the gym?

So what’s a girl to do?

The answer really came to me in stages. Walking was a good start. Then my health insurance sent home pedometers with a cash earning program for reaching certain step goals. Then a morning devotion focused on the theme of “move” really hit my heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139.14

Yes! But if I am wonderfully made, how is my physical state living that out? Am I honoring God’s careful creation of me? I want to do that, thus I need to care for my physical self.

So, then the wrestle comes. How do I manage my money, my time and my physical self in a way that is pleasing to God and still keeps me on track for the goals our family has? How do I balance the need for exercise with the need to save money?

You see, it’s not just the gym membership that costs, but it’s also the gas to drive there as there is no location that is convenient. So how do I find something low-cost, that fits into my schedule and is convenient. I mean, why can’t I have it all?

Well, God helped. Just a week later, in my morning devotion, the theme was “walking.” Walking with God, walking God’s path for me in life, walking in God’s presence.

12998453_1136367073075192_6725095061062340834_nSo, I’m walking. Walking with friends. Walking in the morning on the days I drop kids off at school. Walking. And while I walk, I have my ear buds in, listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast and True Stewardship podcast (and a few others) so that I can also stay motivated on my financial journey! Win win right?!

I also found a couple of free apps that lead me through a bodyweight style circuit. You know, push ups, jumping jacks, lunges… that type of thing. Totally free and does all the timing and instructions for me. So that’s good too.

So, gym membership money gets to stay reallocated to savings goals AND I’ve found a way to get in free exercise. And for accountability, I text my dear friend for encouragement.

You may have a conflict in goals – money vs. ?? Maybe its money vs. quality time with your spouse. Maybe it’s money vs. “making memories” with your children. Maybe it’s money vs. a need for relaxation. Each decision we make has consequences.

Perhaps, though, there is another way. Perhaps, there is a way to do both. Maybe not how you imagined, but still a way. Think creatively. Think outside the “normal” box. Ask God for help. It may come in pieces, but it will come.

I’d love your encouragement and ideas for other “free” ways to exercise! Please share your struggle, journey or thoughts in the comments below.

Also, remember to sign-up to join me for a morning make-over (affiliate link) starting May 1st!

 

And Now I See May 7, 2011

I FINALLY went to the eye doctor this week. I’ve needed to go for a long time now, but no vision coverage and being broke means that mom takes a back seat to the kids’ needs. When we moved, I had a couple of contacts left. I was on my last pair and then got an eye infection. That meant that the glasses went on.

I never, well hardly ever, wear my glasses. I just don’t like wearing them. I much prefer contacts. Well, after my eye cleared up, I didn’t have any contacts left, so I had to keep my glasses on. I could see, but not nearly as well. When I would go to the eye doctor and my prescription changed, I would just get new contacts, knowing that my glasses were always “just a back up.”

So three months have gone by and I was finally able to get myself into an eye doctor. Wrestling three small children into an eye exam room is no fun. Add trying to see an eye chart into that mix… let’s just say I’m amazed that we even got the exam done.

So now I have my complementary pair of contacts from the doc. Man I can see so much better. I knew my glasses were several “upgrades” old, but I didn’t realize HOW bad my vision was. I’m so glad that I can now see.

It struck me that my eye experience resembles pieces of a Christian faith walk too. We worship regularly, have God moments in which our spiritual sight is fine-tuned and clarified. We’re doing well.

But then something happens – a hurt, an illness, a sin, a doubt – and our vision is blurred. We may not fully realize how weak our faith has become. How blurry the line between holiness and sinfulness has become. We think we can see just fine.

Then the Holy Spirit intervenes. We get a “check-up” and the scales are removed from our eyes. The Spirit reveals how cloudy our vision has become. We rejoice over our renewed God-sight and repent of the blurred vision we lived in.

As I have enjoyed a day of clear, crisp sight, I fully long for clear God-vision where I can fully see myself and this life as He does. And I rejoice for each time that the Holy Spirit has revealed to me just how bad my vision was (even if those appointments were difficult to get through).

(By the way, I got a great deal on my contacts through Coastal Contacts. Just under $20 a box and that included shipping! “Like” their Facebook page and get a code for 20% off your first order. Use the link above and I’ll get bonus credit too!)

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent February 5, 2011

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 9:23 am
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Homemade Laundry Detergent – Simple, Easy, Fast, & Effective.

In my quest to live more frugally, simply and environmentally friendly, I decided to try my hand at making my own laundry soap. With as much laundry as I do, anything that’ll cut that cost down is wonderful. I used the “recipe” linked above because it really was fast and easy. Effective, well, I’d have to try it first.

I also saved more money that the article/recipe says. Since Racer stays in a LOT of hotels, he’s always bringing home the hotel shampoo, soap, lotion, etc. The lotions are great for the car, diaper bag and purse. The shampoos we use when we travel. The soaps I’ve had a harder time figuring out a use for. Not any more! Instead of using a regular bar of soap (4.5 oz), I used some soap slivers we had in the tub and shower (need a good use for those too) and added in some hotel size soaps too. I just guesstimated the amount so it looked about the same size as a regular size bar of soap.

I also used my food processor. I put the soap in first with the blade attachment and turned it on for about a minute. Then I added the Borax and Washing Powder and turned it on for another minute. I stored my double batch in mason jars.

When I washed my first load, I did use 2 tablespoons full. Since we have kids and Racer’s work clothes, I usually use the amount for “heavily soiled clothes” anyway. We get our clothes pretty dirty. So I washed and dried and the clothes came out looking no different that normal! I’ll use up this batch and probably will keep going. Since I use “hotel soap” and the little soap slivers from the shower, I feel like I’m being even more frugal. All I have to buy is the Borax and Washing Powder!

This recipe is a keeper! Try it and see what you think.

 

Marriage and Money January 24, 2011

Those are two words that often start a fight. Most marriage fights are over money. I’ve experienced that kind of fight plenty of times. I used to be a spender. Big time spender. Even when I was a kid. My mom and dad like to tell a funny story about when I went shopping for pom pon camp and wanted to buy something like 20 pair of underwear for a 5 day camp. So yeah, I was a spender.

Back in early 2007, though, Racer and I went through a small group curriculum at our church. The Biblical Financial Study from Crown Financial Ministries was exactly what we needed to start thinking about money in the same way. We learned what the Bible said about money and how to use it to bring glory to God. As a married couple, we were faithful in tithing, but not in how we used the rest of our money.

Part of the reason Racer and I argue about money is because we grew up so differently in our families. Our parents were and still are very different in how they view and handle finances. Different upbringing and life learning led us to very different ways of wanting to handle finances. Going through the Crown Financial study allowed us to finally have the same foundation from which to work. We were finally on the same page and ready to move forward. The arguments lessened.

While we are grateful for that foundational knowledge, Racer and I needed some more practical financial information to use that still had a biblical basis. Dave Ramsey had what we were looking for. As a Christian, we know that he holds a Biblical view of money management and use. He also had the practical “how to” kinds of information that we needed. Dave’s 7 Baby Steps helped us get a plan together. We kind of had it and knew what to do, but having someone else lay that out affirmed what direction to go. It also helps eliminate the argument because we have both agreed to “work the plan” so to speak. The arguments lessened.

We also realize that it’s not really our money. It’s given to us to use and get what we need for our family. In those discussions of need, Racer and I have had to come to terms with what our “wants” versus our “needs” are. Most things are wants. Sure we need transportation, but the kind is mostly a want. (BTW, I will disagree with DR here and say that sometimes, it is necessary to get a loan to purchase a vehicle. In an ideal situation, people would have enough saved up to pay cash for what they need/want. For most people, the situation is not ideal. Because of family situations, we have to have at least one vehicle that is very reliable. Thus a loan on a “new to us” car was born.) Sure we need clothes, but where they come from and how many is a want. Sure we need food, but steak is a want. I think you get the picture. The arguments lessened.

Sure we’ve had setbacks. Lots of them. Bouts of unemployment are no fun. Roofing repairs, hitting a “cy-hoe-ty,” ice storms, babies… all these and more put a hit in the budget and set back financial plans. The good thing is, we know what to do. Go back to step one and start all over. The arguments lessened.

Racer and I still argue. We even still argue about money. It’s a LOT less than it used to be though. We both have a better understanding of where WE want to be – not where I want to be, or where he wants to be, but where WE want to be. Not all of our decisions are right. Looking back we’ve made plenty of bad ones that we are still paying for. Not every future decision will be right either, but what is important is that we are learning. We are learning together. Working through money issues has made our marriage better. So many divorces happen over money. For us though, money (or lack thereof) has made us stronger. And really, it’s not the money, it’s God’s work in us through the use of money. For God’s work, I am eternally grateful.

As the first month of a new year, and new budgets, comes to a close, I for one am looking forward. I’m excited to see our debt go down and our giving go up. I’m excited to see how “God Math” will work in our lives this year.

 

Lovely Baby Shower November 15, 2010

A couple of days ago, I was the recipient of a lovely baby shower.  The church my family attends was the host.  When I was asked if they could throw a shower for us, I was really surprised!  It’s our 5th child, we have sooooo much we’ve saved and we have only been attending for about 2 1/2 months!  Such unusual circumstances for a shower; at least that’s my thoughts on it.  Surprised as I was, I said yes, because the church is so excited to have a new baby in their midst!  At the shower, I found out they haven’t hosted a baby shower in about 6 or 7 years – so they are REALLY excited.  Far be it from me to deny them that joy…

When I was asked for what we might need, I was kind of stumped.  I just answered “consumable kinds of things” but was asked for a list of stuff.  As I created my list, I thought of all the stuff we had and what new babies really need.  I’ve learned to be pretty frugal over the last couple of years – especially over this last year.  I’m still learning and have a lot of things to still learn.  New moms sooooo over guess what they need for the first baby and end up with a lot of stuff that isn’t really necessary or that they hardly ever use.  Since we had the major stuff (crib, sheets, blankets, car seat, stroller, toys, gender neutral clothes, gender specific clothes) this was the list I gave:

  • Diapers up to size 2
  • Wipes
  • 4 and 8 oz drop-in bottle liners
  • Baby wash, lotion, powder
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Bibs
  • Socks
  • White plastic child size hangers, with and without pant clips
  • Diaper Genie refills
  • Flat changing pads
  • Advent bottle nipples, larger size, stage 1/slow
  • Baby bathtub

We had bottles, but the nipples were well used after 2 babies and thus some new were needed.  I’m fond of bottles w/drop in liners because you need far less bottles, the collapsible liner minimizes the air baby takes in and they are far easier to clean up.  I do plan to breastfeed, but I’m not sure how long, so we do have bottles on hand.  As for the Diaper Genie, I have found that using a plastic grocery bag works just fine to wrap a dirty diaper in and toss in the regular garbage, but Racer likes to use the Diaper Genie, so we have one.  Since I’m the one home most often, one DG refill lasts us a pretty long time.  With the changing pads, we have a washable one that I usually have on the changing table, but having a package of the disposable kind is handy for when the other is in the wash.  We do use the disposable ones until they are dirty.  We did get one package of socks; add that to the few we have still and that’s plenty for a newborn.  I prefer pants/rompers with feet in them anyway because baby ALWAYS kicks off socks and they get lost anyway.  But we do have some outfits that don’t have feet in them, thus socks are necessary.  I just don’t like matching socks…  We did get a few bibs and that will be plenty.  I did have to toss after Gorilla was done with them – 2 babies w/milk stains was just too much for them.  Some stayed good and with the new ones, we’re set.  We did get diapers, wipes and a few items not on the list too.  A beautiful baby photo frame was a great gift that we “needed” for the precious first picture.

I say all this for those new mom’s that might be out there looking to register or for those of you that will buy baby gifts in the future.  Please be practical.  I once asked a friend and seasoned mom to list her “must haves” for a new baby.  Her response?  “Boobs, blankets and diapers.”  Minimal is best at first until you know baby’s size, how you’ll really function day-to-day and what you actually might use.  Too many new mom’s get newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  I will never again buy those sizes for a baby gift.  If I do, it will be something like a sleep sack that is 0-6 months.  But really, there isn’t much need to register for small sizes for outfits and such.  And, if there is a plan to have more than one child, I highly recommend registering for gender neutral stuff.  Then you have it ready for the next baby.  No real need for baby towels or wash cloths – regular ones work just fine.  New babies don’t take that many baths anyway.  Diapers and wipes?  Go for the big refill wipes box over the individual boxes.  And don’t be afraid to buy the store brand.  Often store brand diapers are 1/2 the cost of name brand diapers.  I find that they generally work the same and at the cost and amount gone through right at first, quantity is important. 

The shower had for me on Saturday was small and simple.  Minimal decorations, no games (yeah!  I think most are silly), a simple cake and snacks and punch.  What was a blessing to me was that in our new home – away from all our family and close friends – we had people who wanted to celebrate with us!  God used our new church family to provide for the basic needs of the baby, but he also provided people to help us celebrate.  I missed having family and good friends there, but I know that this baby will be loved by a new church family just as out other children were loved by our “old” church family. 

I’ve seen feelings get hurt over baby showers, people get bent out of shape by “having” to host one, and moms-to-be get stressed out over guest lists.  Really, in the end, it is about celebrating a new life – a gift from God – and helping a family provide for the initial needs of a newborn (a sometimes overwhelming prospect).

So, for those of you planning a baby shower, registering for a baby shower, trying to be frugal while having a baby or just helping celebrate a new life, think minimal, practical and CELEBRATE!

P.S.  Don’t overlook “non baby” things like gift cards to local take-out restaraunts for the first few weeks mom and baby are home or gas cards for dad’s trips to/from the hospital.

 

Swagbucks October 7, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 6:48 am
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So, I do Swagbucks.  It’s a really easy way for me to earn some free stuff.  I choose to earn the Amazon.com gift cards, but there are A LOT of things to choose from.  Some people have asked me what Swagbucks are.  Here’s my take on it.

Swagbucks is a search engine that randomly awards “swagbucks” to you for doing online searches. There are also daily ways that you can win sb’s – taking a daily poll, downloading and using the SB toolbar, clicking through (but not filling out) that day’s “no obligation special offers” and checking to see if you have any eligible surveys. Taking the eligible surveys can also award you swagbucks.

Some people really go all out trying to win swagbucks (the points awarded). I don’t. I do the daily things (takes about 1 minute) and then go about my day like normal.  I have Swagbucks set as my home page and I have downloaded the toolbar.  When I want to go to my “regular sites” like email, Facebook, message boards, blogs, etc., instead of typing in the address or using favorites, I just type the site name into the SB search box.  Everyday I earn sb’s for at least one, usually 2, of those sites. If I’m doing a search on something, I don’t use google, I use the SB search box. I try to make it easy.  We also have four people using the same computer, so I have also asked my family to use the SB’s search box instead of going to another search engine.  Sometimes they let me know that they to have gotten “some of those bucks things.”

I also check in for surveys that I can take.  Those are totally hit or miss and sometimes you start one and get kicked off.  No biggie.  People who are REALLY into Swagbucks go all out in doing the special offers and such.  I’ve done a few, but for the most part, I’m not interested in signing up for stuff, earning the sb’s and then cancelling.  I don’t have that kind of time or brain power to keep up with doing something like that.

You can also connect Swagbucks to your social media account like Facebook.  On occasion, you will see a special “code” that can be entered onto the homepage for additional sb’s.  The codes are hit or miss too as they do have a time frame.  Some people do a really great job of hunting for these codes.  Me, if I get one I get one; if not, no big deal.  I do appreciate a good code, but I’m not going to spend all day searching for them. 

So as you earn sb’s you’ll see the number accumulate in your toolbar.  You can use those sb’s toward any of the items in the Swag Store.  When you have 450 sb’s, you can “cash them in” for a $5 Amazon.com gift card. It’ll take a week or so to be delivered via email.  You then just load the gift card # into your Amazon account and your ready to go!  This is what I prefer to do as I can then use what I “earned,” toward all kinds of stuff.

If you decide to join, and use my referral link  (please), I will also earn the first 1000 sb’s that you earn. That helps me out. If you have people join under you, you get to earn the first 1000 sb’s they earn. It helps accumulate sb’s faster.  Some people go crazy trying to get referrals as it does help you earn more faster.  I’m trying to be upfront about this to you so you know that you are not just earning for yourself, but also for the person who “referred” you.  Here is my link if you would like to use it – Kris’s referral link.

So, that’s my take on Swagbucks.  Thus far, since the summer, I’ve earned about $40.  Not a ton as I know people who earn that amount in one month.  For me though, it’s “free” money that I’m not doing a lot to earn.  I just search like normal.  The big thing is remembering to stay logged into the SB toolbar and using Swagbucks as your search engine. 

Let me know – do you do Swagbucks?  If so, what works for you?  Enjoy your swagging!

 

My Attempt at Homemade Yogurt October 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 12:09 pm
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My kids and I really like yogurt.  We like flavored yogurt the best, with vanilla and strawberry as top universal flavors.  I’m getting tired of buying it though, because I don’t buy it unless it’s on sale and I have a great coupon too.  The hassle of watching the sale/finding the coupon is getting too much for me right now, so when I read The Frugal Girl’s post about making yogurt I thought I’d give it a try.

So, on Saturday, I tried.  Here’s the recipe from The Frugal Girls’s blog – How to Make Homemade Yogurt.  Blue helped me that day (reluctantly) since I wasn’t sure this baby belly would allow me to lift and pour pots and hold jars and get the cooler out of the barn/shed, etc.  So during nap time, we went to work.

I did boil/sterilize my jars and next time I will have 5 jars ready.  There was a lot of temperature watching.  I think since it was my first time making it, I was overly watchful of the temps.  They are important, but I wasn’t sure how fast the milk and water would reach the temperatures necessary.  We did make the vanilla yogurt (using a vanilla flavored “starter”) and I would suggest adding the full amount suggested, if not a little more. 

The biggest hassle was the pouring.  I forgot about the suggestion to pour from the pot into a pitcher and THEN into the jars.  Pouring from the pot into the jars was a mess – I spilled everywhere!  Had I not made such a mess, I think I would’ve needed a 5th jar anyway, so I guess it all worked out.  I just hated to have had the waste I did. 

After waiting the 3 hours and putting the jars in the refrigerator, we tried some with dinner.  It was still warm and a little too runny, so not the best.  After curing in the refrigerator for a day, the yogurt was MUCH better.  Sorry, I just don’t like warm yogurt.  The vanilla taste was slight, but there.  Today I had some with granola in it – YUMMY!  I also bought frozen strawberries at the grocery, so smoothies are on the menu at some point.

Overall, will I make it again?  I think so.  I want to try to up the vanilla flavor, use a pitcher to pour into the jars and heat the milk up a little higher then cool it a little lower.  I think the heating/cooling will help make it a little thicker.  After reading some of the comment and suggestions from other Frugal Girl readers, I also think I’ll use a different brand of starter. 

It is WAY cheaper to make it than buy it (especially since I used a gallon of milk purchased with WIC vouchers).  The taste is good, the time is no different for me that what I took to search for sale/coupon combinations to make it reasonably priced anyway.  Occasionally, I would catch a deal that made the yogurt free at the store, but my new grocery doesn’t double coupons, so those “free yogurt days” are gone. 

I shared about my yogurt adventure – your turn!  Have you ever attempted homemade yogurt?  If you have, what was your experience like?  If not, try it and tell me about your experience!

 

Friday Food Plan September 10, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 9:38 pm
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I went grocery shopping today.  Inspired by The Frugal Girl and my friend who twice this week asked what I was fixing for dinner (her hubby even asked), I thought I’d share my shopping adventures and a sketch of what we’ll be eating this week.  I have really found that planning my meals for the week around what is on sale SIGNIFICANTLY helps my family eat for less.  Also, I’ve just discovered Aldi’s and, after only 2 weeks of shopping there, think I’ll be saving quite a bit.  Feel free to let me know what you’ll be eating too!

Here’s what I got at the store today:

 

Aldi’s Total:  $40.38  Purchased:  laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, corn flakes, head of lettuce, 2 loaves of bread, bagged lettuce mix, 3 boxes crackers, 2 bags bananas, 8 oz block cheese, butter, ranch dressing, baby carrots, shredded cheese, tortillas, tomatoes, flour, jelly, mayonnaise, sour cream, powdered sugar, jar of peanuts, 2 dz. eggs

Food Lion Total:  $11.36  Purchased:  chicken leg quarters, 2 2-ltrs Coke, 2 jars spaghetti sauce, grapes, salsa  WIC:  4 gallons milk, 2 jugs juice, 1 loaf bread (added value of $19.70)

Here’s what I “think” I’ll be making this week for at least one meal of the day.  For breakfast and lunch, we usually have cereal, toast, leftovers, sandwiches and lighter stuff on hand.  I have several things on hand in the pantry/freezer, so not everything for the week was purchased today.  Also, in our “preschool at home,” we are learning about the letter Cc, so we will be making a LOT of cookies this week!

Chicken Quesadillas with fixings

Chicken Parmesan (of some sort), salad

Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon

Meatless spaghetti, salad, homemade bread sticks

Baked Chicken legs, corn, salad

Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, grapes

Grilled chicken breasts, rice, ??? (can you tell chicken was on sale the last 2 weeks?)

I’ll probably end up making chicken salad for sandwiches at some point too.  I’ll also be using a gallon of the milk to try – for the first time – making homemade vanilla yogurt!  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Anyway, tell me what your plan is for next week!

 

Weird Eaters and Lentil Soup July 14, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 8:45 am
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My kids are weird eaters.  I don’t get it.  They LOVE chicken nuggets and all that unhealthy kids stuff that we parents feed them when we are busy and need something quick.  My youngest 3 are TOTAL bread eaters too.  Rolls, biscuits, bread sticks – they want to eat that and nothing else when we serve it.

When it comes to healthy stuff, they are picky as all get out.  No tomatoes, no corn with 2 of them, no peas with a different 2, fruit is a mixed bag (seriously, they end up exchanging mixed fruit pieces…).  Making a meal that is healthy and that EVERYONE like is a challenge (and that includes Racer, he is the most picky of them all)!

So tonight for dinner, I made Lentil Soup with dumplings.  I used this recipe with some modifications – Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Dumplings.  I didn’t have carrots or celery, so I left those out.  I only had dried onions, so I used those.  I used whole wheat flour.  I’m trying to save money, be frugal and clean out my pantry (since we will FINALLY be moving) and I’m using what I’ve got!

So I made it and the little kids LOVED IT!  Gorilla and Girlie – who typically love bread stuff – wouldn’t touch the dumplings, but had 2 bowls of lentil soup.  Blue said she like it – and that was after a hard day of weeding the flower bed.  I had 2 bowls with dumplings.  We put either parmesan or shredded colby-jack on it because we are a cheese loving family.

I’m not sure how Racer and Professor will react when I make it again.  I think both will like the dumplings (which turned out GREAT – far better than the last time I made them).  I guess we’ll just have to see.  Anyway, I have enough lentils left to make another batch before we move.  I’m glad to have found something healthy that most if not all will eat.  I’m sure if I put the carrots and celery in though, that will ruin it for several (what’s this stuff?), so I think I’ll just leave those out from now on.

Who knew cleaning out the pantry and lentil soup would be so good?

P.S.  As I was cleaning out the pantry, I also found multiple un-opened jars of baking powder, opened cans of spices and lots of things that I never use.  We all need to go through our cabinets like we are moving every once in a while.  You never know what you might find.

 

Empty Wallets and the Empty Tomb April 4, 2010

Filed under: Money — Kris @ 4:51 pm
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I have some “friends” right now that are in dire straights.  I say “friends” because I don’t know them in real life.  I only know them online.  I’ve never seen their faces, I know them by screen name (usually I can connect a real name) and I don’t even really know where they live.  Yet, we know some very personal things about each other.  We are all struggling financially in one way or another.  Most have experienced job loss due to economy, some are without employment for 2 years.  Some have made bad decisions in the past, have been paying “stupid tax,” were tight before the job loss and now with job loss are in a total bind.  Some have better perspectives, some don’t, most waver depending on that day’s circumstances.  What we all have in common are empty wallets. 

Most of my “friends” struggle with paying bills – credit cards they’ve lived off of when first unemployed, medical bills after having lost insurance from being unemployed.  Being creative with a food budget is a necessity and often selling household items brings needed gas money.  What I love about this particular group of women is that there is love, support and no judgement.  As different as this group of women is, we have one thing in common – we all have empty wallets.

Since today is Easter, I have of course been thinking about the empty tomb.  Without the empty tomb, there would be no hope.  Without our Risen Lord, there would be no redemption through the cross and eternal life through the conquering of death.  The empty tomb we celebrate on Easter Sunday is a symbol of hope – hope that our trials here on Earth are simply temporary struggles that will one day be gone.

I think an empty wallet can be the same thing.  I’m not talking about an empty wallet that needs refilling by a trip to the ATM.  I’m talking about wallets that are truly empty, along with the bank accounts that fill them.  I’m talking about wallets that are negative because the next $xxx going in are already allotted to bills that are past due.  When wallets are that empty, we can no longer live on our own accord.  There is no longer security in knowing that we can work hard enough to buy the things we need, think we “need” and want.  We can no longer live in a false sense of pride that we are somehow faster, smarter, stronger than the next and we are “blessed” more than others.  Being blessed is such a relative term.  When our wallets are echoing empty, we have nothing left but hope that our Father will provide for us. 

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”’  (Luke 12:22-31, NIV)

Let us rest in the hope of the promise through scripture that God knows what we need and will provide for exactly that.  Let us find the hope of our Savior in the echo of our empty wallets.

 

 
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