Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday--Sales, Sales, Sales...

The sale papers flooded in yesterday. There was so many sale papers, there was hardly enough newspaper to hold them all inside. I looked through them with a non-chalantness, a stand-offishness, knowing that I wasn't going to get sucked in this year.

For years I have dragged my tired, turkey filled body out of bed before the newspaper even arrived. I have anticipated the great finds that would be for me to gather and bring home. All the money I would save by making this great sacrifice...I was compelled to go. I couldn't sleep in, I was so driven by the thought that there was a sale out there and I must hunt it down and make it mine!

But not this year. I have learned my lesson. It was all a gimmick, just to get us out and get the economy stimulated. The ads are just teasers...when you finally get to the store, wait in line and fight with other shoppers who are there hoping to find that one great item for virtually free...
you hear, "I am sorry, we just sold the last one." When the truth of the matter was, the store only had one or two of that "great sale item" in stock. And now they want you to shop around the store and spend money on items that aren't really on sale.

Okay, maybe I am a little jaded--Just a little! Anyway, I stayed up late last night, knowing that I could sleep in this morning. There was no tug or pull on me to rise at 4:00am and go out into the night to shop. So at 4:00 am this morning, I was snoozing away in my nice comfortable bed, dreaming dreams that didn't involve sales or shopping.

Today I plan to do a little house cleaning, some organizing and maybe then start thinking of doing some Christmas planning. But we just celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. I want to bask in the warm glow of our Thankfulness a while longer and build up more resistance to the strong pull of consumerism that says we have to buy, buy more, buy, buy, buy...

Lauren gave me her Christmas list yesterday. I had her write down colors, sizes, prices, and places to purchase. It makes my job so much easier. Megan on the other hand...well she says that she wants an iphone or a horse...that's it, nothing else. I told her that where we live now, we of course, can't have a horse, but she insist that we could board it where she takes riding lessons. Yes, I suppose we could, if money were no issue. It cost $250 a month to board a horse.
And I don't know about you, but I can find better a better use for $250 a month in my budget. Besides, the only time she would get to see the horse is when she goes for her lessons, because it is about 25-30 miles from where we live, and with our busy schedules, going out there every few days would be impossible. So the horse is out.

Iphone...what can I say about a 13 year old with an iphone?

She has a perfectly fine cell phone with mp3 capabilities that we just purchased earlier this year. She isn't able to get an upgrade for another year or so. Even if she were-an iphone is not in play here.

I suppose I am just a simple kind of gal, and yes I have changed as I have gotten older. I use to feel like I needed to get my kids the latest and the best of everything. But as I get older, and my kids get older, I see that I was teaching my kids the wrong message. I should have taught them to be conservative and appreciate the value of the things that they already have, and not think they had to have the newest versions of everything.

I suppose they will learn that with time, and when they are paying for their own things. But God was merciful and gave me Noah at an older age, a more wiser age. So Noah will reap the benefit of my life-gain wisdom. Maybe with him I can have the opportunity to pass along some hard gained truths about trying to keep up with the latest and greatest, and maybe I can pass along to him the ability to see the advertising for what it really is...companies trying to make money--our money.

After reading the book, Your Money or your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, along with other books like Choosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce, I have changed my views on possessions and what it means to be successful.

Happiness is the measure on which I choose to measure my life. Sitting quietly with myself, looking at my life and the person I am and feeling content and at peace with myself on a daily basis is a measure I use to determine if I have been a success. Obtaining things; houses, cars, clothes, toys, trinkets, and stuff; does not bring true happiness. Trust me, I have a garage full of stuff along with two storage sheds full and right now those things aren't bringing me a bit of happiness, just stress, trying to figure out what to do with it all...but I digress...

The other day, Megan, Noah and I had been to Noah's Gymboree class and when we got back in the car I realized that my vehicle was about 9 miles from rolling over to 100,000 miles. So I told the kids we were going to roll it over. So we drove around just trying to get to the 100,000 mile mark.

I drive a 1998 Ford Explorer that we got a couple of years ago, and it only had about 68,000 miles on it then. It is in great physical shape and aside from needing cleaning out and a good vacuuming, still looks good. We have had little work done to it and it runs great. If I can remember to keep the oil changed every 3,000 miles or so, it should run for many more miles. I plan to be the one putting those miles on it. Although there is a part of me that couvets a harvest moon beige, convertable Beetle Bug. But again, I digress...

I suppose the point I am trying to make is, years ago, I would have had a problem with this. I would have wanted a newer car. Something with all the latest gadgets and that great new car smell. But I love my Explorer, you know what I love most about it?

It is paid for; I don't have to pay car notes every month. I own it out right, it is mine!! It doesn't belong to the bank or some finance company that I have to pay to drive it. It is all mine!!

Each time I get in it, I start it up and I say a silent thank you God for MY car. In fact when I drive into the driveway, and I see Lauren's 2001 Toyota Solaria and Andrew's 2003 Ford F-150, and our 1998 Jeep all sitting in the driveway, I say a silent Thank you Lord for you blessings. Because they may be older, but they are all in great shape and they are all paid for in full! We owe nothing on any of them! God is Good, All the time!!

Several years ago, that wouldn't have happened for us, simply because we had a totally different prospective about things and the meaning of success. We had bought into the idea that success was measured by our things, but we learned the hard way that when your things own you, and not the other way around, then that isn't success at all. We want to own our things and not let our things control our lives. They are to be used for enjoyment, and to enhance our lives, not to have a noose around our necks forcing us to work long hours, or multiple jobs, stressing and worring about how to pay for it all. That takes all the enjoyment and pleasure from having anything. So we determined that we would become debt free. And with the exception of lingering student loan debt, we have done it. We owe for nothing more than our student loans.
Thank you God for you provision!

I don't know how this post got so out of hand. I started it just to say a bit about Black Friday shopping and here we are several paragraphs later. I suppose this is a subject that I feel strongly about and once I get started I have to make myself shut-up.

I suggest that you all get these books I have mentioned earlier. I put a link to each one on Amazon. You can get them used for less than $5.00 each. They are a great inspiration for anyone looking to simplify your life or just change your attitude about success and possessions.

Enough of this rambling today. Hope each of you has a great weekend and you remember to take time to enjoy some simple pleasures that life has to offer and you express gratitude and thankfulness every day.

Today's Thoughts
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak
~Hans Hofmann~

Enough is what would satisfy us if the neighbors didn't have more
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough
~Charles Dudley Warner~
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things
~Robert Brault~
Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude
~Denis Waitley~
I will leave you with a funny thing that Noah said yesterday:
He was playing around, bumped his elbow and he was fretting when he came to me to kiss his Booboo.
After kissing it I asked,
"Did you hit your funny bone?"
He thought a minute and replied,
"No, I hit my sad bone."

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