What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, May 30, 2014

Finances on Fridays

 For some people (most people, maybe), being frugal is a necessary way of life.  The reason Matt can go to work every day and I can stay home is because we decided that it is so important for me to be home that we chose to sacrifice in other places...like spending.  We couldn't live our lives debt-free, we couldn't have resources enough to do things like build fence or repair barns, we couldn't feed the mouths we have to feed if we lived lifestyles like many Americans do.  So we do what we do out of necessity.  And it isn't anything to be ashamed of- in fact, I find it downright admirable.  You might only have lower class resources but you can still have middle/upper class standards.   The people I most respect and admire are the ones who live contently and abundantly with far less money than the rest of the world needs...and do so cheerfully. Those are the lives that are most beautiful and the people I most want to emulate.  But I can't help but feel like every Friday with these Finances on Friday posts I am focusing only on the one side of financial stewardship.  The cheapskate side.

The flip side of Christian stewardship is abundant giving and charity.  Of blessing and bestowing.  That side is hardly ever addressed here (and rightfully so, as bestowing and blessing is best left done in secret) and so I am afraid I give a slightly skewed perception of what financial focus requires.

Christian stewardship of ones' finances are much more all encompassing than saving a few pennies here.  It is also about SPENDING those pennies (wisely).  It is also about SHARING those pennies (freely).  It is about GIVING those pennies (to the Lord).  It is about washing ziploc bags and cutting down the grocery bill and writing anonymous checks and delivering food to people in need and even buying that mattress or the inew couch you've been saving up for.  Good stewardship is about using your time and resources wisely.

 Which is why I am going to stop doing these Finances on Friday posts. I know some of you like them- and I do too!- but I find myself sitting behind the computer more and more these days- doing good things, mind you- but not the best things.  Between these Friday posts and my Review Crew posts, I am feeling like my blog is not as happy a place for me (or anyone else) to visit anymore... it is a lot more like work.  And so I ask...is that work as valuable as other work I could be doing?  I doubt it.  So every Friday I write about how I am using my resources wisely while not using my time or resources WISELY.

I will still be working to find areas of excess in our lives, searching for and implementing ways to cut spending, seeking wisdom as we decide what to spend those dollars on or who to give them to or how to save them best.  I will just be doing it more behind-the-scenes.  I will still randomly chat about inspiring quotes, ways I discovered I could save more money or rants about my thoughts on finances here on the blog too.  I just won't be doing them every Friday.

I so appreciate your participation and the encouragement that some of you have shared with me during the Finances on Fridays.  I also very much appreciate your understanding when I have to bow out to make sure the proper priorities are in order.

 If you would like a Frugal Friday join-up similar to the one that I have been doing (but without the linky) this lady is amazing.   She is one of those inspiring ladies I spoke about a few minutes ago.

Now, for my Financial Endeavors for this last week:

* planted two rhubarb plants, several creeping phlox, myrtle, a peony, columbine and a purple lilac taproot that my neighbor gave to me.  Gave her some Loosestrife that she has been wanting in return.  (Not exactly a fair trade- but she needs to clean out and get rid of the stuff so she was ultimately happy with it.)

* Later in the week, I met my mom and sister at a nearby greenhouse/farm and saw that creeping phlox was $8.99 there.  Just the phlox alone would have cost me about $27.00 to buy!  Thank you, neighbor.

* planted basil, sweet peppers and banana peppers in the veggie garden

* spent hours outside doing garden chores.

* Dropped off a few small bags of donation stuff.

* used a $15 off/ $15 purchase from Lane Bryant to buy 2 sets of cubic zirconia earrings for $1.19 total while out at a doctors' apt. today.

* Wanted to buy pizza in the middle of the week and seriously, seriously considered it but then stood firm at the very end and made dinner.  (This is an accomplishment!)

* Didn't buy a single thing at the greenhouse that I love on Memorial Day.  Not a single thing.  (This is an accomplishment too!)

* Started (and finished) reading this book: The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom.  (I found the section on Wills/Trusts very interesting and helpful.)

And the MENU for the week:

B: homemade yogurt with rhubarb scones
S: spaghetti (ground beef, spaghetti sauce), pickles, applesauce (Matt made dinner tonight as I was off photographing a wedding.  He's swell.)

B: cereal
S: baked potato bar where everyone 'loaded' their potatoes in their own way.  Leftover black bean, corn and rice salad.  Broccoli.  (broccoli)

B: scrambled eggs
S: hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill with dill sandwich pickles, tortellini salad with artichokes and feta, potato and egg salad, corn on the cob, candied cinnamon "pickles" and strawberry air for dessert. (ground beef, hotdogs, cinnamon pickles, dill sandwich pickles, strawberry and strawberry/banana freezer jams)

B: omelets and cheese
S: lasagna (ground beef, beet greens, spaghetti sauce), leftover corn-cut from yesterdays' cobs, leftover potato salad, pickles, applesauce, garlic parmesan bread

B: yogurt, granola, cottage cheese and bananas
S: tuna fish sandwiches, three bean salad, pickles, last of the potato salad, chocolate pudding (green beans, zucchini relish, pickles)

B: scrambled eggs and bananas
S: creamy zucchini soup I added cream cheese to it because I wanted to use some up from the fridge (zucchini slices, zucchini cubes, whole potatoes), baking powder biscuits and honey

B: cottage cheese, banana, toast
S: Pizza night with carrot sticks (pizza sauce, zucchini "pineapple")

It is the end of the Use-It-Up Challenge for May and I can say I did NOT reach my goal of emptying a freezer!  I did use plenty of things up, but even without the added chicken deal from last week, the freezer is still pretty filled.  I'll continue, as I always do, to eat out of the freezer and canning cupboard every day and hopefully by June I'll be able to get it completely empty and cleaned out before harvest season rolls around.

How about you?

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