A Bit of Business~
Grocery Budget Update: I am pleased to report that this month is over, as far as grocery shopping goes. I shop on Fridays. Next Friday is September 30, or the last business day of the month. My budget will start over that day. Our total for September.....$577.37. That, my friends, is total victory. Definitely over the $550 goal, but so doable. We have made the decision to up the budget to $600 for October. Why? Because Tony wants yogurt. And if the guy who makes the money wants yogurt, we add yogurt money to the budget!
House Fund: The September numbers are not completely finalized because the family CFO hasn't ok'd them, but it appears that we were able to put 137% of our housing goal aside this month. God is too good to us, and we continue to look for ways to use His money the ways He would have.
New Money Stuff~
Three months from today, Christmas will be over. Pretty crazy. Normally by now, I have the bulk of my shopping done, and I am waiting for those really great deals stores offer the few weeks before Christmas. Currently, I have not a single Christmas present purchased. I think I'm going to mostly pass on it this year. And, there's more.
I'm asking everyone who buys us Christmas presents to skip it this year. That's what I want for Christmas. I want you to take the money you would normally spend on my family, and give it away this Christmas. Give it to someone in need, because we certainly have enough. You can pick an Angel Tree child (or 4!). You can give the money to a local food bank. You can serve at a soup kitchen instead of taking the time to look for presents. You can put it all in the Salvation Army containers. You can purchase livestock or schooling through Samaritan’s Purse. It doesn't really matter to me. As long as it doesn't come to us. And it's given in love.
My family has been blessed beyond measure. We need no more stuff. We know you love us so we don't need the gifts to prove it. If you must do something for us, send us an email and tell us how you decided to spend "our" gifts. Tell us how you blessed someone else.
Now I'm sure some of you are thinking that my kids are not going to be too happy. They already have Christmas wish lists going. Lists filled with LEGOs and Princesses and Electronics galore. I will have one item under the tree for each of them. I still want the smiles and bright eyes of Christmas morning. But they don't need all the stuff for that. They don't need dozens of presents to know the magic of Christmas morning. They will be surrounded by people who love them and whom they love.
I have no doubt that the kids know the true meaning of Christmas- the gift of Christ. This isn't about artificially returning the focus to Christ. Our every day- every breath- needs to be lived in gratitude and worship of that eternal Gift. This is about quieting the noise of stuff and allowing the joy of contentment to speak to our souls. About experiencing the blessing of seeing those in need receive what would have been mere excess to us. This is about training children, and adults, to know that people and time and love are of far greater value and far shorter supply than anything that could possibly fit under a tree.