Grocery Budget: Well, folks, I hope the stockpile is deep because we're out of grocery budget. I decided we were going organic, and spent the rest of the budget. I just menu planned for this week, and I have everything on hand for this week and next week. After that, life is going to get sketchy. I'm going to stick to a $10 shopping trip once a week for the rest of the month. That amount will cover milk, bananas, and bread. Fun times in Frugalville.
By this point, if you're a regular follower of the blog, you know that we're skipping Christmas presents this year. I promised you last week that I would share with you some of my choices for places to give financially, and I'll share another one Wednesday. Some of you have chosen to give, and I'm thrilled about that; however, I realize that some of you just think this whole plan is just nuts.
You say, "but Lisa, my kids have always gotten presents. What's Christmas without the presents?" Christmas has never been about the gifts we give. It's always been about the Gift we were given, and how we celebrate that miracle.
We sat the kids down last week and told them they weren't receiving presents this year (With the exception of one from Grandma and Grandpa Bob who have generously been giving to those in need this Christmas- and for as long as I can remember-, but still wanted to see their grandkids open something. And- ultimately- grandparents aren't held to blog posts suggestions.). At first, Carson was devastated. Sat at the table and sobbed. That was proof to me that this decision was a good one. I explained to him that he didn't need anything else. He had plenty of toys. He wasn't convinced. We talked for a while, and I wasn't getting anywhere. He finally asked who was getting his presents.
I told him that kids from the persecuted countries were going to have the opportunity to have Bibles. And that kids in the United States who were in need were going to have clothes and shoes because he was willing to pass on presents this year. And that villages in Africa would be receiving livestock with the money normally spent on toys for him that just became a mess he had to clean up. (There's probably a joke in there about the mess livestock make, but I digress.)
He looked up at me. You just have to know Carson to know the face, but it's that a-grown-up-has-finally-made-sense-cuz-they're-normally-wrong-wise-beyond-his-years face that touches my soul. "Well, Mom," he said. "Can I at least have a Bible cover when we go back to the States? I couldn't take notes during persecuted church Sunday because I lost my pen. I want a Bible cover to keep my pen." In that moment, that single moment, Carson got it. And I fell more in love with my only son than I knew I could. He figured out that our wants are not more important that others' needs. He knew that another Star Wars LEGO set doesn't make Christmas. He, in the innocent way only children can do, saw the big picture. People are more important than things. And things don't prove you are loved.
And then he said, "I also want one more thing when we go to the States." "Okay," I said silently irritated that he missed the point so quickly. "I want John Reed shoes because I don't want to forget John Reed." Is it wrong to burst into tears at shoe requests? Do you think that's the reason Carson thinks adults are off?
John Reed is a "big kid." He's a few years older than Chloe, and Carson thinks he's the greatest thing E.V.E.R. (Quick aside: Chloe thinks John Reed's mom is the greatest thing ever. Wait. I do, too.) He was always very sweet to play with Carson and include him in post-AWANA games of basketball. He's one of those big kids that your little kids look up to, and you're so thankful that your kid picked such a good mini mentor. And he wears red Chuck high-tops. And Carson calls them "John Reed shoes."
We haven't really seen John Reed since March. I think we saw them briefly at church in July, but it wasn't a visit. But Carson remembers. He remembers the shoes, but moreso, he remembers the kid. The young man who was such a good influence on him, and he wants to make sure he never forgets. He wants the shoes. And, you know what? Carson is getting the shoes. And he's getting the shoes for Christmas.
Christmas is about remembering the Gift we were given. And I want them to remember the gifts they are given. John Reed is a gift to Carson- and the shoes will help him remember.