Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

No-Spend Challenge?

While the stereotypical stay-at-home mom sits home and eat bonbons (said no one ever), I am usually out and about looking for the latest bargain. Most of the time, I’d like to think it is to find items we need, but that probably is not true.

Since all three kids are at school, it is difficult for me to be home. Being alone is not the issue, it is the quiet. Before the first frost, I could literally hear crickets. I miss my little people and a vibrating restlessness overcomes me and I leave the house.

It is true, I have found phenomenal deals on things that we need, but I have also purchased some nice-to-haves and want-to-haves too. This spendiness problem daily challenges me. One of the ways I show love to others is buying them gifts. But I can’t buy gifts all the time and ironically, I’m terrible with remembering birthdays. So I end up with a bunch of pretty awesome items that are reasonably priced, but the sheer sum is the issue.

I’m considering a no-spend challenge. I’ve heard of others doing this for either 10 days or up to 30 days. I honestly don’t know how to do it, and yes, this is definitely a “first world” problem. It seems there should be some rules – number of days, possibly some exceptions such as getting gas or food (and a fluffy latte is not food).

Ideas? Thoughts? Have you ever done a no-spend challenge? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

Love Gifts

Valentine’s Day was few days ago and as I perused Facebook, I saw many posts by people whom I love and respect that fly in the face of traditional and superficial Valentine’s gifts. These posts focused on the sacrificial giving of one person to another as husband and wife and how giving the gift of each other and caring for children was truly what love meant to them. I agree with this assessment, but as someone who enjoys receiving gifts (yes, it is one of my love languages), I challenge that maybe giving and/or receiving gifts can be important. The key is in the motivation and receiving of the gift.

I’m doing an in-depth Bible study on the book of Matthew and in my arm-chair review of this gospel, I found no recorded instance of Jesus giving a gift. (Just to be clear, I’m not counting the gifts of time, provision, or care / healing.) What I do see recorded is Jesus RECEIVING gifts. The first gifts that come to mind are those that Jesus received as a child from the wise men – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These gifts were priceless and in their given form, could not be used for day-to-day purposes. The other gift was from the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus head as he reclined at the table days before his death (Matthew 26:7-13). Again, perfume was not something that could be used in a practical sense for daily needs, it was a luxury. These two examples show that the giver of the gifts understands who Jesus is and presented the gifts to him as a way to honor him. They chose those gifts based on what he means to them.

I believe that people who give Valentine’s Day gifts, if they give with pure motives, do the very same thing. They are looking for a small token to show their love for the other person based on who that person is. Do they get it right every time? No. Is their gift supposed to make up for months or years of neglect or indifference? No, better not. But for those of us who enjoy gifts, they are great reminders and celebrations of love and honor. Are they the be-all, end-all? No. Do I respect and love my husband for the daily sacrifices he makes in caring for our children, taking out the trash, and other menial, irritating tasks? Of course. I’m grateful for the man he is and the daily servant-leadership he shows our family.

For those of you who treat these small celebrations such as Valentine’s Day like “just another day”, more power to you; but that’s not for me. I enjoy these little reminders of love we built and stand on everyday. 
What do you think? Are Valentine’s Day gifts a waste of money or meaningful to you?