Proverbs 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
While the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas often brings out the best in all of us, it can also remind us of what we can't give. I have a list of things that I would LOVE to get the kiddos; none of which are in the budget. I don't know about you, but there have been so many times in the last few years where we were just flat broke. Not "I can't go to Starbucks until tomorrow" but "Crap, the water bill is due TODAY or they'll shut it off at 5pm." That kind of broke. It happens to most of us. But if I've learned anything in the last two years, it's how to 1) make the best of literally every kind of situation and be content in it and 2) make it work for our family. Here's my list on the latter.Proverbs 15:17
Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.
If you've still got the utilities on, then clean. like. crazy. Dust, vacuum, mop the floors like your pastor is coming over. Fold all of the laundry - and put it away. Clean the windows. When you're sitting, overwhelmed by paying the rent, at least feel good about the house you're paying on. Make it as clean and organized as possible, and you really will feel better.
2) Use what you have the most of.
This could be anything from burning the "good" candles to using the "fancy body wash" to cleaning with extra paper towels because
3) Organize your cabinets.
This does a multitude of things; it reminds you of how much you actually DO have. It also lets you find stuff. I've found extra spices, popcorn packages, even whole bags of tortillas that got smushed to the back of our cabinets (don't ask; it's a weird shaped cabinet) that could be added to the menu. Do the same for your medicine cabinets, linen closets, etc. You'd be amazed at how much better you feel.
4) Start giving things away.
If you've got any extra stuff that someone can use, now's the time to purge it! The Bible promises that those who are generous will be blessed. You also feel like a million bucks when you realize that what you've had in the back of your closet is the miracle someone has been waiting for. There've been many times where Hubs and I had nothing financial to give, but we were committed to being a blessing, so we gave of what we had: our time. I cleaned out Jminator's closets and gave away the extra. I cleaned out our pantry and gave away anything we weren't going to use. We volunteered at the church. We gave of everything we could, and by being the miracle to someone else, we witnessed a few miracles for ourselves as well.
My favorite thing to do while I'm at home is to play Pandora and have dance parties. I do it when the kids are cranky. I do it when I'm cranky. It helps. Play Jesus Culture; play Three Dog Night - it doesn't matter as long as you're dancing!
6) Do things that are free!
Parks are free! Walking outside is free! Going to the mall, gardens, farmer's markets, and free events are... Free!! Eat before you go, and take snacks so you're not tempted to buy anything. Bring a picnic lunch to a favorite sunny spot. If you don't have kids, make a fancy dinner and take it elsewhere. While I realize that sometimes going to a park takes gas, walking there doesn't take anything except the shoes on your feet: and if you've got the time/stroller/means, hoof it!
7) Examine your habits.
Ok, so this isn't the most fun of all the ideas, but maybe it needs to happen. Sit down, go over your bank statement, and figure out how you got here. Hubs calls it, "nickel and diming it" for us. We don't make big purchases. For us, it's the extra drive thru at Arby's, the drinks and snacks before we go grocery shopping, or the lunch/dinner on Sunday because I'm "too tired to cook." I understand cooking is tedious: I cook three times a day, seven days a week. I think in some ways I feel entitled to a "day off" and will suggest it. Hubster follows suit, and before you know it, we've spent $75 extra that month on eating out. Is it an obscene amount of money? No, but $50 is a lot when you need it and don't have it.
8) Do "the things."
You know what I mean: the stuff you bought for a project and never started or finished. Clean out the garage; trim the hedges; weed the flowerbeds. Finish making the things you never finished.
9) Treat yourself.
This comes as an addition to #2. Mommas, put the kids to bed and take a bath, paint your toenails, or use the cool scrubby stuff that you bought to improve your skin but never get around to using. Do some self pampering. While it isn't a day at the spa, any time that you can give back to yourself pays in dividends later.
10) Pray. Pray like crazy. Pray that you can learn from your mistakes. Pray that you can be a blessing to other people. When you go to the park, be a blessing to the kids that maybe don't have a parent around to push them on the swing. Be extra nice to people you meet. Be the person that you need to see/hear - especially to your better half. Odds-wise, ladies, if we're stressed, they're stressed too. They just don't say it because they don't want you to worry. Pour into your husband in every love language he remotely speaks,
11) Get off of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else.
Stop comparing your life to everyone else's. We all have those friends whose lives seem to be perfect. They always seem to have a crazy amount of money, they're always on vacation or going somewhere to eat that cost all the dollars. Stop comparing your life to their highlight reel. Not everyone posts their bad days on FB; I try super hard to only post the positive stuff, but we all have the bad times. You will live a life on envy and discontent if you compare yourself to someone else.
I understand it's hard to have a lack somewhere; I have a list of things I'm believing for (and really need) that's a mile long. But, really, every day I go without one of those things and survive reminds me of how much I have that I need to be grateful for.
Cheers, Mommas. God is good!