It never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to pay for a house...or a car...or a dress for their daughter's wedding...or a cake for their daughter's wedding...OR THEIR DAUGHTER'S WEDDING!
We see people in the news who spend more on their car than I did on my first house...or every house since then for that matter. I see wedding dresses for thousands and thousands of dollars when I know for a fact that you can buy one for under $1,200 -- beautiful, classy, well-made fairytale wedding gowns. I know this because neither one of my girls spent more than that. One was a princess dress with puckers and poofs and one was sleek and fitted with the back cut to the waist. And they were absolutely beautiful brides. And this is the craziest part: YOU'RE ONLY GONNA WEAR THAT GOWN FOR ONE EVENING AND NEVER PUT IT ON AGAIN! By the time you get to your 25th wedding anniversary, you'll pull it out, get depressed because you can no longer zip it, and decide to get rid of it. Come on now, you know it's true!
I don't know if it's because I grew up in a household that ran on a shoestring budget or that I made just $2.00 an hour at my first job, but somewhere along the way I realized that money didn't grow on trees. I'll never forget my mom picking us up from school and we'd all go to the grocery store and she'd purchase groceries for that night's dinner with the $3.00 my dad had given her that morning! You cannot even buy a pound of hamburger meat for $3.00 now, let alone the entire meal. Of course, it stands to reason that people who have tons of money don't need to think twice before they drop $100 on one steak for dinner. But, I mean, is there any steak out there worth $100? I think not, and I've eaten a few good steaks in my time. Growing up we were regular patrons of the local library -- well, the bookmobile in that day, where a portable library would make stops in neighborhoods where there was no library, and that's how we got our summer reading. We loved books but we couldn't afford to buy them. I still am a faithful user of my local library!
I probably can attribute my frugal mentality to my sweet daddy. At the funeral the pastor (my brother-in-law) kept lovingly referring to my dad as "cheap," for which my sister kept correcting him, reminding him that daddy was "frugal." And she'd be right...there is a difference. There are those who have plenty of money but because they're afraid of losing that money, they're cheap and won't let go of it. For. Anything. Whatsoever. Frugal people have the same mindset no matter how much money they have. There is only so much money you should pay for an item, and that's that. No compromise. That was my sweet daddy. He would not agree that something was worth more than it was, that is, until my mother wanted do do something for one of their kids, and she won out every time. Daddy became a real softy when it came to his family. But generally speaking Daddy was very frugal and that is why I can probably attribute my "thrifty-mindedness" to my dad. I never ever pay full price for anything, because I saw how he could stretch a dollar and growing up we always had everything we needed and some things we just wanted. Even into my dad's latter years, he would go to the grocery store and take two or three hours shopping for the best deals. I'm not kidding! I also shop for the best price on an airline ticket, for the best prices on anything for my house and the houses we renovate, for the best prices on my clothes and shoes, and, yes, I still frequent the library every single month!
I've heard it said that by the time you learn how to be a good parent, you're out of a job...the kids are grown and off on their own. I also think that's true of learning a lot of life's lessons. It's taken me years to realize that a big ol' house is nice when you have company at the holidays, but it can become a burden every other day of the year when you're having to keep it up. Ditto for a lot of other things people think they "need" in life. I mean, how many cars or boats can you really drive or ride in at one time? And don't even get me started on shoes. My shoes are at an all-time high right now because I need to dress professionally for work, but that comes in at a cool 15 pair, and that includes winter boots and summer flip flops (it's true, I just went in my closet and counted them!).
I've been thinking about my dad a lot since he passed away. I learned many great things from the man who gave me life and took care of me, even into his last days. He always wanted to know if his kids needed anything and there is nothing he loved more than taking us out to a big dinner. I think of his frugality now with endearment, but there were times growing up when it totally irritated me. But he knew something I obviously did not, that money did not grow on trees.
But now we have the Dollar Tree in most small towns. And it amazes me that you can go into that store and they will take one dollar for an item and actually a pretty good one if you're willing to look. So that brings me back to my lipstick. I am such a believer in lipstick making me look better that I actually would pay up to $10 for a tube that I really loved. But don't even talk to me about $40 tubes. Why should I pay one penny more when I've found one I love at the dollar store? And a few other things as well, I might add.
Nowadays I think money just might grow on a tree...at least at the Dollar Tree anyway. I think Daddy would agree.
"My parents valued books, but they grew up in the Depression, aware of the quicksilver nature of money, and they learned the hard way that you shouldn't buy what you could borrow.”
― Susan Orlean, The Library Book
Every family has issues.
Whether it's something as simple as sibling rivalry or as serious as substance abuse, every family has them. I believe that family is forever and is the crucial foundation for a society that is lacking in so many moral issues these days. So we take family and embrace it with everything we got...the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the crazy along with the normal, and the tiny moments in between that make up most of our days. Family is everything and forever.
It's been six months since I last blogged. Christmas a year ago was ushering in a new year full of unknowns for me: my health; my marriage; my work; and my securities as I had always known them...I must confess it was a time of great hardship and sometimes utter despair and confusion. I didn't know it at the time, but I would also lose the man who brought me into this world in the coming months. The past six months have found me striving to be in a better place. I've been working hard trying to get healthier, making better choices for my life, and deciding what I want to do when I grow up (!!!), while at the same time trying to maintain family connections and connections with friends who are like family. And, believe me, you drag all those people through the mud with you. But isn't that what family is all about? Six months of praying, pondering, crying in the nights and facing doubts in the days left me a broken person but a person with a desire to be whole again. It's been a time of hurting and healing, tears and laughter, and immense soul-searching. After all, Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything under the sun. I hope to share more about that at another time.
But back to family. My siblings and I have joined the club this week of 'no longer having our parents with us.' It is a club we didn't want to join because we are so blessed to have had the best, loving parents. We have absolutely no choice who our parents will be when we come into this world and, if you're blessed enough to have a mama and daddy who truly love you, well, then you're very blessed. And our family really can't complain because they were with us longer than most people get and, as we laid my father to rest this week, we felt such love and peace remembering the sweet times we had with him, the joy and goodness he showed his family, and the promise of being together again some day on the other side. It's so wonderful to be able to say that and to truly believe it in our hearts.
My father believed in family and there was nothing more important to him than family. Everything he did in life was secondary to his family. He was not a greatly educated man, but he had the knowledge and wisdom of what it meant to have family and to be family and to cherish family. If me and my siblings were ever at odds, he felt the need to help us mend it. If he ever thought he'd hurt one of us (which he never did), he was troubled until he knew everything was in harmony again. His relationship with my mom was far from perfect but he loved her unconditionally and longed to be with her again in his last days. I believe he is with her now and that makes me smile. I believe my dad was ready to go be with his Lord. My family was in a peaceful place and he was ready to say goodbye because he knew that we were all okay. My brother saw him Christmas Day, and me the next. He was waiting on my sister to get there and, when she arrived on the 27th, it wasn't long before she kissed him goodbye for the last time. There is no greater connection than to share blood with another human (or make babies with them!). If you are estranged from a family member, I implore you to make it right. If you tend to take your family for granted, I urge you to learn to cherish them no matter how rotten they may be. We have no promise that we will get one more day together on this earth, and we must live like today is our very last one.
As for the new year that is upon us, I am looking forward to the new year with hope and anticipation. I feel inspired to write again and I owe that to my sweet daddy because he always always always supported me in everything I did and made me feel valued and worthy of someone who has something to share. I pray that your year will be a year of blessings, hope, and new beginnings for you. I pray that you will see the value you have as person in this great family we call humanity We have a fresh new set of months and weeks and days and hours to dream and improve and move ahead and make better and , even though this year ended with having to say a hard goodbye for me, I say hello to the future, and all its beautiful possibilities.
And I plan to keep family closer than ever because another year will be over before we know it. Here's to family, friends, and all the love our hearts can hold in 2020 !
For all the wonderful friends who have sent me condolences for the passing of my father, I sincerely thank you. Many of you have shared memories of my father from many years ago...how kind he was or something he did for you that you've never forgotten. I am so honored to have had a father who people remember in those ways, and it makes me love him even more.
"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
- Proverbs 22:1
Posted by CC
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