Tag Archives: living generously

living generously

[Sorry for the radio-silence on Monday. Major internet-angst here. I am constantly- and I mean this whole heartedly- flabbergasted at how invisible things like air cards and wi-fi(s) and broadband(s) can cause so much trouble and heartache and time-suckage. Flabbergasted.]

Lost somewhere between blaring alarms and bloody gums, there was a beautiful story of faith last Monday.

It started, remember, when we decided to give a friend our used high chair.

And it continued when we decided to buy them a new high chair.

And it peaked when we bought them the best high chair available.

Not because they needed it or because they would name their dog after us, or even because we see these folks all the time… we don’t. Option A was all that was asked for and all that was needed, truly.

But the JOY on my child’s face when she got to PICK the prize. “Which one, Rylie?” If there had been a purple one, that would have been her choice. Perhaps she liked the baby on the box, I don’t know. But I gave her the choice and I followed through and I was rewarded…

once with her thrill of giving

and twice when the clerk announced it was radically on sale

and three times when the family was shocked to get something different

and infinitely when my oldest was literally bouncing off her seat on the way home, re-living the whole experience.

I want to live generously

And I don’t mean giving the most expensive or the loudest or the most often.

I mean giving, generously, and feeding the joy that comes from surprise and spontaneity. Listening and watching for needs around me. Giving time, giving money, giving kindness.

I mean I want my children to be disciples, not donors.

I mean I don’t want to always look for the tax credit or file receipts… though those things are holy and responsible and often available. But, sometimes, it’s just about giving- no expectation, no explanation.

A couple months ago, Curt and I were blessed to be invited to a small retreat in Lake City with friends and mentors. The purpose, simply, was to talk about money. What did we think about money? What did we do with our money? How did we grow up thinking about money? How do we want our kids to grow up thinking money?

I thought it was about boosting the 10%, you know? I thought it was sitting down, looking at finances, and figuring out the budget again. I though it was numbers and straight faces and making it hurt… because giving should hurt a little. It should be uncomfortable. If it’s not uncomfortable then we probably aren’t giving enough.

Eh?

It’s what we think, right? It’s the measure of Doing It Right these days.

I don’t like it.

They don’t, either.

There was no sales pitch, no forms, no requests to increase our tithe. It was simply a retreat for us, as parents and friends and adults, to examine the role money plays in our life and to see if there was any room for improvement. For bring joy back into giving. For  modeling a healthy and easy attitude towards the dollars that pass through these hands.

I spent a very short 24 hours listening to stories about moms who didn’t want help and parents who were paralyzed by faulty charities and men who wanted to learn how to down-size… they wanted to learn how to not up-size. Smart, right?

Lots of learning for me. So much learning. Lots of tears, from everybody. It was lovely.

And, more importantly, it has changed the way we live with and think about money.

It is not about the hurt, it is about the joy.

May it bring me nearer to the cross.


I’m not kidding.

In the year of our Lord, 2013, on the 10th day of the 6th month,

(Monday, People. This past Monday.)

I loaded my children in the van and headed West.

After 35 minutes of bliss tempered by Babe on the DVD, we stopped at Meijer to buy a gift. Our friends, you see, had just returned from a land far, far away with a new babe and were in need of a highchair. I offered our own, but an evening of Abby throwing spaghetti quickly solidified her need of meal-time restraint for a few months more.

A NEW high chair, we all squealed! It will be a surprise!

Now, you are aware that Meijer is frequently the setting for Mulder miracles-

there was the incident with the fish,

and then the lady in the parking lot,

and who can forget Pam?

This morning would prove no different.

Abby

There were 2 choices: a minor choice and a major choice… and I left it up to the eldest. “Which do you pick, Rylie? Which one should we bring?”

She, of course, picked the major choice… because she is of my genes.

At the checkout, the kind teller rang up our purchases: the highchair, 2 bags of m&ms, a box of baby wipes (ABBY JUNE) and some emergency bananas. He sang out my total.

I tilted my head.

“Erm… did you beep the highchair in the cart here? I didn’t put it on the conveyor belt.”

“I did.”

*blank stare*

“Well, can I just see the receipt to make sure?”

He smiled and turned his monitor to face me. “See? Right here. Looks like it’s on sale. For basically nothing.”

“Yes and thank you. We’ll be seeing you in heaven.”

And off we went, with our beautiful brand-new gift for a beautiful, new-to-them baby starting a beautiful, brand-new life with a beautiful, lovely family.

Meijer, sometimes you are magic.

Gus Man

We passed on the gift (and m&ms) with much, MUCH glee and were quickly on our way back to the farm. As a reward for 2 hours of driving plus a trip to the grocery store, I pulled into McDonalds to let my herd frolic on the play land. It was a remarkable day, after all, and the kids were doing so very well.

Until they weren’t.

Until Gideon ripped off his socks and stuffed them down the webbing holes of the tunnel, never to be seen again.

Until Abby grabbed my Coke and poured it on herself.

Until Rylie decided she would take another girl’s shoes home.

Until Gideon told her she couldn’t.

Until Rylie smacked him with the force of an undiscovered fly-weight.

Until Gideon bit her on the arm and bolted through the emergency door in the play land, initiating a piercing BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and lockdown sequence for all the lucky customers.

People, I did not even flinch. I grabbed all three shoeless children by their collars and marched them out to the van, alarms still flaring in the background.

Ry and Coco

I locked Abby in her seat. I nudged Gideon to GET MOVING, and his little legs began to climb in the van.

Which exposed his superhero undies waistband at eye-level with Rylie.

Who instinctively and with the vengeance of a girl scorned, bit him squarely on the butt.

THE BUTT.

Oh, we are not finished.

Before I could summon Jesus to return, my eldest pulled away from her brother’s buns in fear… because her mouth was pouring blood.

What is this madness, you ask?

Quite simple, Friends.

SHE LOST HER TOOTH.

Her wiggly tooth that had been tormenting her for days… the tooth came out as she bit her brother. And so, she wailed.

We cannot go back inside to use the restroom because, well, see above. We can only go home. We can only go home- a mother, stoic, with her 3 whimpering children in the backseats.

We can only go home and THINK ABOUT WHAT WE’VE DONE for a good, long time.

*sigh*

Let us mark that establishment as yet another parking lot we shall never grace again.

Happy weekend to you, Dears.

May your socks be dry and your drinks strong.