August 18, 2011

Doing Less So We Can Do More

I have an announcement.

I am declaring the next month "No Spend September" at my house. It's going to take some self-control.  OK - a LOT of control. It's going to mean no rummage sales, no thrift stores, and definitely no Target. And don't even mention IKEA. (Yikes!)

Why the drastic measures? Because I know we can do better.  We live on a tight budget - and I know it can be tighter. We seldom eat out - and I know we can survive if we eat out even less. We spend little on entertainment, like going out to the movies - and I know we can cut back even more.

By why?

Because I want to see the money that my husband works SO hard for, work hard for him.  At the end of the year, I want him to see a bank account that reflects all his sweat, and overtime, and lack of sleep.  

And because I would rather miss out on a lot of the 'little' stuff that we forget about 10 minutes after we've done it and put my money towards something our family will truly remember.  It doesn't cost anything to play a game or read a book or go for a walk or spend an hour (or two) sledding down the hill at the park.  And trinkets and pony rides outside of Kmart are nice but I would rather save our money for a jet ski so we can hang out at the lake on Sunday afternoons.  I would rather pinch pennies for a year (or two or three) so we can take our dream vacation out to Washington, DC and see all the sights, stay in a decent hotel and maybe even eat fresh lobster on the pier (except for Isaac, who will want chicken because he hates all things fishy or sea-foody.)   

And finally, because I want to see our family make fewer temporary investments and more eternal investments.  And this is where the tears start.  See, I love to give.  I love to give at church, to my community, to the homeless guy on the street corner just looking for a cheeseburger and a bottle of water.  And someday I want to be the person who can write that $1000 check to help the missionary passionate about saving lives and souls in Africa or Belize or Haiti.  But right now I can't give even close to that - even though I desperately want to.
See, we have some very precious friends that are on a plane right now to Haiti to go love on kids in an orphanage down there.  And they are hoping to someday adopt one (or more) of those beautiful kids.  And even more,  they both just quit their jobs here in ND and moved down to Houston, TX so they can be a part of something incredible called CoreLuv. Here's what the CoreLuv's website says about its vision (emphasis mine):

"There are over 160,000,000 orphans in the world today and only 250,000 of them will be adopted each year. At this rate, it would take 572 years to adopt each of the world’s current orphans, not including the 1750 children that continue to be orphaned every day. The sad truth is that most orphans will not be adopted and that is what drives Coreluv International to step up and do something. Our dream is to bring hope to orphans, through Jesus Christ, by partnering with communities and orphanages around the world to provide 5 basic needs: clean water, food, education, healthcare, and a loving environment to call home."
And then there's my friend, Pebbles.  (Yes, that's her real name.) She has a passion for the broken  - for the children who have been violated and betrayed - often by those closest to them.  She and her family head up a fantastic organization called "Project NightLight" that puts together tote bags for hurting children.  According to their website, Project Nightlight (emphasis mine):
"...provides children with important items needed when examined at local Children's Advocacy Centers around the United States for sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect... Often children in these situations are left feeling insecure and unsure of themselves and the people around them. Through Project Night-Light we give them a small piece of security. Because so many of the hurting children feel used only new items are placed in the bags. Also, because these children often feel they wear a label, we do not place our Project Night-Light logo on any of their new belongings. Every item that is placed in their personal bag has a special purpose other than the obvious daily uses. This could be allowing their caregiver time to wash their daily outfit to giving the child control over something as simple as a flashlight..." 
Pebbles started by putting together bags in her living room and handing them out to local centers that would accept them.  Then other state agencies caught wind of what she was doing and started asking for her "Bags of Hope."  She is now delivering bags to agencies in North Dakota and Minnesota and has delivered over 2,100 bags since 2008!  Last week alone, Project Nightlight delivered 95 bags (over $5000 worth of inventory) to agencies in ND and even St. Paul, MN.

Making, saving, earning money is not all about us.  It's not so we can have comfortable or extravagant lives.  It's so we can make a difference - whether it's in a small way or in a thousand-dollar-check way.  I may not be at a point in my life that I can write the big check, but I can do my part.  For now my part is to be a good steward of what I do have.  My part is to send what I can, even when it's just a little.  My part is to PRAY - because prayer is free and we can all afford that.  And my part is to spread the word.  And so I will.  

(Nick and Ang and Pebbles.  Thanks for what you do.  Thank you for being willing to leave your families and comforts and jobs behind to make a difference in the world around you.  I can not do what you do but I can help - even if it's just in a "small way".)

Please check out CoreLuv and Project NightLight and ask yourself what "your part" can be.  All our small parts can add up to make a BIG difference.  And please, if you've never shared a blog post before - share this one.  Pass it on so that others, too, can help Nick and Ang and Pebbles make a difference.

CoreLuv on Facebook
CoreLuv's website:

Project NightLight on Facebook
Project NightLight's website:


“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 
“The King will reply, 
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
(Matthew 25:37-40) 

(Oh, and while you're praying for CoreLuv and PNL, be sure to pray for me. As I, ahem, have not quite explained, in full detail, September's plan to the kids or the hubby. Although, I am sure that they will all be just thrilled. *smirk*)

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