Sunday, October 24, 2010



[af-loo-uhns or, oftenuh-floo-] 
abundance of money, property, and other material goods;riches; wealth.
an abundant supply, as of thoughts or words; profusion.
a flowing to or toward; afflux.

While Dan and I were driving to Hilton Head yesterday, we heard this show on NPR about being "rich".  (Yes, I'm well aware of the irony of this statement.)  Given all that God has been teaching me about money (and my wee obsession with it) lately, it was interesting to hear the story about how much money is "enough", what makes you "rich", what makes you "wealthy."

Over a year ago, I first did Jen Hatmaker's study on the book "Interrupted" which discusses all that The Church has done to neglect the poor, the needy, the widowed, the orphaned... those "without".  True.  Fact.

And, yes, all you people who think I stay perched on my liberal-do-gooder-tree-hugger-soapbox... she was talking to me, too.  In fact, she was YELLING at me about how selfish I am.  How I waste money on stupid stuff that could go to people who need it.  How I, a stay at home mom in the suburbs, am RICH.  Because I am.

Dan and I don't qualify in the category that the NPR show was talking about... but we completely saw the irony of listening to this show as we were pulling in to Hilton Head.  (Those of you who've not been?  It's not a "cheap" beach.)  We drove past the expensive car dealerships, past the golf courses, past the plantations... and we were among the affluence.

Sometimes irony is enough to laugh at... and sometimes it's enough to punch you in the face.

Here's the kicker: we ain't got no money.  (Sorry, Mrs. Bell, I know that grammar makes you cringe... but it was really just poetic license.  I know that "ain't" don't usually go with "no".) 

This trip kind of sprung up on us... usually we go earlier in the fall... but this trip kind of just happened, and we hadn't budgeted for it properly.  In the last month (read: this paycheck) had to buy a car, fix our air conditioner, fund birthday festivities, etc.  We didn't quite plan for a beach week.

(Side note: before you blame me for being a total dork when it comes to money... which I am... by accusing me for booking a vacation and then forgetting it... let me take this moment to say- my mom is treating us to this week.  There, I've said it.  I'm in my mid-thirties and I let my mommy pay for a week at the beach.)

So here we are, already having spent all our fun money this month (which lasts until NOVEMBER 15) and I'm feeling "poor".   Uh-huh.  I am.  Because I can't go to the outlets and shop like crazy, like I'd like to.  Because I can't go to the killer sale at Belk and shop like crazy, like I'd like to.  Because I can't go to all the cutesie gift stores and shop like crazy, because I'd like to.  Because I can't buy all of the meals while we are here for us and my mom, because I'd like to.  Because I can't, because I can't, because I can't.... poor me.

Seriously, I feel sick even writing all of that self-centered bull crap.

I have a home what we can afford to pay the mortgage on... and the utilities.  I send my daughter to preschool and even buy ridiculous things (like photo sculptures and quintets) that go along with it.  I keep my daughter clothed and even "trendy"... and while the majority of her clothes are second hand, I can buy her those things I just have to have (yes, I said it... "I" have to have, not "she" has to have...).  I eat out with my husband and daughter regularly, and almost always have a fully stocked pantry.  I buy things at sales... but still, I can afford to pay for them.  And, wait for it... I have, on average, taken THREE vacations per year in the last few years.  One to Hilton Head with my mom, one to Kure Beach to see Dan's family, and one to Disney World with just us... PER YEAR.

I.  Am.  Rich.

Now, I can justify my way out of a paper bag, so I won't even go there.  I can tell you that all of these vacations are about family... which they are... but I'll tell you the truth:  I am rich.

So the next time I say I can't afford a pumpkin spice latte, you have my permission to laugh in my face.  When I am frustrated that we can't afford our new deck, you can also laugh.  When I can't go to the Buckhead Betties sale, laugh.  When I can't... whatever... you can laugh.  I will tell you now that it will hurt my feelings, piss me off, make me feel like crap... but I kind of deserve it.

Right now, my heart is torn between feeling like crap (see: above) and feeling content because of what we saw tonight...

While in the land of the affluent (HHI), I will choose to enjoy the blessing of being here.  I will choose to enjoy the time with my family.  And I will choose not to get sucked in to the tide of Keeping Up With The Joneses... or even keeping up with myself.  

As God continues to teach me where my money needs to go, I will continue to listen.  I will continue to spend and save as He prompts... and give until it hurts.

And, I will quit saying I don't have money... because that is a freakin' joke.

One last PS?  I can't find the checks that the gals from Book Club gave me on Thursday night.  I know they're not lost, I just misplaced them as I packed.  At the beginning of this post, I was pissed about it... now I just think it's kind of funny.

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