Defining Necessity at Marathon Mom

I am passionate about sharing the Define Necessity message this Holiday Season!  Today I am sharing it over at Marathon Mom, along with a really fun Right-Left Christmas Story to play at your family gathering/gift exchange.   Come see me!!!!!!

Hugs, T

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On This Black Friday

  Thanksgiving is a week away! The day we celebrate things we are thankful for, how blessed we are to have food in our cabinets, clothes on our backs, warm beds to snuggle into at the end of the day, clean fresh water at the push of a button or twist of a handle.

How sad that the day after we are Thankful, we indulge in a rat race of shoving, hitting, pushing and even biting to grab more “stuff”. 

  You know what I am talking about:

BLACK FRIDAY.

  How sad that employees leave family functions early, to drive to work so people can shop.  How sad that some stores are even thinking about opening on Thanksgiving Day, as yet another day to take your money!

  Black Friday may mean profit for the store, bringing them “back in the black” after a tough year,  but Black Friday seems DARK to me…..

A day celebrating stuff, things, materialism, greedy gimmies and more, more, MORE.

  I hate the Greedy Gimmies, and I know this time of year, commercials are specifically designed to entice children to want it, need it, gotta have it!

   Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful 3 gifts for each child in this home, will be placed under the tree next month; some from garage sales, others great bargains along the way, but I am MORE thankful, that each child will have a chance to adopt a child close to their age through our church Shoe Box project again this year.  That once again we have opportunity to teach them to be blessed by GIVING, not always receiving.

Did you know that we don’t buy gifts for anyone other than our kids?  Dale and I don’t get each other anything. Why? We don’t need a darn thing!  Neither do our parents, or our cousins, or our friends.  We will make goodie platters, or just spend time with them.  They don’t NEED anything either.  This makes November a lot less hectic and saves all of us a ton of money.

  I am not saying you are wrong for planning to go at 2 am Friday morning to shop your Christmas list!  NOT AT ALL!!!!! I am a couponer, and bargain shopper, I LOVE a good deal just like you do.  I am simply asking you to Be Cautious when you go.  (Maybe this would be a great time for you to shop for the family in need you adopted so you can bless their socks off with something extra great….)  

Ask yourself some hard questions this year:

 In a World that is in desperate need of food, clothing, clean water, shelter, the love of Christ Jesus….is it truly necessary to use $800 towards a list of family and friends that really would be fine without your gift?  

  I am asking you to think twice before you snatch that electronic, or Barbie Dream House, or Furby, or the last item off the shelf as you see someone else approaching it.

I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.

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I am asking you to be the hands and feet of Christ, to give to others less fortunate than yourself.

  To limit what you spend on yourselves this year.

Do NOT go in the RED to help stores get into the black.

  I hear of parents that take out $2000 loans every year for Christmas. 

WHY?

  What could your child possibly need worth going into debt for?

  Why do families insist on buying for Aunt Jane and Uncle Bobby and all 15 cousins?
Can’t you draw names and just give something smaller, so you can all help someone other than yourselves?

  I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.  Cut the fat.  Let’s get back to basics.

Lets work harder this year on being the hands and feet of Jesus.

  To use that money you set aside for gifts to help a local charity, buy a ton of groceries for the food bank, to adopt a family in need.  To teach your children selflessness rather than selfishness this Holiday season.  To guide them to look outside themselves, and the greedy little world they are living in.

  I am asking you to look into Compassion International, or to get a catalog from Samaritans Purse for gift ideas that keep on giving.

  Your $25 can help towards giving a milk cow to a starving family of 9.  ONE LESS GIFT for Uncle Frank, Aunt Sue and Cousin Betty, can give a village of 1000, clean drinking water for a lifetime.

We are blind, fat and greedy as a nation, we need to OPEN OUR EYES to the people hurting around us…..

  We need to DEFINE NECESSITY this Black Friday and upcoming Christmas season.

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  It’s a big world out there, and it’s time we start seeing beyond ourselves.

I’ve had it.  I quit Christmas.

Give me CHRISTmas; so that everything may filter through HIM.

  Matthew 25:40  ’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these….you did for me.’

A New Kind Of Party

  Yesterday we talked about a simple $5 Family Gift Card exchange, by playing the reading the “Left-Right” stories.  While we are all thinking on the idea of DEFINE NECESSITY, lets talk about Office and Christmas gatherings with friends.  

This year, when you draw names, try this idea:

  Pick names and keep it secret. You purchase a gift/toy for that person’s “inner child”.  What you think they may have liked to receive when they were a child, OR even what they might have wanted to be when they grew up. Wrap it up, and put the person’s name on the gift tag. 

  At the party, everyone gets to unwrap their gift, one by one. Be prepared for lots of laughter and enjoyment! You’ll see everything from a doctor’s kit, to an artist’s kit, a basketball, plastic golf set, apron and chefs hat, a fishing pole, a lava lamp, a feather boa and tiara…….you name it!

  Once everyone has had their fun, and unwrapped the wonderful toys, a designated charity receives these great new toys for their Christmas gift giving! It’s fun for all, and makes for a very meaningful gift exchange with good feelings all around and a great outcome!

This idea is a great way to have some fun, but also pay it forward to others!

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What are some of your ideas for Defining Necessity and keeping CHRIST in Christmas this year?

~T

Shared with the Home + Heart Link Up

$5 Family Gift Card Exchange

  I talked to you last month, about paring down your gift giving before Black Friday.  

About giving to those less fortunate, rather than giving Uncle Bobby another pair of slippers or cheese of the month club subscription he didn’t want.  

  I am encouraging families that still do MASS present buying for all the cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, friends dogs neighbors {you get the idea} to DEFINE NECESSITY and keep it simple.

How about each family member brings to Christmas, a $5 gift card?  

Starbucks, Target, Hastings, Gas card, Visa gift card, Walmart, Groupon, Amazon…to name a few.

Then have everyone sit in a circle, holding the card they brought.

Have someone read the following story, passing the gifts cards to the left or right each time the words are spoken:  

Right Left Christmas Game Nativity Story

In those days, Caesar Augustus decided to count everyone LEFT living in the whole Roman world. Joseph LEFT, taking Mary with him RIGHT to his town of Bethlehem to register.

When they arrived, there were no rooms LEFT. All of the inns in Bethlehem wereRIGHT full. There was just nowhere LEFT for them to stay. Finally, someone offered to let them stay RIGHT in their stable.

Mary was pregnant and while in Bethlehem the RIGHT time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a boy RIGHT there. RIGHT there in a Bethlehem stable, the Savior of the world was born. Mary wrapped him with LEFT over strips of cloth and laid himRIGHT in a manger.

Some shepherds who lived RIGHT near Bethlehem, were out at night RIGHT in their fields watching over their sheep. RIGHT then, they saw a bright light. The light was so bright that they had to close their eyes. When they opened them again, a beautiful angel was standing RIGHT in the sky RIGHT above them with his arms LEFTopened wide. The shepherds looked RIGHT at each other and were LEFT feeling very afraid.

Then the angel spoke RIGHT to them. “Do not be afraid. I’m RIGHT here to bring you the good news LEFT for all people. Today RIGHT in Bethlehem a baby has been born, He is the RIGHT one, the one that will save the world. You will know the RIGHT baby because He will be LEFT wrapped in cloths, and laying RIGHT in a manger.”

RIGHT then, a large group of angels appeared RIGHT there, and they said, “Glory to God, and peace be to all people LEFT on the earth.”

The shepherds were LEFT amazed and excited. They had to go RIGHT away to see this baby the angels were talking about.

They LEFT as fast as they could, and soon found Mary, Joseph, and baby JesusRIGHT were they angels said they would be. The shepherds fell RIGHT to their knees when they saw Jesus, and were LEFT filled with joy that they had found the Savior. They stayed for a short time and then LEFT . As soon as they LEFT they began shouting RIGHT in the streets and telling everyone LEFT in town about what they had seen.

RIGHT after Jesus was born, wise men traveling RIGHT on their camels noticed a very strange star RIGHT in the sky. They knew that the RIGHT One who would save the world had been born.

RIGHT away King Herod got very worried. He assembled all of the important peopleLEFT in the area and asked them where this baby had been born. The people replied, “RIGHT in Bethlehem.”

RIGHT then King Herod called the wise men to meet with him RIGHT away. He asked them to go and find the child RIGHT away. “RIGHT as soon as you find Him,” he said, “ tell me, so that I can go to Him RIGHT away and worship Him.”

After the wise men spoke to the King, they LEFT to find the baby. They didn’t knowRIGHT where the He was, but followed the star LEFT in the east until it hung RIGHTover the place where Jesus was. When they found Jesus, and they bowed RIGHTdown and worshiped him.

RIGHT after that, they opened the gifts they had brought Jesus… gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they LEFT to find a place to sleep for the night.

That night the wise men all had the same dream RIGHT as they were sleeping. They were not to go RIGHT back and tell King Herod where they had found Jesus. King Herod wanted to kill Jesus because he was jealous of Him. So, the wise men LEFT for home another way so that Herod would not know the RIGHT direction they had come from. They also decided RIGHT then that they would not tell King Herod anything about what they had seen.

When the wise men LEFT , an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Arise, take Jesus and Mary, and run RIGHT to Egypt. Joseph got up RIGHT away and woke up Mary. She quickly picked Jesus RIGHT up and they LEFT in the middle of the night for Egypt where they would be safe.

RIGHT after King Herod died an angel appeared again RIGHT away to Joseph and told him to go RIGHT to a place called Nazareth. And that’s RIGHT where Jesus grew up.

Or this one:

Twas the LEFT Night RIGHT Before Christmas

Twas the night RIGHT before Christmas when RIGHT through the house
Not a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse–
The stockings were hung RIGHT by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be RIGHT there.
The children were nestled RIGHT snug in their beds,
while visions of sugarplums danced RIGHT in their heads,
And mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled RIGHT down for a long winter’s nap,
When RIGHT out on the LEFT lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang RIGHT from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the RIGHT window I LEFT like a flash;
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
LEFT a luster of midday to objects RIGHT below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleight and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver RIGHT lively and quick;
I knew RIGHT in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came;
and he whistled and shouted, and called them RIGHT by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! 
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!
To the RIGHT top of the porch! To the LEFT top of the wall! 
Now dash away, dash away, dash RIGHT away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
when they meet RIGHT with an obstacle, mount RIGHT up to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers they LEFT flew, 
with a sleighful of toys and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof,
the prancing and pawing of each little RIGHT and LEFT hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning LEFT around
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, RIGHT from his head to his LEFT foot,
and his clothes were all LEFT tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung RIGHT on his back, 
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His RIGHT and LEFT eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples‹how merry! 
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was LEFT drawn up like a bow,
and the beard LEFT on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a round little belly, 
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was RIGHT chubby and plump, a RIGHTRIGHT jolly old elf, 
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his LEFT eye and a LEFT twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went RIGHT straight to his work, 
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk
And laying his finger to the LEFT of his nose,
and giving a nod, he LEFT‹up the chimney he rose.
He sprang RIGHT to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and away they all LEFT like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he LEFT–out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all‹and to all a good night!”

I found these by googling Christmas ideas, and neither website sited an Author, so I will just say:

{Original Author unknown}

When the story is over, the card you hold in your hand is now yours!
There are many many more stories here and ideas out there, or maybe write (RIGHT) your own?

Simple and fun!  With all the money you saved by not buying 17 people gifts, adopt a family in need or give to your favorite charity.

It is truly is more blessed to give then receive!

Hugs, T

Shared with the Home + Heart Link Up

On This Black Friday…

  Tomorrow is the day we celebrate things we are thankful for, how blessed we are to have food in our cabinets, clothes on our backs, warm beds to snuggle into at the end of the day, clean fresh water at the push of a button or twist of a handle.

How sad that the day after we are thankful, we indulge in a rat race of shoving, hitting, pushing and even biting to grab more “stuff”.  How sad that employees leave family functions early, to drive to work so you can shop.  How sad that some stores are even thinking about opening on Thanksgiving Day, as yet another day to take your money!

Black Friday may mean profit for the store, bringing them “back in the black” after a tough year,  but Black Friday is DARK to me…..

A day celebrating stuff, things, materialism, greedy gimmies and more, more, MORE.

I hate the Greedy Gimmies, and I know this time of year, commercials are specifically designed to entice children to want it, need it, gotta have it! I sent out an email this year to our family saying, NO MORE TOYS.  We have enough!  They may or may not listen, but I no longer can sit in good conscience and let the STUFF continue to pile up around here.  There has to be a better way to celebrate!

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful 3 gifts for each child in this home, will lie under the tree next month; some from garage sales, others great bargains along the way, but I am MORE thankful, that each child will have a chance to adopt a child close to their age through our church Shoe Box project again this year.  That once again we have opportunity to teach them to be blessed by GIVING, not always receiving.

I am not saying you are wrong for planning to go at 2 am Friday morning to shop your Christmas list!  Not at ALL, I am a couponer, I LOVE a good deal just like you do.  I am simply asking you to be cautious.

I am asking you to think twice before you snatch that electronic, or Barbie Dream House, or Furby, or the last item off the shelf as you see someone else approaching it.

I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.

I am asking you to be His hands and feet, and give to others less fortunate than yourself.

To limit what you spend on yourselves this year.

Do NOT go in the RED to help stores get into the black.

I hear of parents that take out $2000 loans every year for Christmas.  

WHY?

What could your child possibly need worth going into debt for?

Why do families insist on buying for Aunt Jane and Uncle Bobby and all 15 cousins?
Can’t you draw names and just give something smaller, so you can all help someone other than yourselves?

  I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.

To use that money to help a local charity, to adopt a family in need, to teach your children selflessness rather than selfishness this Holiday season.  To guide your children to look outside themselves and the greedy little world they are living in.

I am asking you to look into Compassion International, or to get a catalog from Samartians Purse for gift ideas that keep on giving.

Your $25 can help towards giving a milk cow to a starving family of 9.  ONE LESS GIFT for Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue and Cousin Betty, can give a village of 1000, clean drinking water for a lifetime.

We are blind, fat and greedy as a nation.  OPEN YOUR EYES to the people hurting around you…..

DEFINE NECESSITY this Black Friday and upcoming Christmas season.

It’s a big world out there, and we are to be HIS hands and feet.

Matthew 25:40  ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these….you did for me.’

~T

Define Necessity

  Have you read the Bernstein Bear’s Book called “The Greedy Gimmies”? 

Every family should own this book, so it can be pulled out and referenced to our kids.

 America has a BAD, BAD case, of the Greedy Gimmies.

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  This selfish need for stuff……for more, more, more.  Overflowing closets, toy baskets and towering garage sale piles prove it.  How about Christmas trees with gifts so stuffed below it, that it threatens to tip over? 

  Couldn’t that money be better spent on someone who struggles DAILY to feed their family?  To someone across the world who doesn’t have the privilege of clean water at their disposal? 

  We are SPOILED ROTTEN and we are blind to it.  Cupboards full of food and clean running water, soft beds and shoes on our feet are a PRIVILEGE and we should be thankful to have our daily needs met so easily.  Somewhere across the world a Mommy longs for food for her children’s growling tummies, or water from a source other than the muddy stream, and you want another knick knack for your shelf? A bigger TV?  A softer mattress?  $170 Ugg boots?

   There are so many GREAT options out there for Gracious Gift Giving:

  Like Samaritans Purse, who sends out a WONDERFUL catalog each year with items like: “Feed A Hungry Baby for A Week – $9” or “Buy a Family A Months Worth of Milk- $18” .  I wrote about it last year:  Check it out here.  

  You can purchase these items and many, many more, in honor of “Aunt Sue” or “Uncle Jim”, and Samaritans Purse sends a lovely card, so they know just what your gift to them did for a family in need.  A gift like that keeps on giving the entire year, long after our Christmas trees are tucked away, our knick-knacks put up on the shelf.

  How about using Christmas as a Season of Compassion and adopting a child from Compassion International? 

 We are big believers in their ministry, and sponsor 2 children each month from Uganda.  We’ve sponsored Bampata John for 8 years now, and Nahabwe Deborah for 5ish.

Bampata John

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Do you know how good it was, for my kids to realize that the Birthday money we sent John, went to buy him a BED?  That the Christmas money we sent, bought his family a COW?  Life changing items to his family who needs so much.

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   So what does this post title mean: “Define Necessity”?

  Saying “No” to our kids is a hard thing to ask a parent to do, but since when does purchasing things equal happy kids?

  IT DOESN’T.

  Now, don’t get mad at me here for coming down on you, I’m totally talking to myself in this post too.  Our toy closet is full!  Even though we don’t buy toys just because we step foot in Walmart, it has still slowly filled up.  We don’t buy 20 gifts for each kid at Christmas; they get 3 from us, just like Jesus received from the 3 wise men.  (This helps limit our spending, as well as their need for MORE.)  Yet, the toy closet is so full it makes me angry every time I step foot in there. 

  I’d rather have 1 toy my children can play with 7 different ways, than 7 different toys that can only be played with one way.

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We live in a See It, Want It, Buy It generation. 

  Commercials flash across the screen, designed to grab our children’s attention and create a need in them.  It’s a trick, and I won’t fall for it.  We rarely watch TV, but when we do, you better believe the commercials get muted and kids sent off to brush teeth or something. I won’t have it, it makes me too mad to watch them invade my home with the intent of screaming:

 “BUY MY PRODUCT, you know you WANT too!!!!!!!!! You NEEEEED it.”

  What are we doing to protect our children from this nasty cycle of “Stuff”? 

What are we doing to teach them to SAVE their dollars and work hard for what they want, rather than watching mommy pull out her credit card once again to get them what they “HAVE to have”?

In a time of a low economy, job losses, recession and foreclosures, we need to teach our children to appreciate what they ALREADY have!  To play creatively with toys that don’t whir and spin, sing and move.  What happened to good ol’ fashion fun under a sheet-covered dining room table?  Or basic wooden blocks to create castles and entire towns out of?  What about a trunk of old clothes and shoes, just begging for an afternoon tea party in full costume?

Let’s get creative, and you don’t need new toys to do it!  Let’s finger paint with pudding.  Let’s bathe dolls or float boats in a kitchen sink chock full of bubbles.  Let’s get out a bowl of water and a paint brush and paint the bricks out front.  Let’s give those well-worn books another read.  Let’s make shopping trips a rare treat, not the norm.  Let’s use gift buying as a way to bless others or reward a month-long “Job Well Done”, or when a child finishes filling their chore chart with stickers, not to quiet a fit in the middle of Target.

   Don’t we want our kids to learn to be content as they grow up?  Are we creating a generation of Greedy Gimmie Kids who will enter the work world expecting to have all their demands met when they stamp their foot?

YES.  And it’s time to stop. 

  There is nothing wrong with buying a few Christmas gifts for your children.  It’s the taking it OVERBOARD that is killing us!

  Have you ever watched a child surrounded by 12 new toys?  They can’t focus or enjoy one, too distracted by the other, then the other, then the other, never really enjoying them to their full potential. 

  Let’s teach our kids first to GIVE rather than receive, then, let’s limit what we choose to give them in order to teach them to appreciate what they have.  Let’s reach out to a family in need to make our children aware of how much harder someone has it out there.  How blessed we are to have full tummies and soft beds.

  Let’s stop the Greedy Gimmies in their tracks……….let’s get our kids back to the basics. 

Let’s

Define necessity

Starting now.

It’s past time…..

~T