I am not writing

Ha! I thought I was back. Not yet, apparently.

I can’t understand how the yen to write on a nearly daily basis has dried up so suddenly. Do I have nothing new to say? Have I said everything I need to? Maybe I’m living life differently now so that I have less stuff bottled up to throw out on the page. I’m pretty sure none of these are true.

Perhaps by naming this blog I Am Writing, I have jinxed myself into not doing it. So therefore I must force the issue until it happens more naturally. It brings to mind a quote I borrow from Louis L’Amour:

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So today, I am turning on the faucet and what comes out just might be a little rusty.

I think I’m going to have to rely on the word prompt of the day, even though I’m not sure what it means to me: parlay.

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The word couldn’t have been stuck, huh?!

A cumulative series of bets in which winnings accruing from each transaction are used as a stake for a future bet.

I can do this.

Maybe this  can describe my newfound frugality? (not sure if that’s the right word) where I have forgone shopping for the sake of shopping over the past month and decided to roll it right through lent. Instead of buying clothes for myself and things for our home, I’m saving, paying off debt and thinking of better uses for my part of the family money. I’m trying to purge and simplify. Lighten and minimize. Experiences over things.

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I am a shopper at heart and I love style and new clothes, shoes, makeup and the like. I also love to peruse stores like Target and Home Goods to find little things that will make life just that much better.  But along the way, I finally took a look at what these purchases are adding up to and I’m finding it isn’t much. The newness always wears off and begs to be replaced by something shinier and bigger than before. I was always running ahead of earnings if you know what I mean. Always carrying just a bit of debt that would never be paid off so I could have the things I wanted when I wanted them.

On February 1st after scanning my multiple charge accounts, I announced the plan of no spending to my husband and challenged him to join me. He was reluctant but finally agreed (his Amazon Prime habit is HUGE) and for a month the boxes stopped coming. I went on vacation with my dad near the end of the month and haven’t had a chance to ask him about how it felt to cut the spending for the month yet but I plan to soon.

As far as my experience, the first 2-3 weeks were great. I stayed right away from any stores that were not strictly for groceries. I didn’t step near Target, Marshall’s or Macy’s. But somewhere in week 3, my resolve started to loosen. What did I really need to prove? It’s not like what I was doing was going to save the world.

But it was about this time I was at church where a visiting priest came to talk about a mission he was involved with called Food For the Poor. I wasn’t expecting to be inspired by this man who was quite ancient and stooped over and could barley stand upright for the homily he was to present. But, boy! He was fierce and passionate and had me at hello.

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I suddenly knew what I needed to do with the “extra” money I was saving from not shopping. So many children and families could benefit from what I took for granted. By not buying a new outfit or a few books each month, I could provide something even more crucial than these things to someone else. Giving is not new to me, but I seem to to have gotten away from putting much thought into it. Where I work, we had been hit up by the annual United Way appeal and I would give an amount each pay period that really didn’t impinge on my lifestyle. I barely missed it and when they decided to move away from it, I never replaced my giving with another program.

I was getting the right message at the right time as they say. So I decide to up the ante (parlay my winnings) and pledge a monthly sum to Food for the Poor and renewed my commitment not to shop. I’m confident I can make it through lent as I did through the month of February by which time I hope to be quite cleanly off the charge and spend mentality I have been riding so long.

 

MC

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