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Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas.

– Paula Poundstone

I love the notes some of you send me after reading Whimsy & Wisdom. Last week a few of you wrote to me (thank you!) but this message really touched me. It's from someone who used to attend our church a while back when his family still lived in Montreal:

I’m strange, but it’s not strange being strange: it’s the natural state of the human soul. Society tries to shape us to conform, because you need to stick a label in something to control it. But the divine spark of the human heart is wild and infinitely diverse. Treasure your 8-year-old heart, because it is truthful: life is full of wonders and every day is full of miracles.

Isn't that some lovely poetry to start your week with? :)

And here's a humorous anecdote from my archives, just to mix things up a bit: Some years ago, I received an email from someone interested in renting one of my apartments. Her introduction included this line: "I have a small cute indoor cat, non-smoker."

:)

Speaking of cats, I recently noticed that I ask mine the same question over and over: "What are you doing?" It made me stop and wonder how often God asks me the same question. . . and how I probably give Him the same blank stare my cat gives me. What am I doing? What are you doing?

Today I want to take a look at what we do with money. Please keep reading! (And, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter this month's giveaway by responding to the survey. THREE randomly picked winners will get a souvenir from my upcoming trip to Armenia.)

Last week I came across an oldish TV show called Extreme Cheapskates. I thought it might be fun to watch because I have always had a bit of a frugal streak. I like collecting points with retailers' rewards cards, I save scraps of paper and fabric to repurpose, and I try not to spend wastefully. But after seeing the appalling and, well, stupid lengths some people will go to in their efforts to pinch their pennies, I had to stop watching after a few episodes. 

In case you think my use of the word "stupid" was harsh, here are a few examples of what I saw (I'm not even going to mention the really disgusting ones):
  • A couple shared an electric toothbrush instead of buying a second one. (Why not buy two non-electric toothbrushes?)  
  • A woman asked a seniors' residence if she could host her 10-year-old son's birthday party there because it would be cheaper than renting another venue, and then she drove all around town in her SUV to try to collect free promotional balloons (that said things like "SALE") from various businesses so she wouldn't have to buy decorations. 
  • A man made his daughter have her sweet 16 birthday party in a strip club because, not being in use during the day, the manager let them use it for free. He also brought home leftovers from his coworkers' lunches for his family's suppers rather than cook fresh meals at home. (His wife got sick three times from the leftover food.) He was a firefighter (so gainfully employed).
  • A young wrestler dried and reused his tissues to save a few dollars a week, but his body was covered in tattoos. (Ummm...?)
You get the idea! While I'm sure we can all find plenty of examples of people who have the opposite approach to money, practically burning it up with their wastefulness or extravagance, I think we can agree that it's possible to hold on to it too tightly. 

Here are seven basic principles from the Bible that can help us have a healthy attitude about the money (and other resources) God has entrusted to us as managers:
  1. Everything comes from God and belongs to Him (see James 1:17 and Psalm 24:1).
  2. We should give a portion of our resources back to Him, not because He needs it but because it's a form of worship and an expression of gratitude (see Malachi 3:7-12).
  3. We must avoid the love of money (see Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 3:3 and 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2).
  4. We shouldn't store up "treasures" on earth. In other words, keep a loose grip on your worldly wealth and focus more on the things that have eternal value (see Matthew 6:19-20).
  5. We should be cheerful and generous givers (2 Corinthians 9:7 and Psalm 37:21).
  6. We must take care of the needy (see James 1:27 and Romans 12:13).
  7. We should give no matter how little we have, trusting God to provide for our needs (see Luke 21:4).
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a nice home, good food, a restful vacation, or any of the other things God has created for our pleasure, but life is sweeter and less stressful when we're not obsessed with earning, spending, or saving money. The most beautiful things in life really are free!

P.S. If you do struggle with making ends meet, here are some practical tips on saving money that won't make you a crazy person.
whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

Rob Kenney's YouTube channel that offers simple advice and tips on many basic tasks has over 3.5 million subscribers. From using a coffee percolator to shaving a beard to wrapping a present, Kenney uses humour and compassion to answer questions kids would normally ask their dad. . . if they had one. He also has a lot of "Dad jokes." :)

If you're a fan of The Princess Bride, you will appreciate this. If not, there's no point in me explaining what this is about. :) 

Seana Scott outlines five essential practices that can help us move forward in times of uncertainty. This is an excellent article to share with young adults who might be struggling.

I found two words that are equally odd and interesting and somehow suit each other so I'm sharing both. Two for one! Perfect for the thrifty people on this list. 😉

INCUNABULUM

(n) An early printed book, especially one printed before 1501.

LUSTRUM

(n) (rare) A period of five years.
Note: This word comes from 16th century Latin and originally referred to "a purificatory sacrifice made after a census every five years."

My Lord, if I should have less than I want today, may I be content in the knowledge that I already have everything I need.

– Ray Pritchard

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