A comment a friend left brought about my ponderings today.
Trish wondered if she should have enjoyed the fabulous gift her friends had given her, a visit to a lovely tea room, when there are so many problems in the world today. My answer... carpe diem!
Okay, so I wrote all about this before but after three and a half years of pondering, repeats come more often... and this is a subject my own life's experiences has made me passionate about. We must balance frugality with generous living and the making of many memories.
Yes, I am always talking about how learning to live on less is a good thing. But there is a flip side to my story and that is the experience of knowing one must seize the day when they have the opportunity. For it is in embracing the good times that one provides precious memories for leaner days.
When Stephanie first talked to me about going to England, I encouraged her whole heartedly. Yes, the economy overall was dismal but it was perfect timing for them to go... they had the money in savings, the time, and the circumstances, all coming together for the first time... ever. For I have found that happens very rarely in life and when God makes provision one should take full advantage of it. They will always have wonderful memories of England which are priceless.
Such expenditures bring choices... they had to put off new wood flooring and a couple of other projects but one doesn't have to have such circumstances to add wood flooring to their home. Just one year later the trip would have been impossible as a new little girl is expected in May.
A very small statement Edith Schaeffer used quite often in her books proved to be profound to me through the years. She would often say there would be no day like today and its' circumstances... ever... that our children will never be these exact ages again... so today is important.
As one who has known more than her share of dark and lean days, I can assure you it is memories made and money spent when we could that helped make dark days easier. Not only special family memories but purchases made when we could afford items... like the good quality cookware and knives, my Kitchen Aid mixer, and well made furniture (all purchased either on sale or by finding the best prices). How much easier it is to almost always cook "from scratch" with the right tools in the kitchen.
Most of my "decorating" has been done over the years by searching through thrift shops and garage sales... because I love the hunt whether I had the money to buy new or not. It's just more fun to find a silver tea service for $25.00 instead of hundreds and tea cups for a dollar. Having said that... we have very good quality furniture (purchased when we knew the sales would make the items affordible) purchased when we had the cash for a necessary expenditure.
It isn't all or nothing, of course we must be very careful about going into debt (we do not even own a credit card), make certain when times are good we are setting money aside in a savings account instead of spending it all for the moment, and continuing to be a good shopper by continuing frugal shopping skills (which work well in good times by stretching our money and lean years... ditto).
But one should never, ever feel guilty during the good years. Once we have our emergency funds set aside and debts paid, those are the years for important home improvements, deepening the pantry, building the garden, car repairs, replacing old appliances with the energy efficient, buying the camera to take precious pictures, and making memories... when everything is coming together to make spending without debt a possibility.
We should never fear the future but everyone who has lived long enough knows there are the good years and those which bring with them challenges. It is a good thing to fully embrace the possibilities by the big (as in a trip to England or a much needed home improvement) and the small (a lovely tea time with friends or breakfast out with the family) when we have the opportunity.
There is always a time for frugality and smart spending, savings accounts and sound investments, giving to the poor and reaching out to the needy, supporting causes and ministries we believe in, deepening the pantry and replacing that which is old (except husbands, of course). :)
But my friends, never ever forget to seize the day when life is good and dreams are possible and memories are waiting to be made. For as Edith would say, there will never be another day when the kids are this age (or the circumstances have come together). Embrace that which makes your heart sing while the sun is shining and when you find yourself in the valley, the memory of the sun will warm you in the cold and dark until you walk in that sunshine again.