Thursday, April 07, 2011

Am I asking for pity?

Beth left the following comment to the last post...

I enjoy reading your blog, but one thing troubles me so I must ask you...Why do you feel the need to regularly remind everyone that you are living on a fixed income? Are you seeking pity? There are many of us living on a limited income and each year the purse strings get drawn even tighter.  Beth

I thought I'd answer it since I've found if one person asks... more may be thinking the same thing.  It also tells me I've matured a lot since I first started blogging.  At one time a question like this was asked, I stopped blogging for awhile!  

I try to be careful what I share so much that when I mentioned in a blog post we depended on food pantries for part of our food, there was a comment from a new reader blasting me that I was taking food from people who needed it... another reason that I mention from time to time that we live on Social Security

My husband is on Disability after bipolar symptoms made it impossible for him to work as an engineer.  He even tried working at a Lowe's store for awhile and couldn't handle it.  His symptoms are so severe, he was accepted for S. S. Disability within months of applying (very rare).

Although I did work outside the home for many years and paid into Social Security, since I had homeschooled for ten years when the Diabetes and Thyroid disease worsened, I didn't qualify.  However, homeschooling was worth it!

In my real life human existence, I am a very private person and opening my heart on this blog does not come easily.  I've been blogging about five years now, I'll start my sixth year this summer.  Long time readers will know that the core message of Coffee Tea Books & Me has been that you can live a beautiful life on a very tight budget and I share what I've learned through the years. 

It's not at all about wanting pity...

60 comments:

Ann said...

I love your posts and feel you are a very talented writer. Your posts do convey the message that living frugally can be done and done well with grace and joy. I, too, understand the difficulties of living on a very tight budget since my son has been on disability for the past two years (also because of bipolar issues and additional health issues as well) and it is a constant struggle for him financially. Pity is not the issue -- sharing of life as it really is for some of us or life as it could easily become for others of us -- is the point. Please do keep up your inspiring posts!

Blessings, Ann

mamatigerj said...

I want to say that I am blessed and encouraged by your honest sharing about your financial situation. It is one of the main reasons that I read your blog.

Anyway, it is YOUR BLOG; you should be able to share freely what is on your heart and mind as often as you feel like it:)

Scrappy quilter said...

Why is it that others feel they should be the ones writing our posts on our blogs. I've been reading your blog for a couple years now Brenda and never have I ever felt you were looking for pity. I've mentioned it on my blog that we live on a fixed income too and I'm definitely not looking for pity either. Keep writing and sharing what God places on your heart. Your words encourage those of us who read your blog and if others don't like those words of encouragement then they can read other blogs or even write their own blog.

Please don't stop sharing your words of wisdom, your encouragement and what God places on your heart. Hugs

Misty Krasawski said...

Oh my. I'm sorry you dealt with this, friend. It's probably one of those situations where the person will read your explanation and wish they could rewind and hit "delete." I doubt your writing would be enjoyable to anyone if you were always looking for pity. And if you were, it wouldn't be very gracious to question you about it! Praying God sends many blessings your way, and that you see so clearly that He is your Defender as well as Provider! Keep writing!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

That is a good question and a great answer. Thanks.

Fondly,
Glenda

happy momma said...

I enjoy your honesty. It's nice to know that you are being real, and not just posting something to impress. Keep blogging, and we will all keep reading. God Bless

Sherry said...

Oh, Brenda, I never got the impression that you were looking for pity or that you were sharing too much. Please don't change the way you blog in response to one question. You are a joy and an encouragement.

Vee said...

I'm not sure how long Beth has been reading, but if she had been reading as long as some of us, she might understand what you have said...this blog is about building a beautiful life in spite of a limited income and it is also about the provision of God. You could've chosen many central themes, but this one has proven especially timely in light of the current economic climate. (My husband is retired and we are also living on Social Security and whatever little jobs come along. Your blog blesses me in a mighty way because I see that everything is possible when placing our trust in Him.) Beth asked a good question and I'm glad that you answered in such a clear way.

Hugs to you...

Lisa said...

I am a new(ish) reader of your blog, and I can honestly say that I've only been encouraged by the ways you've found to live frugally. I've never felt like you were wanting pity. I thoroughly enjoy your writing!

Paula said...

You are so honest and straight forward about the difficulties that you face, that is the main reason that I have been a long time reader of your blog. All of us face difficulties of some sort or another. I love reading here because in spite of everything you have been through and are going through, the joy you take in your home, family, and Christ comes shining through! Thanks and keep it up!

Becky K. said...

I think that you are accomplishing what you set out to do and the knowledge that new readers pop in often makes it understandable that you would stress the important points that you convey more often than not.

Often times I wonder what my new readers must think because I don't always reintroduce our various family members and talk about them frequently. I guess they catch on....

Just keep on being you, Brenda. I'll keep coming back because you have so many good things to share.
I love your heart for the Lord and your family.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I am another reader who doesn't think you are asking for pity. I have been reading for a fairly long time, though not since the very beginning, and I remember when you were very upset by a similar question. So I congratulate you on your equanimity! I think you couldn't inspire your readers as you do if they didn't understand where you were coming from. And you really do inspire us, Brenda! Peace and Blessings to you.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Before too long, I believe we will all wish we were as skilled at being as frugal as you are! You have shared what you have learned here on your blog with us and it has helped and encouraged me.

Anonymous said...

I have never met you, Brenda, but I can tell by reading your blog you are not looking for 'pity'. I love to see by your example how we can fill our homes with much beauty and little cost. When you mention now and then about your being on a fixed income I believe it is helpful to any 'new readers'. I, also, am on a fixed income. Thank you for using the gift God has given you for your ability to write with much expression.

Anonymous said...

I could very easily get addicted to reading blogs. I allow myself to read and follow only a few, with your's being one of them. I find most blogs to be fascinating, enlightening, thought-provoking, and just plain fun to read.

I have never thought you were asking for pity. Not once. Not even when you mention the link to Amazon. I'm sure if I had a blog, I would mention it also. And quite often, as I love to read and buying books often feels like a necessity. For the record, you aren't the only Blogger that mentions their Amazon link, many do.

I am currently unemployed, and a full time non-traditional college student living off my financial aid loans. It's a scary place to be. I appreciate all that you share with us - the good and the bad. Your blog is one that encourages me as a Christian to trust God where I am at now. Hearing where you are in your walk has helped me keep my head on straight and not give in to the fears that try to strangle. Never once did I take it as anything but a sister trying to encourage other sisters. Part of encouragement is showing where and who you used to be and where and who you are now. I don't take it as you asking for pity. I take it as you shining your light the best way you can. Please continue on with what you are doing. I for one am blessed by your blog and am disappointed when you don't post. (Then I feel guilty when I find out there were no posts due to illness.)

I hope you have a lovely afternoon!

Valerie

Linda said...

I'm glad that you addressed the question even though I think it was kind of rude. I for one admire your honesty about your situation and have never felt it sounded like self pity. I'm also glad though that we can be honest about our questions and you responded to this lady. As ever you are an example to us all. Linda

Susan P. said...

Brenda, you bless so many of us with your words on a daily basis. We know your heart ~ no explanations are necessary. Love you!!

Karen Twombly said...

It never entered my mind that you were asking for pity. Keep writing... :)
Karen Twombly

GrammaGrits said...

I always enjoy your blog and especially love the 'deals' you find at Goodwill and thrift stores. Actually, sometimes I must confess I envy your finds - ha, ha! I, too, love thrift stores and have been amazed at God's goodness and provision when I had an obvious need. Don't worry about those naysayers. Just keep on keeping on.
Blessings!

moreofhim said...

Isn't it funny how when people read our blogs they read into it somehow and think we intend something we never intend at all?

My blog has been pretty much all about my pain I'm experiencing for the past 6 months from 2 herniated discs. Your post made me think, "Do people think I'm asking for pity?". I have not intended that at all but who knows what my readers are thinking?

I have always been very encouraged by your blog and have become a faithful reader for at least the past year. I have never felt you were asking for pity; I always thought you were just sharing what you have learned through your experiences. Personally, I've learned a lot!

Keep writing! There are so many of us who love your blog. You are truly a blessing.

God bless you - Julie

Joan said...

I am coming out of lurker mode to say that I have read your blog for about a year now and I have never felt that you were attention seeking or sympathy seeking, merely speaking freely and honestly and from your heart.
Your posts have encouraged me and taught me so much. Our words and "comments" should be edifying, and Brenda, yours always are.

Blessings to you, Joan

Florence said...

Dear Brenda, I seldom comment but am a regular reader of your blog. I can't begin to tell you what a blessing your blog has been to me. I struggle with different physical and financial difficulties but it is such a blessing to read how you live your life to give glory to the Lord whatever your circumstances.

Christy@WickedHappy said...

Though I don't leave comments all that often, I do read your blog whenever I see a new post.

I hope that you know most of us don't at all think you are asking for pity. Your posts are interesting and comforting and infomative.

Keep up the lovely writing. There are many of us who really and truly appreciate it!!

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and I have not once thought that you were asking for pity. What you share is reality and honesty - I wish that people that had a problem with things that people share on blogs - would just move along to other blogs if they bother them so much. Your blog is a blessing to me. Keep sharing your heart!
Lisa :O)

Woman of the House said...

I enjoy your blog very much. I'm glad there are bloggers who write about living beautifully within limited means since that's my situation too. It would be too discouraging only to have blogs to visit in which the writers are blessed with more abundant resources. Keep it up! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader of your blog and wanted to add that I never thought you were asking for pity in your posts. I always am encouraged by your posts and come away thinking that if you can live beautifully frugal, so can I!

joyce said...

It never once occured to me that you were asking for pity. Your blog posts convey it is possible to live graciously even though there's not a lot of money coming in. Your post about the daffodils was a perfect example of this.

I enjoy your blog and have been inspired by it. I, too, live on a limited income since retirement, and I love the way your share your frugal tips and money-saving ideas.
Keep it up!

Tracy said...

Brenda, the thought has never crossed my mind that you may seeking pity. I knew you weren't. I thank you for sharing your real life with us all. You are an inspiration. :)

Bonnie said...

My Friend,
There is not one blog out there anywhere close to sharing the honesty and heart that yours does(in my opinion). Your kind answer was generous. You know that there will always be people who will misunderstand our intent. As you can see by the 20+ people commmenting, most do not. Keep up the example and encouragement. You are a bright light!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for over a year and don't think you are looking for pity. On the contrary, you have the courage to share. Because of this, we know you have 'been there done that' so your advice is likely to be more useful and realistic than that found in magazines. (most of which should be filed under fiction)

Debra said...

Hey Brenda! I always enjoy reading your money-saving tips and have never thought you were asking for pity.

Always the practical kind of gal, I was wondering if, in your header or your 'about me,' if you might want to add a sentence stating that you enjoy writing posts which help others save money and live comfortably on a fixed income because of what you've learned first-hand. Maybe a statement like that might help others like Beth understand what you have going on here. :)

Just a thought.... Keep up the great work! ...Debra

Anonymous said...

I would feel "jabbed" by a comment like that...one reason I do not blog. I would love to blog, at times, but my skin is too thin. Plus I have felt for some time now that our language is just so inadequate, especially when speaking of things of the heart. At least when I have tried to share the contents of my heart, even with friends who have known me for decades, sometimes there are NO WORDS I can find that REALLY convey how I feel inside. Not well enough anyway.

I appreciate your sharing your ideas and how you live...we are fast approaching that same point in life so need all the help we can get. Unless you are very wealthy right now, thinking of living retired is a scary prospect! And my husband is thinking to retire early...SOON, as with diabetes especially, the unneedful stress level of a boss with severe mental issues is becoming totally unbearable (one rises to the highest level of their incomptetency they say).

I, for one, if you continue sharing, will try to understand!!
Blessings, Elizabeth in NC

Sammy said...

Your posts inspire me! I don't see someone looking for pity...I see someone who is wisely using the resources that God has provided! Keep up the goo work and I will continue to read!~Jennifer B.

Hannah said...

I feel uplifted every time I visit your site. I only hope I could turn someone away with a soft word who hurt me as she must have you. I look forward to reading your posts and have spent much time going through the archives. Every year we seem to be dealing with less and less income and your gives me hope that I too can deal with the future with grace, hope and frugality. Thank you for all you do.

Suze said...

I think Beth is feeling overwhelmed and perhaps a little frightened by the tightening of the knot on money - she sounds tired of economizing to the nth degree. She lashed out in a way because of her own hurting heart - I think prayer for her and her situation are in order. You, Brenda, just keep on doing what we all love and writing to our hearts from yours.

Sharon said...

Hi--I love your blog and look forward to it everyday. Please don't change a thing. Many of us are living as you do and it is wonderful to receive your encouraging words!!
Sharon

Bobbi said...

I love your blog and find it refreshing. Thank you for being so open.

Heather said...

I just wanted to send you a warm hug and thank you for such a caring and thoughtful response to a question that, while it was not meant to hurt I'm sure, did. You are such a special friend and you encourage my heart each and every time I stop by for a visit! Carry on!

Rhonda said...

oh, these commentors who write such hurtful things just spoil the blogging community.
I appreciate your honesty and hope you will keep blogging just as you have been.

Clare said...

Brenda, I have only been following your blog for a couple of weeks but in that time I have learnt so much from you! We are living quite tight at the moment with our 3 year old son needing to eat gluten free and not yet being eligible for any funding (we live in NZ) and your tips for a beautiful but frugal life (and especially tips for stocking my pantry while on a tight budget) have been soooooooo appreciated. I thank you so sincerely for your honesty and your heart to help others.

Stepsingrace said...

Brenda, I am a new reader who enjoys your blog very much. It is refreshing to find those brave enough to "be real" and share their hearts. I often feel my middle name is "Frugal" and am always glad to get new ideas. Keep us your beautiful sharing. God bless.

Clare said...

Brenda, I have only been following your blog for a couple of weeks but in that time I have learnt so much from you! We are on a tight budget at the moment, catering for our son (aged 3) who needs to be gluten free and we don't qualify for any funding yet (we live in NZ) and your tips for living a frugal but beautiful life (and especially your tips for stocking a pantry on a tight budget) have been so appreciated. Thank you for your honesty and your heart for helping others. (p.s. if you get two of these posts it's because the computer ate the first one I wrote! It may decide to give it back all of it's own accord...)

Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker too, coming out to say I found your blog a few months ago and love it!

I just had to chime in with agreement with all the other commentors today.

When I read the beginning of your post my first thought was "Oh how awful someone would even mention that", but you gave a very gracious reply!

I never have given a second thought if you used the words "limited income". Its what draws me to your blog as well as your love of Christ!

Your a blessing to many who read and I hope you will continue to bless us with your writings.

Looking forward to many more thrity living tidbits and a messages of Christ and Christian living! :)

Lindy

Vicki in UT said...

I also never thought you were asking for pity. Your financial situation is just a fact of life, and you explain very well how you live well and joyfully despite the lack of finances. Those are the posts which help me the most. My husband has been un-employed for 14 months now, underwent 2 major surgeries this winter, with 33 days in the hospital, and faces another surgery this month. Your blog gives me hope that we can not only survive this, but we can live through this with a quality life and joy, even though finances are so tight. Please keep writing your financial related posts.

Susan said...

Hello, I tried to post yesterday but it got lost in space ... your outlook and your posts all focus on the wonderful ways that our Heavenly Father has blessed you, in spite of the difficulties. Your posts have blessed, encouraged and challenged me to live a life of faith.

Thanks for blogging!

Monique Elisabeth said...

You are so right. We are in the same situation. My husband is on disability after being diagnozed with autism. He couldn't work anymore and has been on disability since November 2009. On only his income we can manage. I worked for 1 year, but had to stop ( my contract could only be renewed for six months and I didn't take that) and shortly after that I had to have an operation, which prevents me from lifting things. I have to be careful, so I am at home too, but don't receive any income, because I quit myself.
Here in The Netherlands you get 75% of your last income with disability and that is enough for us to live on, if we are frugal. We still got two kids at home, but the eldest has his own income.
I think it isn't pity you are after, but recognition and a way to express your feelings. This way other people know that they aren't alone in this. There are more people who are in the same situation !!
Hugs from The Netherlands.

Marie said...

Just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog and certainly disagree with the offensive post you mention. Thank you so much for all you do to brighten our days and encourage all of us. I look for your post every day!

Linda said...

On lots of blogging advice columns, they say not to assume that people know your circumstances and to repeat them, that the post has to sort of stand on it's own, so I don't think it is a problem.

Anonymous said...

Well, now. People are so funny. I have been reading your blog for a long time and really look forward to it as a place of beauty, calm and wisdom.I am amazed at how you live your life with such beauty and hope. You always inspire me.I also teach a homemaking class and direct the girls to your blog! Thank you for all you share. It is YOUR BLOG! Keep it up :o) Blessings, Dee

Lori said...

You help people bear their burdens by coming along side of them in your posts. In the midst of my own struggles I read your blog and I am encouraged because I see that you have been in hard places too, yet you have found a way through and managed to find joy in very difficult circumstances. There have been days when your posts have gotten me through because I remember that someone else has been there before me. I find comfort and encouragement in your words.

Lori said...

You help people bear their burdens by coming along side of them in your posts. In the midst of my own struggles I read your blog and I am encouraged because I see that you have been in hard places too, yet you have found a way through and managed to find joy in very difficult circumstances. There have been days when your posts have gotten me through because I remember that someone else has been there before me. I find comfort and encouragement in your words.

Anonymous said...

i went through the same thing with not having enough social security points because I had taken the time to homeschool my kids. That's something they never teach you about at homeschooling conventions, is it? I began doing private teaching again to get the points to qualify for the future. So sorry for your suffering. You DO help me with your pantry ideas and kind spirit in your blogs. It is so nice to have found your blog through a friends blog. I pray that God will turn your health around. L.D.

Anonymous said...

I guess there might be others out there new to your blog wondering. It is an honest question she posted ..hopefully not done in meanness. We all understand the message of your blog and appreciate it Brenda. Each in our own way comes to be financially low on funds but high in appreciation of God's blessings. No matter where they come from. ln that your husband qualified for help is a blessing. We wish he was healthy and did not need it but he worked hard and put in for others so when he needed it it was there for him. likewise food pantries are there and we thank God they are. You have helped many see the other side of maybe their own dark the cloud...to the bright side. Please do not be upset when others misunderstand or pose a question that may sound angry. We understand your message Brenda. Sarah

freetobeme - Anita said...

I love you, Brenda, and your honesty. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda,

I believe Beth herself is hurting financially, or knows those who are. When one's back is against the wall, it is easy to use strong words. Perhaps a better word would have been sympathy. I am sure that all of us who read your blog are sympathetic to your plight. Despite your impoverishment, you have made your home a cozy haven. Stay encouraged in the Lord! Missy

Manuela@TPOH said...

Oh dear...I'm sure she didn't mean it in a hurtful way (at least I hope not). Anyway, good answer Brenda.

I'm one of many that love your posts and find them not only informative but also encouraging. I've practically stopped reading all blogs except yours and few others {and not because I'm busy} :)

Manuela

Erin said...

Thank you for reminding us all that we can live well on a low or fixed income. I am always blessed to pop over to your blog. You are a wonderful mentor, and I appreciate your honesty.

Lynn said...

Thank you for writing this. A comment on my own blog floored me recently. But yes it has helped me mature :)
I like visiting here because you show beauty does not equal money.
God bless you Brenda.
L.x.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I agree with Beth. As someone mentioned it might be more beneficial if you put something in your bio or on the front page of your blog instead of constantly reminding that you live on a low income. Was there really a need to bring her comment to the attention of all your readers? It's like you are looking for reassurance. I feel badly for Beth for sharing an honest feeling. You previously mentioned a relative saying something too. Perhaps there is a bit of truth here?

Although you may live on a lower income, many do the same, including myself. By looking at the pictures of your home and yard, and mentions of all that you receive from friends, family, etc. (whether it be gift cards, a vacation, or help) I think you are doing better than a lot of lower-income people.

Cheryl

Sharon said...

Hi. Did you mean to post this all over again? I had thought that you had decided to carry on despite this person's negative comments. Keep doing what you are doing!! You are helping so many so many of us.
Thank You.
Sharon