Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Poor Old Days?

All of that "Suzy Homemakering" yesterday reminded me of those years when Tom and I were first married. Gee, were we ever poor back then! Money-wise, I mean.

Whenever I peek backward at our lean years, I see myself usually in my various kitchens of our little homes, happily creating something from nothing. I became a professional at that. I could make two casseroles from one pound of ground beef and two pies, not just one, from a little can of pumpkin. I baked all my own pie crusts, cookies and cakes--my wooden rolling pin was always coated in flour, it seemed.

I borrowed books from the library, almost never bought any unless they were nearly free. Half of these books were ones which taught me how to save money and time and money and energy and did I say money? A money-saving artist--that's what I became.

And you know? I smile when I remember those days. Heck, being poor was almost fun. Oh, not the kind of being poor which comes from spending money foolishly or making unwise, hurry-and-get-nice-stuff decisions. No, that feels too much like bondage. But the kind of being poor from starting-out with nothing and then, willingly, with hope and godly wisdom, working and s-l-o-w-l-y acquiring nice things, appreciating them more for the wait.

Yes, being poor was more fun than awful, but only those aproned afternoons when I chose to see it as a challenge and not a problem. A challenge is something you rise above and conquer. A problem, if seen and left only as a problem, is too easily turned into a big, ugly, hairy deal...something to complain and argue and whine about.

And I think it was way back around 1980, or so, that I learned that problems are better-handled and more bearable when they're--poof!-- turned into challenges, instead. Challenges are interesting... they lead you to libraries and learning and to people who know more than you do. They take you to places you never would have traveled to otherwise. They stretch you until you discover yourself becoming strong and optimistic and unafraid of experiences not yet yours.

They teach you that problems down new roads are guaranteed, but you also have learned, by now, that each challenge, conquered, will make you just a little bit richer. I'm not just talking money-wise, either.

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