Friday, February 03, 2012

Our Words ... And Setting Limits

So yesterday our dear realtor friend, Cher, came over to lunch and oh! She said the last time she was here with us, it was a house... but now we had turned it into a home. If she liked something, she said so and by the time she left, our house felt prettier and I felt more creative. Wow.

And well, I couldn't help but compare this visit to the one by our neighbor out on the farm , who, after a half hour, said nothing about our home. And after she left? I kinda felt like a decorating dud.

Over and over again I see the truth in these verses:

"The power of  Life and Death are in the tongue."  ... Proverbs 18:21

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver."  ... Proverbs 25:11

Weekly I tell myself, "Let the encouragement flow. Don't keep silent out of shyness, fear or anything else. Bless people by the truth. Never hold back."

And today I'm saying that to you, too....


Limits! Lately I'm thinking about the value of limits.

I get Stan Brown's ( weekly emails and in last week's he gave a list of the price limits of groceries he'll pay before stocking up on each item. Here's a sampling:

Healthy/organic cereal: $1.25 per box
Spaghetti sauce: under $1 per jar
Pasta/noodles: under .50 cents per package
Juice: Under $1.25 per 64 oz. for 100% juice
Cheese: under .50 cents per shredded 8 oz. package
Facial tissues: .90 cents for 200 count
Yogurt: .24 cents per 6 oz. cup

Oy! Those are some pretty low limits. They inspired me much, though, especially since I'd just finished reading the old book, How I Feed My Family on $16 per Week, by Jo Ann York. Her book radically talks about setting limits on the prices you will pay for groceries, especially if --because of your financial situation--you must.

Well, I was able to skip supermarket shopping last week, but when I returned Tuesday I noticed that with Stan and Jo Ann's influence, I left things there that I otherwise would have bought. Seems I, too, have lowered my own personal price limits for in some cases I've had to.

I mean, oh! I now have enough pasta sauce to feed an Italian village. At first my limit was 1.69, then 1.49, then 1.00, but now I'll not buy another jar unless it's lower than that. Sure is hard to stop buying stuff sometimes, especially when all the times you've paid full price still haunt you.

And just with this whole couponing thing... oh my! Have you seen how involved you can get online? There are tons of coupon blogs and coupon websites, some which you can earn points for higher value coupons and some where you can buy coupons (something I never do since it's technically not legal) and stores have their websites where you can get coupons and companies have coupons at their websites and there are Facebook coupons and ecoupons you can load on your shopper's card and refunding clubs and of course, there are a ton of huge stores out there which will take your coupons and some will double or triple them and others will give you back vouchers for dollars off next time if you buy just the right amount of stuff  and--

---- on and on until--if people get in over their heads--they get all exasperated, walk over to the trash can, throw their coupons all away and scream, "It's not worth the hassle!" And yes! If you're going to push yourself into coupon insanity, then I agree, it's certainly not worth it.

But that's where blessed limits will save us. They save me, anyway. I already told you I refuse to shop at WalMart--the hugeness of it overwhelms me, turns me into a frightened little girl who just wants to run away. :)  And with the whole coupon thing? I only am involved on a comfortable level. I've got my sorting and clipping routines down and my times of day set for reading my daily coupon blog emails. And I'm enjoying it all: that's the key, too. Recognizing when Grace is upon you to do a thing--and when she's left the building forever--is vital. Grace brings a kind of ease, an extra strength, an extra joy in the doing.

Well, anyway.... I hope this makes sense and I also hope you realize I'm not just talking coupons here. Limits are necessary so to help keep our sanity through many of Life's situations, for as we all know, there's always something..... something designed to push us over the edge and turn us into emotional zombies. But setting limits will help keep us sane, at least a little while longer. :)


Cher was remembering my dressing table closet in our first suburb house so I sent her a picture of it for her friend who likes such things, along with a link to photos from that house which I'd practically forgotten I had. If you'd like to visit there again, go here. I'd also forgotten how creative I used to be--must have all dribbled out my ears while at the farm. :)



Echoes From the Hill said...

Charming photos of the house you used to own. Lots of good ideas!

I agree that people should find something nice to say. Even if you don't like the style or decorating, you can find something positive to say. "Nice color on the walls". "Nice view". "Very colorful". "You have made so many improvements". Whatever. You can always find something nice to say.

Recently I showed the latest photos of my grandchildren to a friend. She didn't have a word to say. I am biased, but these kids are really very cute. I was telling my closest friend that even if you think a child is not very appealing, you can always find something positive to say. "What a cute smile". "Pretty eyes". "His personality really shows through".
Saying nothing, feels very negative.

Regarding the price limits. I have done that for a long time, but with prices increasing rapidly, I have had to increase my minimums.
We have Kroger affiliate stores, where I live, and they are currently having great prices when you buy 10 participating items. I just stocked up on pasta at
49 cents, and 12 oz. cans of tomato sauce for 49 cents. The 6 oz cans are normally about a dollar. When you find a great sale, it is definitely time to stock up, because the next time you need an item, it is sure to be twice as much.

Great post.

Elizabeth said...

Oh Debra, I enjoyed those photos of your old house, that was before I knew you. They were wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Ah, you were plenty creative at the farm...but maybe all that work kept you from some of the kinds of creative you would rather do. I know that paring down for me is ok, because truly? I would enjoy more time to quilt, sew, write, read, crochet, etc...and that can take place in even an RV!! Finding what we need for our lifestyle is sometimes so different from "the ole American way" of doing! And besides some of the teachers we enjoy listening to point out that if GOD allowed it, it had a purpose, did learn right?? I sometimes think learning might be a very prime purpose in things!!
Elizabeth in NC

Debra said...

NancyR--Oh! I can't even imagine looking at children's photos and not saying anything! Thanks for sharing your story--that's a perfect example.

Elizabeth--it feels like I've known you forever. I was surprised that you didn't know me back when we lived in that house! :)

Elizabeth from NC--whenever I put a smiley at the end of the sentence, it shows I'm smiling, teasing or being tongue-in-cheekish. The creativity statement wasn't really a serious one. But thanks. :)

Thanks, Everyone! ... Debra

Lynn said...

Just to say I was taught as a child NEVER to make personal comments about a person's appearance or home, that it was intrusive and rude. So when people "say something nice" about how I look or my house, it makes me distinctly uncomfortable.
Uour real estate lady would have driven me up the wall, and I'd have been just fine with the neighbor who was polite enough, by my values, not to make remarks about something so personal as my home. Another perspective.

Debra said...

Lynn--oh dear. It's better to hold back your kind, positive thoughts rather than share them so to lift up others? I can't imagine such a thing being pleasing to God. Sorry. "The law of kindness is upon her tongue"--that's what He said about the Proverbs 31 woman. She had to *speak* in order for the kindness to be present, to be upon her tongue. And it's that law of kindness I've chosen to live by--and voice-- so I will keep complimenting others when I visit their homes or when they are wearing something I find lovely, etc. "To Him who knows the right thing to do and does it not, to Him it is sin." (I live by that, too.) Blessings, Debra

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this whole post. My creative juices seemed to have ebbed for a few years and are now resurfacing. To everything there is a season... Thanks for the grocery price limit chart. Some of them are hard to do now a days but I have followed JoAnn's idea of limiting the amount I will spend for a certain food or group of foods etc too. Even in clothing it has helped to set a limit. I enjoy going to the site: She has set a certain amount for her groceries for a long time now due to budget concerns. I get a lot of ideas and recipes there. There are so many helps on the web aren't there!! I think commenting positively to people is an encouragement and it is easy to find positive things to sincerely comment on. Sarah

Debra said...

Sarah--yay! I'd just been thinking about you, how it had been awhile since you'd written.... so I'm glad you did. :) Thanks for that website--it sounds perfect! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for your kind words! Blessings, Debra