A few days ago I wrote about 'materialism' as Stuff I Don't Love.  Well - it's still bugging me.  This morning my church's Thursday Bible study had its fall kickoff.  As a fun special program they put on a fashion show featuring items from local boutiques.  There were adorable pieces for both mommies and kiddos - and by the end of the show I had grown very dissatisfied with my own ancient, miss-matched wardrobe.  I had convinced myself that I needed to treat myself to a 'post-baby wardrobe overhaul' shopping spree for my upcoming birthday.  Starting, of course, with those boutiques.  Then we got to the actual Bible study part of the program - and reality kicked in.  I remembered who I was, and Whose I was.  It doesn't matter what I wear, it matters who I am.  Who cares if most of the clothes in my closet are hand-me-downs.  Who cares if I can't wear half of them because I'm still trying to lose weight.  What matters is that I put my money elsewhere.  That being said, I do have a shopping trip with hubby coming up so that we can each get a couple pairs of pants - but we're hitting the clearance racks (I already tried craigslist) so it shouldn't be too pricey.  I even scored over 40 pieces of clothing for my daughter for $25 at a garage sale today.  Some of the items were almost new - and I shouldn't have to shop for her again until she's 5!  I'm all for being thrifty when I can so I can spend my precious dollars on more worthy causes.

That being said, there's just something about fall that makes me want to shop shop shop.  Maybe it's all the back-to-school sales.  Maybe it's the impending holidays (and LOTS of birthdays).  Maybe it's those tantalizing holiday decorations that are sneaking onto store shelves earlier and earlier every year.  But whatever it is, it seems like I've got to hide my wallet to keep the money from flying out of it.  I feel like I'm pretty thrifty.  I coupon clip.  I meal plan.  I make detailed lists of what gifts I need to buy for which people and try to make (or buy for dirt cheap) as many of the items as I can.  I hang out on DIY blogs and websites.  And I try to be charitable when I can (need an item for a charity auction?  hit me up.  raising funds for adoption?  I'll get my wallet.  desperate for a last minute sitter?  can I bring my kids?)  But whether or not I actually toss the extra items in my cart, just the fact that my greed gland has been going has me disturbed. 

So my new goal is to work on contentment.  And here are the steps I plan to take:
1) Spend more time in the Lord.  If I'm satisfied in Him, the things of this world will lose their luster.
2) Make do with what I have.  If I can clear out, clean up, and spruce up the space I'm in and the things I have, I won't feel quite so envious of all the things I don't have.
3) Give things away.  My house is filled with junk I don't need.  It's hard to notice the things I do have that I love, when I'm so distracted by the forgotten toys, the ill-fitting clothes, and all those piles we have lying around.
4) Make a list of my wants, and weigh them.  Instead of buying something I want, I'm going to write it down.  I'll set aside my list for a while, and revisit later.  Anything I no longer feel a burning desire for, I'll cross off right away.  Anything that remains will fall into one of two categories:  Make it myself and Buy it for cheapAnd I can take it from there.
5) Make a list of other people's needs.  There are so many needs that I see every day that hang on my heart. I need to get them organized and on paper so that when I do have time, or funds, or items available I know how most efficiently to put them to use.  'Good intentions' don't mean much when I'm too disorganized to act on them.

So that's my plan for avoiding the Gimmes this year.  Who's with me?  Anyone else going through this struggle?  What's your plan of action?  I'd love to hear from you!


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