One Less Thing: Would You Put It Back?

I am distracted this evening, annoyed with myself and with a woman I know named Lovelyn. Isn't that a grand name? And it suits her. She has that languid, easy flow about her that lets you know she is unruffled in most situations and would serve anyone she could. Here she is with her family.

I met Lovelyn when we did the "Listen to Your Mother" show. She read a piece called "The Motherless" in our Valparaiso show. I cried when I first heard her read it in our rehearsal. I cried when I heard her read during our show. I cried again just thinking of it. I began to consider for the first time in my Reluctant Mama life adopting a child. We have our hands full right now with our two little girls, but down the road I know this could become a reality for me.

Today I bounced across Facebook and saw Lovelyn's link to Etsy and a few things she is selling to raise money to fly back across the world to get another son to join their family of seven. I wanted to encourage her, to buy something. I didn't see anything I needed or wanted, but I posted a link on my Facebook page, asking friends to look and shop and support her. We have a budget and I felt I couldn't spend money right now.

I have eaten out several times in the past week. I plan to buy $30 sheets from Target even though we have three sets of sheets for our bed. (Just because a web site offered that as a staycation idea and I liked it.) I spend a lot of money on organic food every week. We have so much food in our house that it often goes bad and we put precious amounts of it on our compost pile in the back yard. Our living room furniture is starting to rip after eight years and I just bought $150 worth of slip covers for it. But I cannot buy a $14 shirt from Lovelyn?

We live simply and debt free. We are financially comfortable and blessed and grateful to live in America. There are many things I would like to buy, but because we choose to live simply and under our means I do not buy them. I am already frugal, and yet...what if I bought one less thing? What if every week I spent a little less on things I enjoy but do not need like organic eggs or a fourth running bra. What if I put one thing back every time I shop and instead give the money away? Would I be more blessed by someone's gratitude than by Starbucks coffee? Instead of four new $9.99 happy beach towels, what if I just used our old towels? I could spend the $40 on Etsy to shop and help another motherless child get home to a forever mother like Lovelyn? What about you? Could you put one thing back? Maybe you won't give money to my friend, but send it somewhere to someone who needs it more than you need that one more thing.

The quote from the offerings there still haunts me although I am sure I heard it before.

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Mother Theresa

So I feel foolish and greedy even though I know we are not extravagant or greedy. I am embarrassed to feel myself cling to prettier things instead of throwing money at someone as gracious and world changing as Lovelyn and her husband and her ever growing family. I feel humbled by my darling healthy girls and loving engaged husband. I know I can do more in the world to lift others up, to honor God and to share my blessings. But will I? I mean really, in a few days or a month will I feel the same humility? I hope so. And it can be by just putting one thing back, and placing that money somewhere better.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. What is your "One Less Thing", and will you put it back?


liz said...

You nailed this, Heather. Exactly how I feel: foolish, greedy, embarrassed. Thank God for Lovelyn & Matt. And what a beautiful family they have. Blessed and blessings.

love said...

oh, tears.

thank you, heather.

i chose that quote for me & i love that it touches everyone if they allow it to. thankful for it to come to mind so often. even recently as we considered getting instant hot water put in....i realized that we could sponsor 1 more child's medical/school/food for a YEAR with that money. crazy.

thank you for these words, your heart and humility. we are SO BLESSED by each person that truly is a part of our boys coming home by buying items or spreading the word. THANK YOU.

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Love, thank you for letting God use you to make my life richer, deeper and more meaningful. Even if it also proves more difficult. LOVE LOUD!

Anonymous said...

It's human nature to WANT more stuff. We have to be willing to suffer for what's REALLY important but it is soooo hard. Mother Teresa says, "By having nothing, we will be able to give everything." Easy to say, so hard to live! I struggle with wants versus needs. What do I really NEED? Very little....
I also recall someone saying you don't measure generosity by how much you have given but by how much you have held back. I hold far too much back. :(
Thanks for continuing to inspire!

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Lori- great quote....I too seem to reserve so much for myself...of time, energy, convenience. I look at other people (like Love or you) and feel do I struggle with only two kids, for instance?

Beth said...

The less things that I have, the more I am loving every second of life. I have become this way with everything. I didn't intend to take this path. I just kind of happened upon it and one thing lead to another. It started with natural parenting which lead to a search for simplicity and more time with my kid. This resulted in turning to minimalism, and that made me start thinking about the environment. In the end, I'm giving up everything I can to get out of debt and then start giving away and saving for retirement at the same time. Most recently, I'm giving up coffee. I spend $2 a day on coffee most days and do I really need it? Is there any reason water won't work? I'm lucky enough to have clean water which is more then a lot of the world and the plumbing is IN my house! I don't think its Human Nature to WANT things. I think its taught as a value. I am slowly giving away everything I own and I couldn't be happier.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Beautiful post. I did get a shirt from Love and honestly was hoping it didn't make things too tight this week. Then I found out I had PayPal money just sitting there that I didn't know I had so... that was a blessing.

I know just what you mean, tho.


HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Beth- Yes, I know you and I love the simple living...and Steph...great that you chose a shirt & were blessed with secret moolah! I'm getting one of the v necks when avail.

Kathy Friend said...

As someone who has adopted, who has made a decision to be broke and chronically in debt to bring a child home, and who had to humble herself to have fundraisers...just the notion that you care is enough...and I am sure means more than a monetary donation.

When we were in the throws of adoption fundraising it was embarrassing. The things people said to us and about us was horrible. But what that time proved to us was it showed the power of prayer, and unveiled the people who really care about us and Anya.

If adoption is God's will happen. I know you know our adoption story, so I don't want to bore you with the drama of all the international incidents, terrorist attacks, financial ruin and the like that tried to keep us from Anya...but I will tell your friend that GOD WILL PROVIDE - he always does, in miraculous ways. That provision not ONLY comes to those who are loving and fighting for orphans, but to those who also come along side the families who are fighting for those kiddos.

Trust me when I say that every prayer you say for orphans...for every dollar you "sacrifice" to bring a child into a loving home does not go unseen by The One who cares. It is His Will...He said "I will not leave you as orphans"...and he won't.

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Kathy, thank you for your beautiful words...and for speaking for the side who needs the encouragement! Your story should be a book!