american consumerism in a nutshell

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Recently I saw this commercial on TV for a cell phone company:

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I entitle this: “American consumerism in a nutshell”. If you can’t see the video, here is the scene: Two children are lounging in the living room, reading magazines. Their father comes in and informs them that he has taken advantage of a new cell plan and now they can do all sorts of stuff (text and pics) with their phones. The kids tell their dad that they do that anyways, and the dad responds, “Yeah but now we can afford for Mom to quit her second job”.

I understand that you can’t read too much into a commercial. However, I think this scene is all too familiar these days. We have placed such a value on material things that we make sacrifices to get them. Unfortunately, often family time is one of the first things to go. We work multiple jobs in order to afford what we think is “necessary”. In the end, what really matters?

I won’t even say anything about how the kids really don’t care about the financial situation of their family, or that they’re just lounging around… ;-)

I know this is a constant struggle for me. I like things and I find myself going after what I want even if it’s not the wisest decision. I hope I can remember this lesson in my years ahead, especially once we have children and I am tempted to take another job to pay for “extras” for them.

2008 Gerig Reunion!

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I mentioned this in my previous post, and I’ve been sending out mass emails, but I am repeating myself JUST IN CASE there is someone who is interested who reads this blog and isn’t in my email list. You can go to the Gerig Reunion page on my website for the current information about the reunion, or you can join the Facebook Event page that is essentially the same information with the added bonus of being able to RSVP, see the guest list, and join in discussions.

August 8-10, 2008

Brown County State Park
1405 State Road 46 West,
Nashville, IN

Feel free to pass along this information to others who might be interested. Keep up with the most current details on either the Facebook Event page or this page.

what's new with me

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I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve really written in here. The past few posts have been ones I finally finished from my drafts folder. Don’t get me wrong – I have a LOT of post ideas running through my head! However, when I sit down to write them, nothing comes to mind.

* Bible Study I have started attending a women’s Bible study on Tuesday nights. It’s all about how to be a good wife, and so far I’ve really been enjoying it! Even though I know a lot of the stuff already, I think it’s good to be reminded. This particular study was written by the woman who is leading it, and I love how she logically connects things (versus a “to do” list for the perfect wife). Right now, we’re talking about not trying to change our husbands but accepting and loving them as they are, just as Christ loves us. On Sunday mornings, Paul and I are still attending the newlyweds class. We’re doing a series called “Love and Respect” (by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs). It’s really insightful, and ties in a lot with the Bible study.

* Employment One of the reasons Paul and I met with a budget coach was to see if we COULD make it work on just his salary. We decided after number crunching that it would be best if I went back to work and we continue to hack away at our loans. After three months, full-time freelance just wasn’t bringing enough money in – and I learned that I don’t have what it takes to get a new business up and running (at least right now). Perhaps I’ll try it again in the future, but for now I’d rather work at a job and get to a place where we won’t be reliant on me bringing in income. I found a job in graphic design, and I start in the next few days.

* Heat The day I found out I had gotten the job, I turned our heater on. It has been SOO wonderful having warmth in the house! I am surprised that I am even finding myself WARM at times, even though the thermostat is still set to 65. Last winter I insisted that the thermostat go no lower than 68, and even turned it up to 70 a few times. It’s interesting how perspective changes about what is “needed” when our life circumstances change.

* Blankets For an early birthday present, my parents got us an electric blanket! I was very excited about this. Paul is still convinced it’s going to burst into flames any minute. I am quite enjoying going to bed and having the sheets already warm. This was good timing, because we were able to move the blanket that was on our bed to the guest bed in preparation for Isaac coming to visit in a few weeks!

* Computer So our desktop computer bit the dust recently. We took it in to be fixed, but we were told that since it’s 4 years old we should probably upgrade. After consulting with my brother, we decided that we’re going to do that. In the meantime, though, we’re sharing the laptop. Us sharing a computer lasted oh, 3 days, before Paul pulled out the Linux box, fixed it with pieces from the broken computer, and now it’s up and running. :-) We are happy. We found that we would get really bored while we waited around for the other person to finish using the computer. It’s been somewhat frustrating, though, because all my files are on the harddrive of the broken computer, so I haven’t been able to get to them! We found another computer for about $300, but we’re going to wait until after I get my first paycheck.

* TV Speaking of electronics breaking, our TV has been slowly dying. We’re getting to the point where we feel like we’re listening to shows instead of watching them. My parents have the 13″ tv that I had in college which they are willing to give me, but I don’t think our current TV is going to last long enough for their next trip up here (which isn’t in the foreseeable future). So, we may go to Goodwill and just buy a new one. I was disappointed to see that new TVs cost close to $200. That’s ridiculous!

* M*A*S*H I have finally finished watching all eleven seasons of M*A*S*H, including the 2.5 hour series finale! I really enjoyed them, and I’m looking forward to watching the extras. Towards the end I was watching a lot of them at once – I think that may be one reason for my lack of blogging-ness.

* Reunion I have been busy trying to get a date and location for the 2nd annual Gerig Reunion. I think we’ve just about decided on a date… I’m excited! As always, you can find out more info here.

Okay I am going to stop now because I think this has gotten long enough. :-)

want free stuff?

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PhotobucketThis week is Rocks In My Dryer’s huge Bloggy Giveaway! To go and see all sorts of cool stuff you can win, visit here.

Also, yours truly is giving away some stuff too! Not on this blog, but over at Two Kitties and a Puppy… I’m giving away two books! You should go over there and check it out. I spent the weekend redesigning my site, and I’m pretty happy with the result. I’m trying to get more readers over there (there are only like 3 posts with comments!) so feel free to browse around the archives and come back for more posts. :-)

sunday ponderings: fighting for simplicity

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Today’s sermon was really, really good. Our pastor is doing a series called “The Fight” – about time management in our busy schedules of today. Today’s sermon audio isn’t on the website yet, but when it is available you can listen to it here. For now, I’ll try to summarize the message from my notes.

He talked about simplicity not being measured by the quantity of possessions and responsibilities, but rather by the narrowness of one’s focus. Our pastor defined simplicity as the product of seeking the right things, so as to be freed from dangerous things, so as to enjoy the best things. Now let me break that down for you:

* Seeking the RIGHT things (God’s kingdom and His righteousness)

Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

– Simplicity is the by-product of seeking the RIGHT things
– It’s not about “get rid of all your things”
– Putting our lives and possessions in the proper focus

* So as to be freed from dangerous things (personal possessions)

Matthew 19:21-26: “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me… I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

– We need to learn to let GO so we can let LOOSE
– Our possessions can own US if we’re not careful – Jesus needs to be our owner, not our things
– God never forbids having possessions, but He does caution us against them
– “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20)

* So as to enjoy the best things (peace and contentment)

Luke 12:15: “…Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

– If God is our focus, everything else will call into place
– Greed keeps us from being satisfied
– Sometimes you have to say “enough is enough” (instead of always striving for bigger and better)
– Ask yourselves: Is my focus too much on what I have?

7 Recommendations for Simplicity

  1. Buy things for their usefulness, never for their status.
  2. Don’t buy anything when you feel you have to have it but don’t necessarily need it.
  3. Don’t buy anything in the face of an emotional appeal.
  4. Don’t buy anything that produces or leads to an addiction in you.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  6. Resist buying anything that will distract you from your primary goals or objectives in life.
  7. Develop the habit of giving things away.

I thought this message was thought-provoking and challenging. Number 5 of the above list is especially applicable to me! Our pastor encouraged us to pray that God would give us a desire to seek Him and simplify our lives.


What did you learn at church today? Leave a link to your own “Sunday Ponderings” blog post, or you can just mention your thoughts in the comments. Read more about this weekly carnival and get the code for the “Sunday Ponderings” graphic here.