Life Before and After

Maybe you’ve been living an ordinary life.  Maybe it wasn’t everything you dreamed or wished for, but it’s okay, a good life.  For some people life is divided into two distinct halves, before it happened and after.  “It” could be an accident, a stroke, a suicide, a diagnosis, a sudden and unexpected death.  Regardless of the cause of this devastating change in life, the good life that seemed rather dull or lacking before is now extraordinary, something to which you want desperately to return.  Life after the event is hard, harder than you ever dreamed it could be, each day a new set of obstacles to overcome, hard questions to answer, a myriad of unpleasant tasks to do, suffering to endure, a stark and vivid contrast to what things were like just a short time ago. 

What can be done to overcome this trial?  What are the five easy steps to reduce and yes, please, remove this devastation?  To give a pat answer or a cheery platitude would be insulting and insensitive to those who are standing in the center of the wreckage.  The well meaning people who do this enrage and alienate, much like the friends of Job who gave their opinions on the reasons for his loss and suffering. Frankly, there is no quick and easy solution, no magic cure to make it all better, no time machine to take you back to the day before it happened.

Time, however, makes the wound less prominent, though the scar remains indefinitely. One day you awaken and ‘it’ is not the first thing you think about, it’s the second or maybe the third and you realize that one day at a time you’ve started living a new normal, one you wouldn’t have chosen, but the one you’ve been given.  No, it’s not the good and ordinary life you had before, the one you now perhaps realize you didn’t appreciate as much as you should have, but you’ve somehow figured out a way to navigate through it.

My nearly three year old granddaughter had spent considerable time creating a Duplo® creation.  While she was walking across the family room to put it on a shelf and out of the reach of her younger sister, she stumbled and it fell and broke in several pieces.  Her frustration and sadness poured out in tears and screaming.  Her Dad sat down next to her and put the blocks back into place and let her know he was fixing it, but her cries didn’t subside.  Her Mom, Dad, me, and her siblings tried to offer encouragement, but her anger and anguish could not be comforted. 

Before the fall

After a few moments, she got up off the floor and ran into the waiting arms of her Mom and she asked her to play one of her favorite songs on her phone.  Tears streamed down my face as I listened because I realized that in the midst of broken things and insurmountable grief it’s possible to find comfort in the arms of those who love us and listen to songs that ease the pain, if only temporarily.

If you are in this hard place right now, I pray that you will lament all that you’ve lost, that you will vent your rage and cry out and grieve.  It may seem like you’re all alone, but I encourage you to reach out to others who have a similar story.  There are a multitude of resources available online and locally.  A few links are listed below, but a quick Internet search for your ‘it’ will point you in the right direction. Lastly, here’s a link to the song that brought comfort to my granddaughter.  May it bring hope and peace to you as well.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome



Heart Attack

2017 Endeavors

The first week of January is long gone already!  While my actual 2017 goals still remain a bit elusive, I want to share a few things that I’m going to endeavor this year.  First, I am doing whatever I can to make sure that the things that I do and the items that I buy do not harm anyone.  There are a lot of clickable links in this post – if any topic piques your curiosity, I encourage you to go deeper and learn more about it.

Eat Less Beef

When I was a kid, our beef was raised in our own barn, along with chickens, ducks, and pigs.  It wasn’t always easy to see an animal go from baby to the processor (it was pretty easy, however, when that chicken took a chunk out of your leg when you were walking the path from the school bus to the house, or when that steer gave you a swift kick in the stomach for no good reason), but we knew what the animals ate, the conditions in which they lived, and the quality of life they experienced.  While there’s a growing movement of small farms going back to sustainable and humane methods of raising animals, billions of animals are now raised in CAFOs or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. If you’re not familiar with CAFOs, please click CAFOs above.  Warning: There are extremely disturbing images and information on this site. 

This year I’ll be eating less beef as raising it has the most dramatic negative impact on the environment.  There’s still a little in the freezer and if I dine at someone’s home I will thankfully eat what has been prepared, but as much as possible, I will eat less.  Hopefully we will eventually be able to raise our own pigs and chickens on the farm, but if not, I will obtain them from a local farmer that I know.

Buy Fair Trade Whenever Possible

Perhaps it’s just me, but I honestly had no idea that so many things I consume and enjoy have the potential to cause a great deal of harm to others.  Awhile back I wrote For The Love Of Chocolate but unfortunately, that’s just one industry that enslaves men, women, and children.  There is also cotton and sugar and tobacco and coffee and rice and fruit and vegetables and seafood (shrimp and tuna) and clothes and shoes and bricks and iron and gold and diamonds – you can read more here and here.  January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month so a quick Internet search will give you lots of additional information.

When I buy any of these food or clothing items, I look for local, fair trade, and organic in the hope that no one suffered so I could eat a meal or dress myself.  I use the Better World Shopping Guide if I need to purchase something, making sure that I patronize companies that have a good track record for supporting human rights. Though I’m not in the market to buy diamonds or gold, if I were, I would go to a locally owned jewelry store that sells vintage or estate jewelry. 

Purchase Used Items Instead of New

In 2006 a group of people in San Francisco started a group called The Compact.  Their goal was to go for twelve months without buying anything new.  You can read all the details here.  My favorite proponent of The Compact is Katy Wolk-Stanley, who blogs at Katy consistently shares Five Frugal Things that she’s done or articles she’s written for Clark Howard’s money saving website. Katy promotes the New England adage “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”  This saying was popular during World War II, but post war prosperity made it obsolete.  In fact, we replace things when we get tired of them with little thought to the environmental cost.

When I was working, some of the dresses and sweaters I wore were purchased at thrift stores.  If anyone noticed, they didn’t say anything about it. Maybe because no one really notices or <gasp!> cares?  Since my retirement, I’ve purchased several winter clothing items at my local thrift store and also raided my Mom’s donation box (thanks for the hat, Mom, it’s perfect!) Sure, they aren’t necessarily in my favorite color or the most attractive, but I’ve found that Hannah and the chickens aren’t really that concerned about how fashionable I look and my main concern is avoiding frostbite.

As much as possible, I will buy from thrift and antique stores.  Yes, it can be time consuming and it’s rare that I find everything I want or need exactly when I want or need it.  Yes, sometimes I have to scrounge through a lot of sketchy stuff to find a gem.  It seems a small concession as I work toward my last endeavor, which is reducing waste.

Reduce Waste

It’s virtually possible to purchase anything that isn’t packaged with scads of non-reusable or non-recyclable materials. Yes, I take my cloth bags along to the grocery store and use little cloth bags when I’m purchasing bulk produce or beans and nuts.  I also take my bags into thrift stores and other retailers so I don’t have to take home yet another plastic bag, which is good, but it only scratches the surface of the problem. There are some products that come in recyclable containers, but the truth is that not everything that is recyclable actually gets recycled, even when someone takes the time to put it into the recycle bin.  The impact of all this waste on the planet is pretty frightening.  You can read more about the zero waste movement here and here.  

It’s little weird, but I made a to go kit that I keep in my car so that if I need to take home leftovers, or if I need to get a drink when I’m out, I have a container or glass to use, avoiding styrofoam or cardboard containers and plastic water bottles. It’s also possible that I take along a freshly laundered pillowcase when I go to Tecumseh Bread & Pastry so I can use it to put bread, bagels, and other baked goods inside.

There are a lot of ways to reduce waste and I’m just getting started on putting things into practice.  Eating less beef, which is typically packaged in styrofoam and plastic, and purchasing used instead of new are also steps in the right direction. 

Lastly, I want to leave you with a song that I enjoy listening to on New Year’s Day, This  Year, by JJ Heller.  You can listen to the official version of This Year or the version I like best here.  I hope you’ll click the link and listen.  My favorite part is the last verse where it says “I plan on thinking less of I and me and resolve to think of us and we.” 

If you’ve already got your goals all lined up for the year, please leave a comment on at the top of the post or on Facebook so I will be inspired to get mine wrapped up!

21 Day Spending Fast – Weekend Read

In January of 2015, a few months before I started this blog, I decided to do a spending fast, based on the book The 21 Day Financial Fast by Michele Singletary. Last year I opted not to do the fast, but this year, since I’m on a fixed income of sorts, I’m going to give it another shot. Since there are so many other things I want to talk about this month, I’m not going to log the daily journey, but I’ve copied and edited excerpts from my 2015 Facebook posts below.  It’s my hope that you will find it somewhat entertaining and inspiring.  Typically I don’t post anything this long on the blog, but feel free to read it in snippets or as a long weekend read.

Day 1 of the Financial Fast was easy – it’s really easy not to spend any money if you don’t leave the house! I’m vacationing in Arizona so it was a day of rest and relaxation interrupted only by a walk on a trail to a nearby park.

Day 2 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: I’m still in Phoenix and there are all kinds of fun things to see and do here. Since I knew I was going to be doing the fast, I researched what we could do for free. I did this all the time when my kids were little (and it was much harder then because there was no Internet!), but I haven’t done it in a long time. We went to see Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale. We walked around the grounds and I learned a lot about the crops that were grown here and about life on the ranch. We even got to see a wedding that was happening in the rose garden! Since there was no admission, day 2 happened without any spending.

Day 3 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: I flew from Phoenix, AZ back to Michigan today, along with about a million other people. My sister was so sweet to pack me a lunch so I could eat it on the plane. In addition to the fast, I’m also one of those crazy environmentalists, so I had my refillable water bottle. Most airports have a dispenser by the water fountain so you can fill your bottle before you get on the plane. Yes, it did require a little planning and I had more stuff to carry, but it is possible to travel without spending money on exorbitantly priced food and water.

Usually when I’m in the airport I will walk through a store or two, especially if they have toys that I might want to buy for my grandkids. I purposely avoided that today – a week after Christmas, there’s certainly nothing else they need right now.  I did have to put gas in the car on the ride home – $23.50.

Day 4 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: I drove back home to Nashville today. My aunt sent food home with me and I brought water so my only spending today was for gas.

Today’s topic in the book is tithing. I’ve been tithing for several years now and I occasionally give an offering so I was feeling pretty good about myself! But then I realized that even when I was pretty much broke and on the verge of bankruptcy, I had food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to lay my head at night. So do I actively look for ways to bless people? Umm . . . Or give sacrificially trusting that God will provide for me? Uhhh . . . Guess I have a little work to do here.

Day 5 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Ah, Sirius, how I have loved you! We have traveled many miles together and I have enjoyed your company immensely, your commercial free programming, your myriad of stations to choose from, the way you are always there for me even when I’m driving through remote places. But today’s topic is entitlement. I really, really tried to justify my NEED for satellite radio. I travel a lot. It’s commercial free. I listen to Christian music on The Message. But truly, there’s no way I can justify $200+ a year. Sure, I was given the option to change to a more affordable subscription and I really wanted it. But I stood fast on my decision and kept saying no thank you. And for the price I pay for my semi-annual subscription, I can support several of my favorite artists by buying their albums.

Day 6 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s chapter was about contentment and cleaning your house. Literally cleaning out every room in the house and looking at all the stuff. I’ve been on a purging binge over the last couple of months and here’s why. Three years ago everything I owned fit in a van. And I didn’t own the van! I bought a car and filled up a one bedroom apartment. Then I moved to a two bedroom apartment and filled that up. On a recent flight I passed the time by making a list of every possession in my house. It was a long list. But none of those things offer happiness or contentment.

I am incredibly blessed by the things that do bring me true contentment. My kids, their wives, and my grandchildren, my siblings and my aunts and uncles and cousins, too numerous to mention by name, my job, the awesome people on my team, dear friends that are always there for me, and a ridiculous dog that wants to play ball 24 hours a day. Just thinking about all these people as I type puts a huge smile on my face.

I’m going to keep purging things. I want to spend my time hanging out with people, not cleaning and shuffling all my stuff around. I like the freedom that comes from living a simple life. And at the end of my life I hope people remember me for the great times we had together and not for all the stuff on my long, long list.

Day 7 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s topic is budgeting. Now, I’m somewhat odd, because I love spreadsheets. And spreadsheets are great for budgeting. So great, in fact, that I’ve had a budget for every year since 2003. Yay me, right? I can tell you what I’ve spent in every category in my budget for over 10 years! And I always balance to the penny due to an awkward perfection gene that runs in my family.

Looking at those dollars is pretty sobering at the end of the year – sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so much. This year I realized that I spent over $5000 on food. Mostly for myself. Because I really, really like food! And I like to buy it directly from the farmer at the Farmer’s Market or from The Turnip Truck, an awesome grocery store here in Nashville. I picked 42 pounds of peaches this summer along with assorted other fruit. I even bought half of a pig this past November. But here’s the thing. I have a lot of food in my house. I can probably go for several months without buying much. And that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m going to see how long I can go without buying food at the grocery store. It means giving up some stuff, stuff I really like, but the truth is that I will still be far more well fed than 90+% of the population. And I hope at the end of the year that line item on my budget will be much more in line.

Day 8 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: I’m a third of the way through the fast and so far I’ve stayed the course. Today’s topic is saving. It’s funny – we all KNOW we’re supposed to save but very few of us do. As much as I’ve wanted to do the right thing, I rarely have. I could give you a lot of excuses, but to be honest, they’re all lame. I got paid today so I took Michelle’s advice and only a little reluctantly put 5% of it into my savings account. It wasn’t very exciting – no feelings of happiness and pleasure like I get from buying an antique or a new book or CD or something fabulous to cook and eat. But maybe that’s a good thing. I need to remember where true joy comes from and it’s not from stuff I buy with money. No more excuses, it’s time for change.

Day 9 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s topic? Investing! Yea!! I definitely would have preferred to take a skipsies on this chapter. I got started investing late in the game (as in just a few years ago) and it seems like every time I turn around I see some ad asking if I’ve socked away enough for my future. In a word? No. So I’m probably going to be working until I’m 87. I was supposed to go on the internet, login to my account (did that and the same paltry sum was in there) and check out some investing sites (not gonna do it – c’mon, it’s Friday night!). So to appease my guilt at not following the plan I cleaned out two drawers and two cupboards in my kitchen (see Day 6). Now I’m going to play with the dog so she stops putting her head in my lap, read some FB posts, and read a book that doesn’t make me think about stuff I sometimes would rather ignore.

Day 10 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Money and Marriage is today’s topic. It seems like every marriage has a saver and a spender, right? All I can say is that if you’re married and you haven’t completely merged all of your accounts and you aren’t completely transparent about your finances, there might be problems. Okay, there WILL be problems.

It’s Saturday and on Saturday I usually load up the dog and we run errands – grocery store, pet store, thrift store, maybe an antique store. It felt pretty odd not to do those things. I did go to the library to borrow a movie, though. It’s free so I thought it would fit into the fast. 

I also did more purging today – this time tackling the bedroom closets. Since I purged a few months ago, there weren’t too many things to put in the donate pile. Then I dusted the dressers and decided that I’m done dusting a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really have a purpose and that stuff went into the donate pile. Now the bedroom looks much neater but my spare room is filled with piles of stuff!

Day 11 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s topic is talking to your kids about money. I will have to let my boys say how successful I was at this. I did talk to them about budgeting – even made them come to a Financial Peace course I taught! They were in High School at the time and I’m not sure they really appreciated it. In my experience knowing the right way to handle money and actually handling it that way are two different things. We live in a seductive world that’s always trying to get us to buy something and it’s really hard to resist it.

I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone without going to the grocery store in my adult life. I’ve had to plan a little more when it comes to meals and what I come up with isn’t always a favorite, but it feels good to be deliberate about it. Of course, it’s easy to say that now because I’ve got a bag of chips stashed in the cupboard. I may be singing a different tune in a couple of weeks!

Day 12 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: I’m halfway through the fast! Today’s topic is debt. I don’t have anything good to say about debt. I’ve been on both ends of the debt spectrum and I can tell you that debt free is hands down the better choice. In December of last year, I read a fabulous book by Bill Hybels called Simplify. On page 103 of the ebook version he says, “Debt comes from wanting more than God’s provision for your life and arranging other ways to get it.”  Yikes! I never thought about it that way before – “hey, God, thanks for making me richer than 80% of the world’s population so I never have to worry about being fed and warm, but that’s not quite enough for me so I’m going to take things into my own hands and get some more stuff, m’kay?”

Day 13 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s Chapter – The Curse of Credit. I’ve been without a personal credit card for about 2 years. I’m not gonna lie – it was a little scary – it was my safety net! There are a few things that are a little challenging without one, like renting a car, but my life went on without any ripples. The thing that struck me most about this chapter was this statement by Michele Singletary: “Researchers have found that people’s willingness to purchase more products or services increases with the use of plastic.” That’s been true for me – it doesn’t matter if it’s a store credit card or a Visa or MasterCard – I don’t think about how much I’m spending because I don’t have to deal with it until the bill comes. When the bill comes it’s just like other monthly payments – I don’t think about the individual transactions, it’s just another monthly bill.

I’m very curious to know how many of the people I know live without personal credit cards. It’s a very odd thing to be without one today, when we know we shouldn’t leave home without it. The most ironic thing about all the credit cards I’ve had in my lifetime? It’s likely that I no longer have any of the stuff I purchased with them. How important were those purchases when I don’t even have them anymore?

Day 14 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s chapter is about co-signing. Whew, I’m good on this one – I’ve never co-signed on a loan for anyone except my spouse. I’ve signed on a lot of loans, though, never really thinking about how much less I would have paid if I’d saved the money and paid for it up front. Even though I know it’s possible to live life differently, I’m not sure I could save up for a big ticket item like a car or a house. That would take a lot of discipline and I’m not sure I could be that patient. I mean, I don’t need immediate gratification, but the thought of having to save up for YEARS to buy something, that would be hard.

There’s only a week left of the fast. So far I’ve given my tithe, saved some money, gave some money away, paid my car insurance, and filled the car with gas a couple of times. This weekend will be the true test as it will be the second Saturday with no grocery shopping and I’m having to get more creative with meals. And as the daughter of one of my best friends used to say – “there’s nothing to eat, there’s only ingredients.”

Day 15 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s topic is greed. My instant response was, hey, I’m not greedy, I don’t even like stuff that much! But Michele insisted we think about all the items that are in our cupboards and our closets and our garages and our storage units . . . and then she said “In 2007, nearly 1 in 10 US households rented a self-storage unit.” According to the SSA (Self Storage Association)website, the self storage industry in the United States generated more than $24 billion in annual U.S. revenues in 2013. That is a lot of stuff! I confess that at one point in my life, I was one of those US households. I’m sure I paid more in storage fees than any of my stuff was ever worth. Even though I’ve been purging the last couple of months, my cupboards, drawers, and closets are still full of stuff. Not full to overflowing, but full none the less. The purging must continue!

The other point in the chapter was that we often times try to get rich quick by playing the lottery, making risky investments, etc. It’s tempting to spend my time thinking about ways to earn money without having to work much, trying to come up with that brilliant idea that will make me wealthy. Much to my disappointment, I haven’t yet had that revelation. And I think that’s because it’s not how God intended it to be. I am supposed to use my gifts and talents to help others, to be a good steward of everything I’ve been given, whether it’s time or money or my stuff. This fast has reinforced that I just need to do the right thing every day – tithe, give, don’t buy stuff I don’t need, don’t go into debt, and save a little from every paycheck.

Day 16 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s chapter is about Caregiving. First assignment? Research Long Term Care Insurance. My first thought? It’s so unfortunate that I did not plan ahead and stock up on adult beverages before I started this fast. Sigh. So I went to and and even to check out my options. Yeah, not even a big glass of wine could have made that more interesting reading. Here’s what I’ve decided for now. I am going to do everything within my power to stay healthy, eat right, exercise, try to get more sleep. But if my good health fails me, I trust that my boys will be fighting over me to see who gets to have me move in with them. I’m officially crossing the first assignment off the list. Boys, please break the news to your wives.

Second assignment: Talk to your parents about their care. I am extremely blessed that both of my parents are still living. Last year my Dad had a stroke and though he’s doing well, his recovery is ongoing. It hasn’t been easy for either parent to adjust to all the changes in their lives and all us kids aren’t really sure of the best way to help. It’s awkward to have this conversation, I think mostly because it means I have to acknowledge that they will not always be here. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a money talk with my parents so it will be pretty uncomfortable when I force myself to do it in a few months. Maybe I’ll see if one of my sisters will come with me on the visit . . .

Day 17 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today’s chapter is about peace, Financial Peace and the peace that goes with it. I’ve spent a great deal of my life worrying about money. I’ve been rightsized a couple of times and it’s not a comfortable position to be in. I made bad choices and fretted when I had to experience the consequences. While I was mentally reviewing these times in my life, I realized something. When I was doing my foxhole prayers, praying that God would rain down large sums of money (that never happened) to solve all my financial woes, he was meeting my needs in a completely unexpected way. During all the most difficult times he provided a friend, a sister who walked along side me through the darkest days. Whether it was a buddy to ride bikes with or friends to join me on my two hour daily commute or a trip across the country, or share food stories after a grueling workday, or someone who could make me laugh until tears rolled down my cheeks, he made sure I had someone to help carry my burdens.

Day 18 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: The last few chapters of the fast are about attitudes and feelings about money. I think I’ve sorted through most of mine, but it’s still hard for me to spend it on myself, especially if it’s something expensive. I usually have to research and ponder and pray before I pry open my wallet.

I’m trying to have fewer feelings about money and instead use it as a tool, as a way to vote. I know that sounds a bit odd, but here’s what I mean. I haven’t given up on our political system (yet), but I often find that our legislators don’t always seem to value the same things I do. So I vote every time I spend money. When possible I support small businesses and not big corporations. I buy direct from farmers. I eat at restaurants that use organic ingredients and sell grass fed beef and free range chicken. I buy things made in the USA. I buy used instead of brand new to try to cut down on all the resources that are used to create new products. Wanna join me? Maybe we’ll start a revolution.

Day 19 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today we’re talking about Stewardship. Here’s the part that hit me hard, ” . . . one day you are going to have to give an account of how you managed the resources entrusted to your care. Could you defend your actions and provide proof that you managed your time, talents, and treasures in a way that glorifies God?” C’mon Michele! So yeah, there are a lot of things that I can’t defend let alone give proof. I didn’t manage things well, I spent time doing stuff that doesn’t matter and a lot of money on stuff. I had a really, really nice truck and a really nice boat and none of that brought me one step closer to God.

I spent a lot of time today going through my stuff and purging. How many summer shirts does a person need? When I laid them all out, I had 13. Probably too many. What’s the right number? That’s just summer – I’ve got fall/winter as well! So far I have 12 boxes of stuff to donate, give away, or sell, not including the box and giant bag of stuff I dropped off at Goodwill today. Giant as in the guy had to roll out a cart to put it in. Despite all the sorting and purging, I still haven’t gotten through every drawer and cupboard.

I’m not beating myself up for the past, though. I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of weeks, about myself, about how I spend my time and money and what things I want to do differently moving forward. When it comes time to give an account, I’m going to say it took me a while, but I finally got it!

Day 20 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: The fast is coming to a close so hopefully the hardest chapters are behind me! Today’s topic is Relationships and the assignment is to contact someone you normally exchange gifts with and agree that instead of exchanging gifts, you will spend time together instead. I’ve never been much of a gift person – my love language is quality time – so this really appeals to me. I agonize over buying gifts for people who seem to have everything they want or need. If you typically exchange gifts with me, you should expect an email.

Money can cause a lot of problems in relationships, which is really unfortunate. I wish I had something brilliant to say on that subject, but my expertise is really more of a story of what not to do. I leave the topic to the expert – everything we need to know about wise stewardship is in the Bible. Even if you’re not a believer, I promise you that you will not go wrong if you follow what it has to say on the topic.

Day 21 of the 21 Day Financial Fast: Today is the last day of the fast and I’m a little sorry that it’s over. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making due with what I have on hand and really thinking about what’s a want and what’s a necessity. In this last chapter called Financial Freedom, Michelle says this: “The point of this financial fast wasn’t to set you up financially to acquire more things. It’s to help enrich you so that you can bless others – in your family, in community, and in the world. That’s the purpose of prosperity – to help others.” That’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish from doing the fast.

Today’s assignment is to calculate what I’ve saved by not spending. I don’t have a dollar figure yet, because I’m going to try to go to the end of the month without buying any groceries. It could be an interesting 10 days! I sure hope my supply of chips lasts! I’ve been limiting myself to 10 per day for the last two weeks! Whatever I end up saving, I’m going to donate to an organization that helps to feed the hungry.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have my aunt take this journey with me for the last 21 days. It’s been great to have someone to encourage me and help me to be accountable. The last assignment is to encourage at least one other person to go through the 21 Day Fast.

January 31, 2015.  I made it! I got through the entire month without spending any money other than on necessities. I had to go to the grocery store to get dish detergent the day after the fast ended and my accountability partner approved a stop at Panera for bread so I could take it to a get together last weekend, but otherwise I’ve lived off the food in my cupboard and freezer. I have had some preeeeetty interesting meals. I had to limit myself to 10 chips a day so the bag would last the whole month. A huge thanks to everyone who gave me food or chocolate for Christmas! It was very much appreciated and made it much easier to get through the fast! I am looking forward to grocery shopping next weekend and having some fresh veggies and some of my other favorites that I’ve missed over the last month.