Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oprah does it to me again

All I really need
(coincidentally, I bought this outfit that she is wearing 3 years ago in anticipation of someday having a sweet baby girl...some purchases are really worth it.)

So my husband was out of town this past weekend. I didn't want to stay home all day for the four days he was gone, and so I found myself doing a lot of shopping. One particular outing was to a local craft show of sorts with my cute friends Kate and Heidi. I had set aside a particular sum a money to spend ahead of time, and found that I had spent it astonishingly fast. I came across two darling purple plaid pillows that just spoke to me. I loved them, but as I had spent my money, I stuck to my guns and put them back.

So later that night I started gazing at my couch and thinking about how perfect those pillows would be. I became obsessed. I fantasized about how I could decorate accordingly. And it wasn't just that the pillows were cute....but that they were
just so me. I had to have them. I spent hours on the internet searching for the perfect purple plaid fabric, but to no avail (which by the way...I still can't believe!). I tried to sleep but I couldn't (not kidding). So I got out of bed and back to the internet where I managed to track down the girl who was selling the pillows and discovered gleefully that she had an Etsy shop. I emailed her and said a prayer that the pillows had not sold.

They hadn't, I found out Monday morning. And so of course I bought them immediately.

I occasionally watch Oprah when there is a topic that I feel enlightening or beneficial in some way. Sometimes it's Gwyneth Paltrow and Spanish cooking, yesterday it was Suze Ormon and the economy.

Here's the thing. I know there are many many families out there who are facing scary things like job loss or losing their homes, due to the current financial market and our economy. I feel terrible for those families and don't mean to minimize their situation at all.

Trav and I have been pretty careful with how we spend our money for the most part. We have followed our parents good example of living within our means, and so we feel pretty secure despite all of the financial chaos. But watching this show, and listening to Suze's strong words about respecting money etc., did make me think about why I spend the money I do spend.

I happened to glance over from my perch on the couch to a pile of half-unpacked boxes in our still packed basement. I saw sitting on top a pillow that I had saved away for years because I might need it some day. I remember buying it almost ten years ago. I was in high school. I had spent a large chunk of my (at the time small amount of) money on it...because you was just so me, that I had to have it.

I brought the pillow upstairs and placed it on the couch where I had sat obsessing about the purple plaid just days ago, and sort of sickeningly realized that this pillow might actually work even better there. hmm.

Ok so not the end of the world. But it did get me thinking. Why is it so important for me to buy things that I feel show the world who I am? I am not a fact I can tend towards frugal in some aspects of purchasing. But not when it comes to things that I feel somehow define who I am. I will justify and splurge when it comes to acquiring stuff that reflects my thoughts or feelings or dare I say, style. Put a piece of milk-glass or a vintage jar in front of me and there is no price too high.

Obviously we need to buy things. This is not a rant against fact I love materials...all of them. But what I hope that I do in my life, is show the world who I am by the things that I do, and not the things on my shelves. I hope that when all is said and done, the people I form relationships with feel that the things like, kindness, selflessness, nurturer, and good mother, are so me... instead of throw pillows. That is what I aspire to.

As I watched Suze Ormon tell overextended families that they needed to sell their house and cars immediately, I sort of checked myself internally. I gratefully and calmly felt that if our family were left without things, and only with each other, and as long as were safe and fed, we would be happy and thriving.

Because as Donavon Frankenreiter sang to me as I cleaned my craft room yesterday, "Getting more of what we don't need--It don't matter".

We should really listen to surfers more often...they are so wise.


  1. what a fabulous post! And one that I definitely resonate with. I often find that I'm spending money more when I'm bored, even if it is something that I totally love. When I'm busy with my family or with another project--I just don't even think about "things." So a lot of times when I feel like I want to go buy something--I go out and take the kids on a walk instead.

    (but I hear you on the milk glass!!!)

  2. Oh how I love you. You just say it so perfectly! Mark and I were just talking about this. We were on a walk one afternoon discussing what kind of people we want to be and I guess really what kind of example we want to be for our children. This pretty much summed up our whole conversation. Can I copy and paste this into my journal?? Kidding. Kind of. I want to be the kind of person that if someone needed that new table I bought last weekend more then I did, I would just give it to them. Because after all it's just a table. Because you're right. What it all comes down to is our families. Our children. Our testimonies. That's what's most valuable and eternally important.

    Now I need to go to the grocery store, because I need to spend some of our money on food to feed this family! It's been weeks since I've been to the store! Yicks!

  3. How funny--I was literally just watching Suze chew out Tammy and Tim, thinking to myself, "We REALLY need to get a financial planner and make sure we being smart so that Suze never gets to tell me that I'm living beyond my means." I thought it was interesting that her advice (get out of debt, spend only what you have, PEOPLE are what matter, not things) is the same thing the Church leaders have been telling us for years.

    That said...I'd love to go out with you sometime. J.Crew just opened an outlet in Park City...

  4. You said it so perfectly. I remember a post you wrote a couple posts back called "Rehab?", and I thought about what you said about having bouts of bad self-esteem because we see what everyone else is accomplishing, etc. I think this post is a nice response to how you actually feel about all that nonsense. Yes, there are gifted people out there who are designing fabric, jewelry, crafting beyond comprehension, but at the same time it's like you said, it's not what we buy or design, or what our style is that defines us.

    I was reading in the Old Testament today, Jeremiah chapters 10-13, and somewhere in there Jeremiah complained to the Lord that he was letting the wicked prosper, and the poor be persecuted, and how is that fair, and when will the Lord send his judgements? The Lord rebuked him and basically said, "If your testimony is not strong enough to handle a little rainstorm, how will you withstand a hurricane?" The Lord used a different analogy with horses, but anyway, moral of the story is that it made me realize more how unimportant material things are even when we have the opportunity to be blessed to have a lot of them.

    Wilford Woodruff said, "There is a veil between man and eternal things; if that veil was taken away and we were able to see eternal things as they are before the Lord, no man would be tried with regard to gold, silver or this world’s goods, and no man, on their account, would be unwilling to let the Lord control him."

    Oh my, I'm so preachy! But it is a religious topic, is it not?

  5. You are so wise! Thank you for the great reminder. I've actually been pouting all day because the fabulous antique dishes I found today and want so desperatly cost $400. Yikes! My kids are definitely more important than those silly (but beautiful, stylish, classy, and just plain gorgeous) dishes and they definitely deserve a loving devoted non-pouting mother.

  6. OOOOHHHHHH Danielle............could she be any more adorable?????????? I can't stand it, that picture of Avery is just-there are no words!OX,MOM

  7. This is such a fantastic post. I've thought about personal style lately when I've thought about Nie Nie, whose style we all admire, and yet, what possible difference does that make right now for her and her children? Having pretty things around us is fun, and not wrong, but it is so hard to keep it all in perspective. We have to remind ourselves over and over again, and you just did.

  8. love the thoughts you shared, danielle. wise, indeed. and i have loved this comment thread, too. of course we all appreciate/admire pretty things, (sometimes to the point of obsession,) but I'm realizing more and more that the real treasures in my life are the people and, like you said, the relationships. sometimes hard to remember when i'm thumbing through my latest issue of Boden, but truly peace-giving and gratitude-renewing when I can focus my perspective properly.

    and i think the government could use a good, long session with Suze -- sheesh!

  9. Oh, and P.S., I hope that just because you have such a good head on your shoulders for understanding these things, that it will not take away from your desire for creative flare and designs! Really, your house is decorated so cute, and what's wrong with that?


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