In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

We didn't participate in Black Friday. I guess by not participating in Black Friday, we are participating in Buy Nothing Day by default.

For those of you who don't know the terminology, Black Friday is the merchandiser's term for the day after Thanksgiving. It's the busiest shopping day of the year. Many retailers earn most of their annual profit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so they are hoping that people will go out and buy more. Of course, since we are in a recession this year, the Black Friday deals were rolled out before Thanksgiving.

Buy Nothing Day is the alternative to Black Friday. The premise is simple. You don't buy anything. It's a response to the over-consumerism that is driven by the Christmas shopping season.

I spent my Friday after Thanksgiving with my family. We were at my aunt's farm. We spent the day processing meat...deer and lamb, mainly. Some was sausage. Some was cut up into chops. I'm now at home with a freezer full of wild game.

A good post-Thanksgiving activity? Probably not for you vegetarians out there, but it was time well-spent with my family and preparing for winter.

I hope that your weekend was spent in the company of those you love.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Time

I'm spending Thanksgiving in the great state of North Dakota. I have family who lives in Minot, and some more in Bottineau. I enjoy spending time with my family (I think I've mentioned that before), but I want to make it clear that my enjoyment of my family goes out to my extended family.

One thing our family notices is that when we have larger family functions, we often hang out withe each other. It's not that we don't enjoy our family, but we can spend all day long chatting with one another.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my cousin's in Minot. I'm now of the generation where my cousins have children. Even my sister will soon have a child, so I'm not going to be a part of the younger generation. I'm going to of the old people at family functions. Will I be able to handle that? I guess I'll have to.

One important aspect to Thanksgiving is the time that I spend with my family. No matter what we do, we enjoy one another's company.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

It's my sincere hope that we are more thankful for all the blessings in our lives more frequently than just the fourth Thursday of November. Of course, at this time, our nation has a historical reason to be thankful. But when I hear people talk of Thanksgiving, they are most thankful for the immediate things that are around them. That is something that we need to be stating more frequently. We should be thankful for our loved ones (everyday). We should be giving thanks for our home and our food (everyday).

If you are reading this blog, it means that you have a place to access the internet, something I would consider a luxury. I just heard a radio story this morning about the growing food crisis in Zimbabwe. I'm concerned that there are people who are surviving on finding stray corn kernels, while are eating a giant bird and tons of vegetables.

I hope that you are able to list all the blessings in your life. I also hope that you run out of time and space to be able to lift them all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Local Shopping

OK - I've been on this shopping/giving kick lately, and I would like to lift up one more. There is a relatively new think tank in Minnesota, called Minnesota 2020. They are trying to move us into a safer, healthier, and more stable future. They are pretty progressive. Last year, they put out a "local" shopping guide. Of course, if you don't live in MN, this isn't all that local. I'm assuming that you can find your own version of this wherever you live.

I commend to you, the Minnesota 2020 Made in Minnesota Holiday Shopping Guide.

Remember, the more money you spend on locally made products, and sold at locally made retailers will help your local economy. That money usually circulates six times around a local economy. If you feel you must buy things instead of giving, this is a great way to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Shopping

We just had a conversation at home about the current economy. Many businesses and manufacturers are hurting, but so are the non-profits. When money is tight, people give less. This really hurts organizations that are working hard to make a difference in the world.

Think about it. What would you rather have your money do? Keep a car company afloat, so the executives can get another bonus? Purchase something so that it can churn the economic engine? Or would you like to fund cancer research? Wipe out sexism? Send a kid to camp?

I, for one (and I think I'm taking Richard with me on this), have decided that my money can do the most good by sending it directly to the non-profits that affect our lives the most. Purchasing a new TV (since our old one is analog anyway) would be nice, and it would help the retailer. But sending $100 or $500 to camps, colleges, social service agencies, and advocacy groups would go a long way to helping them out.

Yes, our TV money is going to non-profits. Think about it. Join me. Fund a revolution.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Time for Shopping?

OK - so we've been hearing bad economic news quite a bit lately. My household hasn't been affected too much lately, but I think that we would be prepared to tighten our belts, if we had to. We lived quite well when Richard wasn't working, and our income was more than cut in half.

I think that when there is a bad economic situation, the goal is not to just spend less, but to spend money meaningfully. The Christmas shopping season is fast approaching, so there will be a lot of incentives to run into the malls, and WalMarts and other big box retailers. I think that we need to ask ourselves where the money will go once we spend it in the store. It would be preferable to have our money circulate a few times around the community. In many cases, that doesn't happen. In WalMart, for example, money it taken out of the stores on a daily basis to go to the headquarters in Arkansas. A big chunk of that money goes to the manufactures overseas who make most of the products in WalMart.

Some of you might call me a hypocrite, since I like to shop at Target. Many of the products at Target are also manufactured overseas. Since I live in Minneapolis, I recognize that the money I spend at Target will stay in the community a little longer. Of course, for those of you who don't live in the Minneapolis area, you don't get that benefit.

I'm going to try to lift up a few resources to making this Advent and Christmas a little more meaningful and a little more economical. First, a friend posted this video that I found very profound. Enjoy.