After another birthday and the many wonderful gifts and toys that were part of the celebration for Noah, I find myself wondering again, “how much is too much?” I don’t think we go overboard all by ourselves in buying gifts for the kids, but when what we give is doubled, tripled, or quadrupled by what is added by loving family and friends I can’t help but feel concern that without meaning to at all we send our kids the wrong message. I was just thinking, “life isn’t supposed to be primarily about what we have.” Things are just things and they lose their appeal and usefulness over time and we find ourselves dealing with the dilemma of what to do with it all.

I love giving gifts. I’m not going to lie…I love receiving gifts, but then I often feel guilty about all the “stuff” in our home and struggle with mixed emotions. I am trying to handle things differently, more wisely, and to teach Noah to have a giving heart and I think he does. But even still, I want to help him focus on what matters most more than on what only matters in the moment or the short run. It’s difficult, and important to learn how to manage our wants.

I really enjoy our home, pretty things, flowers, and paint…everyone who knows me well knows that not too many seasons pass with one color on the walls before I’ve decided I want to look at something else for a while. It’s sort of a joke, people come in and ask, “what have you painted lately?” I’ve even been trying to curb that little appetite lately without complete success but with a little improvement 🙂

I can honestly say I’m content and satisfied and feel abundantly thankful and blessed. I enjoy our home, our life, the many comforts we enjoy, but I don’t want that comfort to be my desire. I want my heart to be seeking what God wants for my heart to seek. I want to give and bless others, to live with an eternal perspective and to teach my children to live the same way.

Some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known had very little in worldly possessions and what they had they willingly shared. We had neighbors, their last name was Sweat, who lived across the way from my family when I was growing up. Their house was tiny, they had an old pickup truck, he always had on overalls, and she always had on blue jeans, rolled up, and an old button up blouse that had seen many trips through the washing machine. From all outward appearances, they had little, but in generosity and love they were as rich as anyone I’ve ever met. Every Christmas they came and brought small gifts to our family. Every Summer they had a garden and were willing to share their food with anyone who happened by. Their doors were open to friends and family alike and their home was a haven of kindness.

All the people who stand out in my mind when I look back over the years from my earliest memories forward, are those who lived unselfishly, lovingly, showing great kindness not just to me, but to everyone who crossed their paths. That is the kind of woman I want to be, one who will be remembered not for her things, but for her heart that was always open to loving others and sharing what she had with all who crossed her path.

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