Jingle Blogs

I did something today I've never done before. I entered a contest on the Pioneer Woman's website. I've never done it before because even though she gives away just tons of fun stuff, there are like a billion people that enter and she picks one person at random.

I wouldn't even know how to do that!

When thousands of people enter, how on earth do you go about selecting the most random?

Me with my bleeding heart, would find the biggest sob story, shove the skeptical part of my brain aside crying out they are only weeping because of the give away and hand it over to them. It would take me days to get through all of those submissions and find the one I felt most deserving of the prize. And in the end, I'd probably go broke by indecision when I just decided to give every single person one of whatever it was I was giving away.

But anyways, I'm crossing my fingers, but not really hoping for much. When I first logged on there were like 1600 submissions and by the time I submitted mine there were already 1800 just seconds later. Yikes. And you can enter all the way till Thursday. Imagine my name getting selected in that number. Highly unlikely.

So what prompted me to even waste the 30 seconds of my life to write down my name, email address and whether I prefer real or fake trees? An iPad. She's giving away an iPad.

So naturally, I just had to give it a go.

Not that I even need one of those. Let's face it, nobody needs an iPad. That's part of their appeal. An overpriced, overly large cell phone basically that costs an obscene amount of money.

But they are cool.

So cool, I would enter my name into a pointless, overstuffed hat, hoping for the best.

And yes, $800 has now become the amount of money I deem "Obscene."

Once in the millions, my poverty has forced me to look at simple sums of money as grotesque. How dare anyone keep hundreds of dollars in their possession. (Sarcasm.)

It's no secret that we're poor. In fact, I don't know many people who wouldn't consider themselves poor. Most of my friends have married young, or had kids young, or just been unlucky enough to still be young and so here we are in the bottom class of Americans wondering why Universal Health Care hasn't lived up to all of it's promises?

I can say that, both as a Conservative, and someone who's husband recently had Emergency Surgery.

"Please list your insurance provider: President Barack Obama."
"Please list your policy number: Universal Health Care, citizen number 4,586,039,289."
"How do you plan on paying for this?: I don't. Isn't that why we have a 2500 page bill promising me I wouldn't have to pay for anything?"

Anyways, I'll get off my Republican High Horse.

Moving on....

All that being said, Poverty(that's right, I refer to my current situation as not being poor, but as being poverty-stricken.) has benefits and limits, pros and cons, blessings and...... struggles. It's certainly not all bad, I'm happy with my life, more than happy. I look around every day at my amazing husband, beautiful children and comfortable life and Thank God for His unlimited blessings! But there are times when the cultural walls of this materialistic society start to close in on the unsuspecting happy-go-lucky poor person and they look up to see a glass ceiling at the height more of a coffee table than a large building, a low, low, very low coffee table and wonder to themselves if their fairy godmother got lost along the way.

Those times would be December.

Hello Christmas Time.

And I've never been one to measure my worth by the number of presents under my tree. Trust me, I come from a family where one year my mother wrapped up Ramen Noodles and Canned Food for Christmas Presents.

No joke.

There's more to the story than a bunch of kids in flannel pajamas ripping open packages of canned corn and screaming with glee, but it sounds much better if I tell it like that!

Plus it will drive my mother crazy! Haha.

But still, with children of my own, it's hard not to simply want for them.

So I've put together a couple of lists. A top ten if you will of the Cons(Those things that suck) about being poor and then of course the Pros(Those things that make it all worth while.). Some answers I couldn't be more serious about. Most, I pray that you'll know I'm taking sarcasm to a new level, but all the same, enjoy.

Top Ten Reasons To Loathe Poverty:

1. Rationing squares of toilet paper is never a fun job, but the alternative of going with out is worse. Much. Much. Worse.

2. Relying on a fire place to heat your house is in the end effective. If only I knew how to light, start and maintain a fire, I'm sure me and the girls would be much warmer during the day rather than waiting for Zach to get home every night to thaw the indoor icicles and de-thaw the snot hanging from our noses.

3. Collecting debts owed to you stops becoming a gesture of kindness or at the least of desperation and suddenly I'm a scene out of the Godfather, leaving dead horse heads in silk sheets and breaking knee caps with baseball bats. This is one of those I'm dead serious about. Give me my money.

4. Your three year old daughter telling your one year old daughter we can't afford Happy Meals because we don't have any money is never cute. Ever. And might potentially end with you breaking down into hysterical sobbing.

5. Holiday Baking stops being fun and starts becoming necessary when baked goods turn into bread and other essentials. Or I'm too lazy to go all the way into town when we run out of just one or two items.....

6. Finding 15 dollars stashed away in the pocket of an old coat is as good as finding $5,000,000.

7. The thought of creating a fake charity and then standing in front of super markets with a red bucket and a couple of bells wearing a Santa hat and a forlorn smile crosses your mind every time you see those damn Salvation Army Buckets invading your turf.

8. Showering and dishes begins to happen less and less frequently all in an attempt to save the water bill. (Oh wait, I think this one is actually just because I'm lazy.....)

9. You start scoping out every pine tree you drive by, in hopes that this is the one your husband can cut down in the middle of the night so your kids can at least have a Christmas Tree, whether it's growing on the side of the Interstate or in the front of a stranger's yard, there has to be a tree out there worth chopping down illegally! (Ok, this one might have been a real conversation, but I don't see the point of buying one when there are so many good ones out here and Zach can handle both a chainsaw and an ax.... Just saying.)

10. You have never wanted Santa Clause to exist more than you do today, just for the sake of your very well-behaved children.

Depressed yet? Don't be, it was all in good fun!

But now for the good stuff.

Top Ten Reasons to Love(Ok, love is a strong word...) Poverty:

1. Maybe this is the missionary in me, but there is always, always, always someone worse off than you are.

2. You appreciate the small things in life and get to become creative. Who knew I could make a delicious homemade Alfredo sauce? Or remake a dress into something new for a Christmas Party? Or take really good Christmas Pictures of my girls without going to the studio? I didn't and probably wouldn't under different circumstances.

3. Date Nights become something of a creative expression at home. Whether it's an intimate dinner after the kids are in bed of dollar steaks and mashed potatoes or a competitive hour of Yatzee, they're still a way to connect and still end the same way the other ones did.....

4. The family is always together around the dinner table.

5. You can always count on amazing friends and family to help you out, listen to your problems, get just as frustrated as you and always, always be there for you.

6. Losing weight is easy. No buying things you don't need. No going out to eat. No more pop whenever you want it. (This is a good thing. This is a good thing. This is a good thing...)

7. Your children learn the importance of conserving and not wasting and how to be creative themselves.

8. Your social and political boxes begin to expand as you learn some of the benefits of the Green Movement. Even if you stand by your opinion that you absolutely, 100%, under no circumstances believe or will ever believe in man-made Global warming. Ever. I mean, ever. But some of the practices begin to make sense anyways, conserving water, reusing everything, wasting less. Ok, I get those.

9. There is suddenly a way to be genuinely thankful for every single thing in your life, there's no excess, there's nothing unnecessary, you need it all and you're grateful for it all!

10. You can be perfectly happy in the uncomplicated-ness of your life and really, truly remember the real reason the whole world slows down and celebrates this beautiful time of year and the real meaning of Christmas and look up to heaven, thanking God for all that you DO have.

There you have it folks. Poverty's not all bad. In fact, I wonder if I would even know what to do with a substantial amount of money.

Ok, I'm sure I would find something to do with it. No worries there.

But I certainly wouldn't be as grateful for what I do have today. Nor as happy in all the stripped-down-surrounded-by-only-what's-important-and-meaningful-lifestyle.

So for those reasons, both good and bad, I can celebrate this season joyfully, knowing that my children will be able to do the same whether there's gifts under the tree or not.


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