Many years ago I received a (now defunct) magazine for Christian women in which the editress (OK, spell check says there is no such word…female editor) frequently exhorted us ladies to ask ourselves, “What do I have in my hand?” The idea was to be creative with what we had rather than feeling that we had to buy something new, or even new supplies to make something. While the magazine went down a sad road and eventually disappeared (as far as I know), the question stayed with me. I still often ask myself, “What do I have in my hand?”
Honestly, I don’t get out much. It’s not that I can’t; it’s just more practical not to. I don’t know when I’d have the time to get out more. And I love staying home. Going out with three tiny children is hard, and in this day and time, especially in an urban setting, a little dangerous. Also, it’s cheaper. So I’m home a lot. Consequently, I frequently find that I won’t be going to the store for a few more days or weeks, but I have a need or want at the moment. Maybe it’s a meal; maybe it’s a craft I want to make. Maybe I need a gift for someone, or a costume for my kids. Asking, “What do I have in my hand?” has saved me money—probably a lot of money.
Recently when I needed a baby gift, I raided my stash of fabric scraps, downloaded a free bib pattern from the internet, embellished it (OK, I bought 75 cents worth of embroidery floss), and had a gift in hand.
I’ve always thought that I wasn’t a very creative person, but I find that the more I have to be, the more I am. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know. I also get wonderful, inspiring ideas from other bloggers. They have no idea. Thanks to all of you who post beautiful pictures of your crafts.
Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly is learning how to ask “What do I have in my hand?” in a big way (although I don’t think she uses that term). She and her family have joined Compact, a group of people who have committed to not buy anything new for one year, except for what her family needs to live, like food. She outlines it more on her blog. As I understand it, it’s not against the rules to shop for, say, a needed coat at Goodwill—you are just not supposed to buy anything new. One of Sara’s goals in this adventure is to pay off her student loans.
Imagine the money you would save if you didn’t buy anything new for one year. While I don’t see my family going to that extreme any time soon, I admire Compact members and their example inspires me to waste less and ask, “What do I have in my hand?” In this way, I can help my family and steward well God’s gifts to me.