Dateline: 27 September 2013
I Dreamed A Word
This is a true story. Last Monday, in the early morning hours, as I was lying in bed, soon to awake, I dreamed a word. I don't recall ever dreaming a word before in my life. I was cognizant in my dream that it was an English-language word I had never used before, and I had no idea what it meant.
I must have read or heard the word before in my life, and that is how it was in my brain, but I don't know when that would have been. Surely not recently.
Anyway, this word was foremost in my dream. In my dream I said the word repeatedly and I thought to myself that I had to remember the word so I could look up its meaning when I awoke.
Then I woke up. Who knows, it may have been seconds after the dream, or minutes, or even an hour. But when I woke up I remembered that there was a word that I wanted to remember.... and I couldn't remember it.
Yes, that was frustrating. But it's not the end of the story.
I laid awake, thinking "deep" for a few moments, trying to remember the word. I even prayed: "Lord, please help me to remember that word." And the word came to my mind.
The word was "assiduous."
I immediately got out of bed and made a beeline to the computer to look up the meaning of assiduous. For those of you, who don't know the meaning, this is what I found:
assiduous: "marked by careful, unremitting attention or persistent application." Another definition is, "showing great care and perseverance." Yet another: "constant in application or effort; working diligently at a task; persevering; industrious; attentive."
I thought about that word and the strange circumstance that brought into my life as I drank my morning cup of coffee. When Marlene woke up and came downstairs I told her about it. She expressed mild interest. Then I told her, "I think God is telling me something." She did not say anything in response to that.
Whatever the case, it was a memorable dream, and I took it as an encouragement. I took it as encouragement to be diligent in pursuing the clothespin-making, home-economy business idea that I've been working on for the past few weeks. And that is what I have been doing.
I'm making progress, but I'm still not ready to launch this idea, and so I'm still officially in clothespin break mode. This is just another Friday update.
Futureman Makes Bread
Well, he doesn't actually make bread himself. He's only a year and a half old, so he helps Marlene, if you know what I mean. That's six loaves of oatmeal bread in the making. It's a recipe from Marlene's grandmother, and a family favorite—only to be bettered by oatmeal-raisin.
Dave Ramsey Class Update
As noted in last Friday's clothespin break update, my oldest son and his wife are attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It is being hosted by a nearby church. One of the early class activities is to add up the total debt and savings of the class.
The class consists of four couples. Three couples are quite a bit older than my son and daughter-in-law. Between the four, there is a total of $190,000 of non-mortgage debt. The highest non-mortgage debt of one couple is $93,000. Much of the debt is for non-essential things, like a camper, and snowmobiles, and so on. The total amount of savings between the four couples is around $15,000.
Fortunately, very little of that debt belongs to my son. Better yet, my two other sons, have no debt at all. Although son #2 will assume some debt when he buys my parents house & property from me, it will not be bank debt, and I certainly won't charge any interest.
What I find appalling about the above example of FPU class debt is that those people are Christians. If there is any class of people who should not buy into the industrial-world greed and materialism, and put themselves into debt-slavery to fulfill their covetous desires, it's Christians. Granted, there are times and circumstances when we have to put ourselves into debt-bondage, but not so we can acquire stuff (a.k.a., playthings) that we don't really need.
My kids have all heard me rail against debt for years, and they've seen that this family has never borrowed money for playthings. Never.
My aversion to debt goes way back in my life. My parents had a tendency to get into too much debt with their credit card. And they often struggled with not enough money to pay the bills. I remember collection agency people calling and my mother talking to them. I remember the phone company shutting the phone off for not paying the bill. And I remember, as a teenager, helping to pay the bills a few times. As a kid, I worried a lot about my parents finances. That had an impact on me.
They say that people who went through the Great Depression grew up to be very careful with their money, not wasting it (not wasting anything) and saving. Well I can relate to that in a small way. My youthful experiences were nowhere near as bad as those of people who suffered during the Depression, yet I have always been wary and fearful of debt. I cherish freedom too much.... and the opportunities that come with freedom.
Like, for example, the opportunity to finally come home, be home all day, spend time with my grandson, and work a small family-economy business. If I were in debt, if I were a slave to debt, I would never have been able to come home and do this. If you are free from the bondage of debt, you are free to pursue interests and ideas that you otherwise couldn't pursue, and you can better afford to help and bless your family and others.
On Getting Out of Debt
I subscribe to Franklin Sanders' free daily e-mail Moneychanger commentary. I suspect that many of you who read this blog also subscribe. If you don't, go to The Moneychanger and check it out.
Earlier this week Franklin was urging his readers to get out of debt. On Thursday's e-mail commentary, Franklin wrote:
Questioning my urgent encouragement yesterday to get out of debt, one reader wrote, "I thought it's good to be a borrower during periods of high inflation. I was thinking of keeping a modest mortgage on this place."
Logic here is that you will repay in dollars cheaper than you borrowed. While that is abstractly true, there's no guarantee that those cheaper dollars will come easier to you than today's dollars. Suppose your wages don't keep pace with inflation, as they never do.
Ignoring also the larceny that dwells in that logic, my get-out-of-debt warning springs from a far deeper motive: you can't break a man that don't borrow. Debt makes you vulnerable because unlike the yankee government, you can't print dollars. You must earn dollars to make payments on the debt, or lose the collateral, maybe even go bankrupt. Problem with a "modest" mortgage is that debt, like whiskey, intoxicates. We take on a little, it makes us feel richer, stronger, braver, better looking, smarter, so we keep adding modest amounts until we're debt-drunk & have sold ourselves into lifetime debt slavery.
Getting out of debt won't deliver you entirely from our lunatic financial & economic system, but it will extricate you from the banks, & put your feet on your own, owned dirt, small and lowly tho it be. You'll be that rarest of creatures today: a debt-free man.
To me that outweighs the delicious pleasure of cheating a cheater, i.e., paying a bank back with cheaper dollars.
I was listening to a past episode of Kevin Swanson's Generations Radio broadcast and he was telling of a single mother in his church with a young teenage son. The boy may have been 15 or 16 years old. The mother was having trouble paying her rent. The elders of the church advised the son to get a job and help his mother pay the bills. Their belief is that boys should stop playing video games and start taking on the responsibilities of men. How often do you hear that these days?
It used to be (in pre-industrial civilizations) that boys went straight from boyhood to manhood. They skipped the problematic modern adolescent stage. Those were the days, eh?
I plan to be back here next Friday for another clothespin break update. Maybe I'll dream of another word by then too.
P.S. keep an eye on the Classic American Clothespins web site.