Friday, March 6, 2009

Foie Gras

Four recent events in my life have mingled to create a fearful racket in my head:

2. Visiting Las Vegas.

3. Attending *3* vacation time-share presentations in the past four months. (2 last month in Las Vegas, no less.)

4. Reading Your Money or Your Life.

The premise of The Beckoning of Lovely immediately spoke to me. It doesn't matter what you have, but what you choose to do with your life that matters. Each one of us can take the life we've been given and do something beautiful with it.

Visiting Las Vegas was an experience. I was thankful to have my camera in hand. It enabled me to focus (literally) on the beautiful and edit out the other 98%. Everywhere I looked, I was reminded of foie gras. Forced excess. Even the beautiful was over the top, money spent on astounding luxury, much of it money that spenders couldn't rightly afford (yes, that is a strong personal opinion). With our nation (government and individuals) so highly in debt, with uncertain times ahead, with a world in need, it made me sick at times. LV sells personal gratification, magnified beyond description. And no seeing person can walk down the street and escape the propaganda.

Time-shares. I have nothing against time-shares in general, only the sales tactics. (Warning: another strong personal opinion ahead.) What they are really selling: entitlement and discontent with a liberal dose of guilt. Not going on regular vacations to Hawaii and Orlando with your family? Why, your family must not be a priority to you. Oh, and every family deserves that sort of vacation. And going on a road trip with a camp trailer, visiting family in another state, coordinating a family vacation with dad's business trip? Well, those aren't real vacations. Don't you want to stay in a luxurious resort on a tropical island every year? Or Europe? And if you don't take real vacations (as everyone must), you'll end up with a heart attack at age 45... (Yes, I know I'll be asked why we went to Las Vegas and why we attended time-share presentations... stories for another day.)

I could go on about this subject (vacations/time with family) for days. In fact, I have some posts (encouraging, believe it or not) brewing. Visitors to Mt. Hope Chronicles will also be hearing about Lovely for the rest of the year (and beyond.)

Your Money or Your Life is a very fascinating look at the way we think and feel about money. Rather than paint a black and white money-management system, this book goes to the heart of the matter.

Thoughts to ponder from the 1992 edition:

pg 15

We project onto money the capacity to fulfill our fantasies, allay our fears, soothe our pain and send us soaring to the heights. In fact, we moderns meet most of our needs, wants and desires through money. We buy everything from hope to happiness. We no longer live life. We consume it.

pg 16

A new art, science and industry was born to convince Americans that they were working to elevate their standard of living rather than to satisfy basic economic needs. In 1929 the Herbert Hoover Committee on Recent Economic Changes published a progress report on this new (and very welcome) strategy:

The survey has proved conclusively what has long been held theoretically to be true, that wants are almost insatiable; that one want satisfied makes way for another. The conclusion is that economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied...Our situation is fortunate, our momentum is remarkable.

Instead of leisure being relaxed activity, it was transformed into an opportunity for increased consumption--even consumption of leisure itself (as in travel and vacations). Henry Ford concurred:

Where people work less they buy is the exchange of goods. Goods are bought only as they meet needs. Needs are filled only as they are felt. They make themselves felt largely in the leisure hours.

The Hoover Committee agreed. Leisure was not, in fact, a reason for not working. It was a reason for working more.

pg 25

Enough is a fearless place. A trusting place. An honest and self-observant place. It's appreciating and fully enjoying what money brings into your life and never purchasing anything that isn't needed and wanted.

pg 35

Indeed, some people would say that, once we're above the survival level, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.

(Emphasis mine.)

Whew. Enough words for today. I'll go back to posting quiet photos of peaceful moments tomorrow.


jodi said...

a fearful racket indeed. this is an interesting time in my life to be reading your money or your life (have you participated in the forums? i always think of stuff to say while i'm reading but by the time i get to the forums, i can't think of one decent thing to contribute) as well as dwelling on what lovely and enough will look like once we sell our old house and complete our move back north.

that said, and being in our mid 40s now....but still needing to put a roof over 7 precious heads (not counting our own)...and trying to relocate to a place that has not seen negative effects on the real estate market.

you get a fearful racket.
good thing i know God is in charge.
i can't wait to see the place He has already laid aside for us once we eventually get there.
keep up the dialogue, heidi.

you are appreciated!

Laurel said...

Thoughtful thoughtful ... )and I'm about to hear one of those presentations in a few weeks:))

CONGRATS on this week's I heart faces top ten - well deserved!!

Unknown said...

that kind of propaganda makes me feel repulsed. and furious. i would like to look that "speaker" in the face and say "if you're family is a priority to you why don't you take a lower paying job, with less hours, choose to spend time with them DAILY and make memories by LIVING, LAUGHING AND LOVING, in the moment. This moment, not a canned moment from some pantry of luxury. Blech. I'll take the tent and a campfire at the lake an hour up the road any day over that kind of money sucking commercialism. For that matter I'll take fried chicken and potato salad on a blanket in my own field over restaurants and a noisy game of spoons at my own dining room table over a drive to the city to sit in a row in a crowded cinema (although I do love movies.... just saying is all).

Looking forward to more of lovely, as this kind of stuff definitely is not.

Heidi said...

Jodi~ God has big things in store for you. :) I'll continue to pray that things steadily come together for you!!

Laurel~ Thanks! I was so excited. Oh, and if you need the unarguable refusal line, let me know. :)

Prairie Chick~ So sorry to unleash the unlovely on you this morning, but, friend, you took that exactly where I'm headed. :) Specific things we *can* do to foster family relationships, create memorable moments, and live lovely... without spending a fortune. I'll be asking specific questions, asking people to post ideas and adding them to Mr. Linky. Coming *next week*!

Ruth said...

I haven't read the book, but it sounds quite interesting. What a good reminder of what is important in this life! I just read the post to my husband and I am sure that it will spark some good conversation. Thank you for sharing. I would not have had the drive to read the book otherwise.

Manderly Ringor said...

Hi Heidi!
Reading that book was so eye opening as a consumer and really changed how I see money and what it's purpose is. My husband is unemployed right now so what I learned from reading YMOYL is an encouragment during these challenging times. :)

Jenni said...

Wow! What a great post. I love all these quotes.

As for Las Vegas and all those sorts of vacations, I've never been the slightest bit tempted. It all looks so utterly unappealing and unattractive to me. I don't think I could feel relaxed or happy or peaceful vacationing in a luxury resort, and I am certain I couldn't feel that way in Las Vegas. The closest I have come to being somewhere like Las Vegas is a dinner we attended (free with some training we were taking) at a casino in Kansas City. We wandered around for about 15 minutes afterward looking at the place. It had very interesting architecture and murals, but it was so loud, crowded, and completely artificial that we had to leave quickly. We didn't even try the slot machines once. Just not exciting or interesting for us.

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

oh my - I was ready with a comment in your first paragraph and as you kept posting more and more truth, there's just too many ideas running through my head - great post. :)

Unknown said...

hey, sorry for the passion in my comment, I think you know me by now and know that everything that repulsed me about the tempo and tone expressed in that post (not your tempo and tone but the paradigm you were describing)is at the same time what attracts me to you. Because you represent lovely and stand for the experience of inward and outward peace, joy and beauty.

Heidi said...

Prairie Chick~ No need to be sorry... I completely understood. :) Your passion is one of the many things I love about you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Maybe I need to pick up a copy of YMOYL. I think I assumed it was just another 'budgeting' book so I passed it by. It sounds like it affirms a lot of what I feel already. I walked away from a professional career about a year and a half ago because I felt it was blocking me from living life the way it was meant to be lived. Yes, we have a lot less money now, but I wouldn't go back and change that decision for the world.

K-Sue said...

I think, like graceunbound, I want to get this book (borrow form Library). I havw heard it quoted, and every quote I have heard is good and thoughtful. Great post.

Renee said...

I whole-heartedly agree!! Wonderful thoughts and quotes. I L-O-V-E your new look!!