Friday, January 21, 2011

If I Was A Rich Man

"...Give me neither poverty nor riches:
feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say,
Who is the LORD?
or lest I be poor,
and steal,
and take the name of my God in vain."
Proverbs 30: 8-9

 "Mommy, are we rich?"

 Violet asked me this a week or so ago.

I wondered what had brought about the question
in what route to answer it.

 I have a hobby I like to do:
picking up old wooden items at yard sales or second hand stores
or trash piles.
I sand them down and then repaint them to sell at Christmas craft sales.
It's a way to earn some Christmas money and gives me a reason to be able to paint.

I love to paint.

It's a way to relax and lose myself in colors and creating.

So there always seems to be "things" hanging around waiting to be painted.

Violet has gotten to the stage where she wants to be creative and these things are tempting to her.
At first, I was greedy of my things and didn't want her messing them up on me.

But I've gotten old,
or tired,
or just given up on saying "no" all the time.

So, sometimes I let her
and have found that I enjoy letting "things" go.

and sometimes, I am amazed at the great job that she does.

Is it the way that I would have painted it?

(Do I have to answer that?)

But it has the character of "Violet" all over it.

So I like it.

It is not expensive or a masterpiece,
but it makes us all smile.

And I know that she is proud of it:
  she feels the joy of having completed something
and watching us all enjoy it.

So what is "richness"?

Is it the money I have in my wallet?

If it is, then I am poor.

I don't think I have even enough for a McDonald's Happy Meal in my purse right now.

Is "rich" tied to the things that we have:
their monetary value
or size
or their ratings by others?

Or is being rich more about our souls,
what we carry around in us;
how thankful we are 
even in those times when we don't "feel" like being grateful?

My thankful list continues:

21.  I am thankful for Corrie Ten Boom.  I saw a movie about her as a teenager.  She, her father, brother, and her sister went to a concentration camp for hiding Jews during the Holocaust. 
  While in the concentration camp, her sister Betsy encouraged her to be thankful for everything. 


  Betsy prayed and was thanking God when she mentioned thanks for the fleas that lived in their room where they slept.  How can one be thankful for fleas?  I thought about this lying in bed the other night, imagining the comfort of finally falling into bed and then being attacked by itching fleas.  It made Corrie angry that she would even say such a thing.  I have to admit, I think I would have felt the same way.
But then they noticed that the guards would would not come into their room: if they did the guards would have stopped the Bible studies when they found the Bible that Corrie and Betsy were hiding.  
The guards refused to go in their room
 because of the flea infestation.

22. I am thankful for nuts and dried cranberries and the white yogurt chips that get fought over.

23. I am thankful for laughter.

24. I am thankful for the education that my parents gave to me.  I went through the doors of a public school, Christian schools, and eventually home-school, and I learned life lessons in each.  I am thankful for the books I was "required" to read in the Christian and home-schooling because I know that they, along with the good movies that my parents watched, shaped much of my thinking.  Books such as...

25.  I am thankful for Jane Eyre, a book I read as a teenager, about loving somebody for who they are but keeping oneself to do what is right, no matter what the cost.  Of acknowledging that, although nobody else might be there or ever know, God is there, and He is enough.  A woman who was an orphan, very poor, working class, but who's heart, manners, and character made her a great woman of wealth.  Do I always live like this?  NO!  I wish I could say I have, but these books I read, the strengths of people I have never met, as well as Bible verses and stories I have in my memory, they come back to remind me when I need them there.  They have become part of my conscience.

26.  I am thankful for another book I had to read: Uncle Tom's Cabin.  This book was the first to make me cry while reading.  It made me understand the horrors of making someone less than yourself.  Slavery may be over, but the treatment of anybody as less than oneself is an awful thing.  And yet, Uncle Tom withstood the horrors in his life, a beautiful and amazing man, a true follower of Christ.  His character made him far "richer" than anything money could ever buy.

27. I am thankful for friends.  What would life be like without friends?
   A few years back there was an earthquake in India, and I heard about a whole village that was completely destroyed: all the buildings, all the people...

except one young woman.

She'd lost everything she'd ever had, and every person she knew.  She was completely alone.  How does one go on from there?  Where does one start?  Who does one talk to, ask advice, and cry with?

I have friends who are like family to me.  I know that they will listen and be there 10 years from now, just like it was the last moment we were together.  Through thick and thin they are there.  Friendship is by far worth a million times it's weight in gold.

No, gold just doesn't compare.

I thought about that for some time.  What would one do without anyone left in the world?
 And I thought of...
28. Robinson Crusoe, out on that deserted island.  True story?  Not likely.  But the truths of it are real.  Alone, but never alone.  In the unedited first edition book, Robinson Crusoe called out to God.  He knew God's son as Saviour, and he knew that, even on those days when he thought he'd go crazy from the loneliness, that God was there.  He plugged away at his life, making what seemed like insurmountable difficulties into creative endeavors to feel useful.  He enjoyed God's creation and His animals and looked beyond his despair to the simple things.  He was rich on his island home.

29.  I am thankful for the simple things that make our house a home...

because they do matter.

30.  But I am also thankful for the gift of learning to let go of some "things." 
      My husband has been so helpful at guiding me with this, for my sanity as well as his own.
      Sometimes, often times, letting go brings unbelievable peace...

and the ability to watch somebody else take what I have let go of
and learn from it.
Yes, Violet,

we are incredibly rich.

Linking up with:


  1. Tonya that was so good. Love the pictures. I read each of those books because of your bookreports. I read Uncle Tom's Cabin while nursing Ruthie and had to put the book down because I couldn't see through the tears. Yes, we in America and especially as Christians are rich. I am thankful for you.

  2. Yes you are! So nice for someone to be able to let go to find the treasure. Wish I did that more. Really enjoyed your post! Love those books too. Have a great day!

  3. Beautiful reading!! God's Riches He gives us is so much more than money. Family, Friends, Church Family, God's Word, etc. Thank you again for this beautiful reading, Tonya!! :)

  4. What an inspirational piece you have written here. Just lovely.

    And true.


  5. Terrific post:) I enjoyed reading it very much, and your children are beautiful:)

  6. Precious.
    More precious than gold.
    and absolutely another friday's favorite :-)

  7. I have a blog award to pass along and you immediately came to mind! :) Feel free to pick it up at if you want to participate :)

  8. You should print this out to save for your kids! You are indeed a rich woman.

    I'm visiting from Amanda's party.

  9. Beautiful share, Tonya. Love the pictures of the kid-lings, they are precious.

    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~

  10. I'll echo Paula...I hope you printed this out for your daughter. :) Thank you for the reminder to be grateful for the experiences and gifts that God has given us! Thanks so much for linking up to my party. Hope you'll stop by Serenity Now again soon. :)

  11. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for AMAZING comment you left me. It made my day today! I'm loving your thankful list. I can't wait to read more as you add to it.

  12. great post about what rich is really all about. All we have is today..this moment...I want to live in the present...something I couldn't do for a long time. Your post reminded me of how 'rich' that really is.

  13. I think almost everybody in America is rich - certainly when compared to so many places in the world. Since I have everything I need and most of what I want, I guess I would be considered rich. God has been so good to me I have a hard time believing it sometimes.
    Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post.

  14. What a lovely post. If only all the children could learn that being rich doesn't consists of what's in our wallet.

  15. An absolutely beautiful post. I love that you get enjoyment from the painting of your daughter. That you realize that richness isn't having the most things. That you're able to "let go" of things. That you posted the Proverbs verse--I needed to read that today.

  16. Hi Tonya,

    Thank you for sharing the joys family, friends and those who enrich your life. You reminded me of how it was always difficult to let go of those things that are mine. I'm learning there is a peace and freedom in just letting go. Perhaps it eliminates the anxiety that accompanies it; it must certainly lessen it.

    The love of God enables us to truly see who (not what) makes us rich.

    Blessings and peace.


  17. Thank you everybody. You have been super kind and I appreciate all your thoughtfulness in visiting and leaving me comments! :)


I love your comments!