Thursday, October 28, 2010

dad preached...we went along for the ride...#3...

During our summer 'vacations'... (all based on where my dad was preaching)... we had another challenge as a family...

This one was to see how far we could stretch the budget to cover the cost of eating each day as we traveled. I remember one summer...

The 3 of us were each given a $5 dollar bill for each day we were on the road. That $5 was to cover whatever we ordered in a restaurant for the whole day!

Here's what typically happened...

In the morning, (this was PRE- McDonald's in every town)... we stopped and WENT INSIDE to a restaurant. Each one of us carefully and frugally studied the menu. Our parents explained to the patient waitress that each child was on a budget for the day!

Usually, I ordered oatmeal, it filled me up the best and was one of the cheapest things I could find. Now... years later, I would love to see some of those waitresses and thank them. We didn't notice it at the time, but later our parents told us that those sweet ladies filled our bowls extra full, and many times sent 'extra' things to our table to help
out 3 kids who were learning about frugality. I think as kids we even asked the opinion of the waitress on what would be our best deal...

I learned pretty quickly that if I splurged at breakfast, it made the day really long! I knew I still had to cover lunch and dinner, and since in those days I was more impulsive, that happened more than once or twice, but I grew a little wiser as we traveled on, the best days were when we got to supper and I still had a choice on the menu because I'd scrimped all day.
It made me feel smart and rich!

The truth is that this was not a game. We only had so much to spend, so being creative was a necessity!

You know... we did just fine...


I'm sure God stretched that $5, just as I have learned since then, that He can still stretch and expand $5 or $500. He saw those 3 kids and their parents, definitely on a tight budget, and trying their best... He did the loaves & fishes thing for our family many, many times!



"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil.4:19 NKJV)


15 comments:

Farm Girl said...

Wow I wish I had heard that story when the kids were younger. That is a really good lesson. I bet you learned. I agree, what is fun is seeing God stretch what I have and do miracles in the process. Sometimes, I feel like I am so spoiled. I have to be so careful about what I ask for because HE is so good to always provide just what I need when I need it. Thanks for a lovely post.

Debbie said...

wow...what a good lesson for you and your sibblings. I did that a few times with my daughter when it came to school clothes shopping etc. "Here is the amount we have to spend...you can buy 2 REALLY nice outfits, or a few medium, or maybe several inexpensive..." is what I would tell her. Funny thing she quickly learned that that most times the inexpensive things just didn't last...that quantity doesn't always beat out quality. She has become such a frugile shopper finding quality items inexpensivily I am quite proud of her, haha...I do love hearing how the Lord stretched those 5 dollars for you all. An even bigger lesson to learn. Have a good day.

Debbie said...

Sonja, you had smart parents! I had to laugh because oatmeal is such a good choice for breakfast from a health standpoint too. But the reality was there was only so much money to feed you for the day and that was a valuable lesson.

Too many parents today give their kids what they want and the kids have no idea what it costs. I know my parents gave me an allowance each week but I only received it if I did my required chores. If I did not, no allowance.

There are also spiritual lessons I can see from your post. God supplied manna each day to the Israelites when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They were given only enough for that day. He was teaching them to depend on Him for each day's supply and not to hoard it or it would spoil. This also reminds me of people who have to buy so much stuff. I saw an extreme example of this when my husband turned on a TV show called "Hoarders". I was horrified by the extremes that some people go to cling to their stuff.

I love your lessons learned from these car trips with your wise parents Sonja. I almost feel like I'm sitting in the backseat with you guys.

Love you sis,
Debbie

Cindy - Letters From Midlife said...

I enjoy reading about your childhood adventures as you traveled with your parents. Such a rich legacy and fun at the same time.

deodate said...

Great story Sonja, such terrific memories you have! And, how wonderful that you relate them to Our Father. What I always loved about the loaves and fishes story is that there was surplus. God always gives us not only what we need but he gives in abundance. Did you ever have any days when you had left over?
Andie

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This is just so great! I sometimes ask my husband if our children have missed lessons because he and I would sacrifice instead of letting the kids learn...but then again, God has given lessons later on to fill in where we gave too much earlier.

I remember my Dad saying...no cheese on your burgers, it is 10 cents more, no fries! When I started dating my husband it was an automatic to get cheese on your burger I laughed...I had learned to eat mine without!

Love the stories...bad night for the Rangers...and I watched Norway on the Great Race the other night...so beautiful!!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

There was a time that $5 could buy a lot. I remember my mother spending $20 a week on groceries to feed our family and we ate good! :-)

~Ron

Shirley said...

Oh that we taught our kids such lessons today. I do see Karri (our daughter) doing it.

myletterstoemily said...

my kids had an art teacher who did the same thing
with her family ALL the time. i guess they learned
the value of a dollar.

the sweet thing about your story is that i feel sure
none of you would have gone to bed hungry. your
mom or dad would have given you their dinner!

i LOVE these stories and always look forward to
coming over (down) to see you!

blessings,
lea

Rita said...

That was a wonderful lesson that your parents taught you and I am sure that it has served you well as you have matured into adulthood. Your parents were very wise. Thanks for sharing all your stories of you family with us. I love each one of them.

Together We Save said...

Wonderful story and great lesson!

Debbie said...

I love this. What wise and wonderful parents you had! It's really so sad to me that so many kids don't understand the conept of budgeting. They honestly don't "get" that there is an end to the money.

Isn't it funny how little money you had and how much love and fun you remember?

Felisol said...

Dear Sonja,
Riding along with the Gesswein family is like riding through time and family history.
I wish I'd read about your parets 5 dollar policy before. That might have saved me some unnecessary holiday expences. And I mean unnecessry. At a certain age kids believe their parents come with unlimited bank account.
I admire the wise and loving way you were raised, and how much fun you had, even on a limites budget.
Your stories aren't only stories, but lessons too. Are you the one who have inhertited your father's gifts?

Just a little something from Judy said...

Who would think that years after your parents took you on this road trip, that we would be learning valuable lessons from them. Lessons for our children and grandchildren. God sure did bless your parents with wisdom and common sense. Thank you for sharing these stories.

Patrina's Pencil said...

I lived out my childhood on the 'loaves and fishes' miracle as well. Mama fed a family of 6 on a shoestring. I learned to do the same. My kids are still amazed at how I manage to live on nothing :)