The Gift of Nothing

January 2, 2013

I got nothing for Christmas.  Please don’t feel sorry for me- it’s exactly what I wanted.  A few years ago, after our family got back from L’Abri, my friend Kim gave me a children’s book called The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell.  The book got right up alongside where we were living at that time.  We were considering selling our house- not because we wanted to, but because Charlie was out of work and we weren’t sure that we could continue to keep up with the mortgage.  Oddly, coming off our L’Abri experience, we realized that we had everything that we wanted or needed.  Our faith was intact.  We were at a sober place of knowing that God loved us and had a much greater plan for our family than chasing material wealth.  We recognized that all our gifts and abilities came from God.  All our material resources also belonged to God.  In short, we had everything we needed to be happy.  What we needed that Christmas was, well, nothing.

Back to this Christmas.  I’ve been on a mission over the last couple of years to simplify my wardrobe.  So, I needed neither clothing nor shoes nor jewelry nor accessories.  No trinkets would make my life better.  Just another thing I would need to dust underneath.  So, I was delighted when I got up on Christmas morning to find that my husband had re-gifted this book to me.


But, there was another big box waiting for me.  I thought I knew what was in it:   nothing.  But, I was wrong.  Charlie had gifted me with a big 50% off our household goods coupon.  He was giving me the gift of less- and he was offering elbow grease to make it happen.


I know that this isn’t attractive to many of you.  But, for me, it holds promise.  I mentioned in my post yesterday that even after all the decluttering we’ve done over the last few years, it still feels like we have too much stuff.  Charlie  is offering me a decluttering throw-down.  See the date?  “Valid January ’13 only”.  Love that.  It means we’re getting to work.  It holds the promise of less stuff.  Which means more room.  More space.  More room to play and create.  More room for games and meals.  Less time cleaning and more time cooking a meal from scratch.  Time and space to learn together as a family.  Time for adventure.  Time and space to grow our business.

So, I’ll be taking you on my journey over the next week or so.  I borrowed Tsh Oxenreider’s book Organized Simplicity:  The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living from my friend Karin .  Oxenreider outlines a 10-day plan for decluttering and organizing your home.  We’re not starting school again until next week.  So, I’m taking this time to declutter, clean and organize our house.   I will work during the day, and Charlie and I will spend time working as a team for a chunk each evening after he gets home from work.  Today is Day 1.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


One Response to “The Gift of Nothing”

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