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My DH regularly checks the value of the dollar because of the nature of his business. And lately it has not been good. The dollar to the Yen is at a fifteen year low and against the Euro and the Pound it just keeps dropping. Yesterday the Fed announced that they’re going to buy 600 Billon in debt, calling the recovery “disappointingly slow.” Unfortunately, this is not a promise of good things to come, rather an acknowledgement that they are resorting to desperate measures. In other words, if the economy improves, it’s going to be a slow climb at best, so don’t hold your breath.

With all the doom and gloom, I believe that what we need more than ever are hard-working, cheerful adults. We need to be people willing to make hard adjustments, but not panic or stress the children.

I was raised in a larger family (eleven people) with one income. My father was not a college graduate, he worked in an office at a mine, and though he did the work of what an accountant would do today, he essentially received the wages of a clerk. And yet our home was mostly a joyful place.

From my parents I learned valuable lessons that helped me years later raise my children during financially challenging times. The most important lesson was: Trust God.

My childhood house was located on a tree-lined street where squirrels raced from tree to tree, occasionally using power lines as connecting paths. A small park nestled in the side of our street like Kokopelli’s backpack. It was the place the neighborhood gravitated to. On a summer evening, mom would instruct who ever was at home (finishing up supper dishes) to bring everyone home for prayers.

That is when someone would go to the front door and begin to shout: “Hatches, come home for prayers!” All the children at the park would pick up the cadence, “Hatches, prayers!” There was no ridicule, just an acceptance that that was what we did each night.

Ok, yelling down the street is not something I encouraged my children to do (they were not even to shout in the house when someone received a phone call), but in my childhood, the lesson was internalized: prayers were as much a part of our lives as chores, play, or school.

Prayer offers a child a safe place to turn, and they give all of us the peace and comfort that will help us get through tough times. Because of the lessons of my childhood, I cannot begin a day without asking for God’s blessings or end a day without thanking him for the blessings I received. It is as essential to me as air, water, and books.

A declining economy brings opportunity to reassess our values and discover what is most important. I have a book filled with stories from the Great Depression. It is titled We Had Everything but Money. I like that. This post begins a series on living abundantly without material excess. Check back each Wednesday; and share your experiences.

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