We had just returned from Christmas Eve service, and prepared for our traditional Christmas Eve gifts, usually new jammies. We open one gift each and get dressed and ready for bed. My mother started this tradition with my siblings and me, probably so that we would look good in our Christmas morning pictures. It is a tradition that I have tried to follow as well.
Being the scrapbooking and history-preserving mommy I am, I got out the camera and started snapping pictures, one of Gadget Boy, oh, he’s so cute snuggling with his little baby sissies; one of Chels and Miss Busy in their matching sleepers. (Only three kiddos at this time in our lives.) Snap-whir, snap-whir, snap then click. No snap-whir? No more film, “Oh, no! That can’t be the end. There has got to be more film in the buffet drawer!”
None, zilch, nada, not a single roll of unused film. What to do, what to do! Panic!
Now, we have to back up a bit in the story. For about a year, I had been trying to start an online eBay business, buying things at discount stores and then selling them for a bit of a markup. I had a friend who was doing this and making good money. I sold a few Longaberger Baskets I didn’t want anymore and some fabric liners that I made for them, quite a few of those actually. The only problem, I had to drag all my stuff over to Teresa’s house and use her camera. I loved visiting with her, but she was pretty particular with her stuff and wouldn’t let me touch her camera, she did the picture taking. What a pain. I wanted my own. Wanted—didn’t need, only wanted. Why didn’t I remember those words? They would cost me dearly.
I found out the make and model and started looking. This was back in 2001, and digital cameras were big, bulky and expennn-sive! The one I wanted used a 3.5” floppy to store about 18 pictures. Perfect! (I can’t believe that as I write this only 7 years later, that my camera now stores over 800 photos on a card one-fourth that size!! Hilarious!) The only problem, this baby cost over $600. I didn’t have that kind of cash just lying around. But wait, I could apply for store credit. Well, to make a long story short, well, to shorten it considerably anyway. I got the camera, a protection plan, floppies and a camera case. $700, payments were $50 a month. No problem, I could easily pay $100 a month and get it paid off before Bear found out about it.
That was during the summer, by Christmas I was still paying for it, the payments hadn’t gone quite as planned, Bear had gotten laid off and was looking for work again. Money was tight, and I couldn’t tell him about the camera just yet. That’s why I panicked!
So now back to Christmas Eve, while I didn’t have film for my 35 mm, I did have a perfectly good digital camera, and lots of blank floppies. But I didn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell him on Christmas Eve! I don’t think I told him until almost Easter. It was bad, he was angry, and rightly so.
This was the start of a lot of financial infidelity. Not paying the bills, mortgage payments got behind, car payments, etc. We lost our minivan, turned it back to the bank and then had to pay off the remainder of the loan over the course of the next 5 years. I felt like we were not on the same page. We were not together as far as the finances, and it was causing a rift in our marriage. It caused a lot of unrest, mistrust, and dishonesty; mostly on my part.
As far as the camera went, the payments got behind, there were late fees, finance fees, and interest at an incredible 22.5% that was accruing monthly. The original bill for $700 ballooned up to about $900 before we got it under control. The seven months I thought I had to pay it off became more like 4 years. The great thing I was doing for my business? Well, I didn’t sell enough on eBay to pay for the floppies, let alone the camera, the bag and the extended warranty too.
So for Christmas we only had about 3 or 4 pictures, just on Christmas Eve, and I remember the hardship and the strain I put on my marriage every time I look through our Christmas album. With financial counseling from our church elders, we have overcome most of those particular struggles, but overspending is something that I constantly have to resist. I try to be frugal and spend wisely, but then the ugly green greed monster inside lifts her ugly head and the gimmies resume.
Some verses that help me: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Contentment with what I have, contentment with who I am in Christ, I do not need to fill any desires at Wal-Mart, I have no needs there. I am well taken care of, my husband provides for us and I will trust him and honor him by being faithful in this area of finances.
Now go over and see what Sue has to say, she does a much better job than I do.