The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

Frugal Café Philosophy
Save more.
Spend wisely.
Use resources responsibly.
Laugh often.
Kindle passion in life.
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So, You Had a Bad Day... Frugal Café Pick-Me-Up Page
Quotes, Anecdotes, Inspirational Thoughts, & Other Uplifting Stuff to Make Your Day a Bit Brighter


Cherish the Little Things


Having a bad day? Or a bad week? Did something happen this week that made you feel like your dreams were slipping further away? Do you feel frustrated, angry, frightened, confused, defeated... or all of these?

Perhaps you are searching for something to help reinforce your faith in yourself, in your family, in your life. Something to make you smile, something to pick you up? Something to give you a distraction so that you can gather your thoughts, and in so doing, gather some strength? Well, that's the mission of our "uplift" page. Each week, we'll give you new things that hopefully will encourage you, spark a flame within in you, make you laugh, or just take your mind off the stupid junk going on in your life, if for just a few minutes.

We're getting closer to Christmas. And you're staring at the calendar, unable to believe that there is still so much to do and so little time (or paycheck) to do it with. Perhaps you're alone for the first time at Christmas, unable to afford a plane ticket to travel to see relatives. Perhaps your house is in foreclosure, and the upcoming new year looks bleak. Perhaps your family vehicle needs repairs that you can't afford. Perhaps health conditions for a loved one or yourself are escalating and medication is becoming harder to buy. Perhaps you were recently laid off from your job and getting gifts for your children is impossible. The Christmas season can magnify your stress, your fears. Please don't despair... all is not lost. You aren't alone in your troubles. We need Christmas more than ever.

On the subject of gift-giving... you don't need money or credit cards to have a wondrous Christmas. The less you spend, the more you can savor this season. Christmas is much bigger than going to the mall and spending loads of money. It is the spirit of love and charity and joy and hope, a time for reflection and appreciation. The biggest promise of all. It's the realization of why Christmas even exists and why it's so special.

Cherish the little things. There is so much to cherish, despite what is going on around you. Refuse to embrace those fears or frustrations about having a meager Christmas. While it's not what you expected, there are still so many things to appreciate, to cherish. Don't focus on the black voids of despair and anger, but march into the light. In the light, you can scoff at over-indulgent Christmases of the past. This current adversity will pass, it really will. You can choose to be happy now and cherish those little things, or you can choose to be miserable and give up. It's up to YOU which it will be. It's just that simple.

Christmas celebrates all that the birth of Jesus Christ meant. Love, peace, joy, redemption, harmony, hope. A joyous time to share with those whom you love. A time to help those less fortunate. Cherish them all and cherish your memories. Begin to cherish TODAY, starting today.

You may be hit with such despair that you want to curl up into a ball and do nothing. NO! You need to seek assistance and you need to do it now. Develop a plan, call your city and state agencies, contact friends and family members. Find out what is available and do whatever it takes. You can rise above this, so now is not the time to wither away and be paralyzed.

One year, without any warning, my husband lost his job -- we were unable to pay our electric bill. He stood for hours outside an outreach agency that had donated funds for people like us to pay our electric bill. He had to provide a lot of corroborating paperwork and fill out several forms. While the assistance only satisfied half of the bill, we could pay the other half. And it financially saved us. We were also given a food box with generic canned goods, fresh fruits, pasta, beans, and baby cereal. It was just the temporary help we needed to get through it. Since then, whenever I pay our electric bill, I always tick the "Donate 1 dollar" box to give back, to help others as we were helped.

Choose to rise above your adversity. Choose to laugh, to love. Click the links below and read the articles we've posted below—a few will help get your creative juices going and others will help you be revitalized and give you inspiration to make this Christmas amazing without extra cash and without extra stress.

And please, don't forget to laugh. We keep saying that, but laughter is key to your mental strength. When you don't laugh, you can't function. The problems in your life control you. And you will more than likely not want to laugh. But, laughter is so important to your mental health and physical well being. Life is never all bad or all good, even now.

This Week's Pick-Me-Up Songs: Week of December 14, 2008, Christmas Songs

Left-click to play, right-click to download (select 'Save Target As' to save to your computer). To play from the site, file will take a few seconds to load and then your audio player will open in a new window. All files are mp3 format.


Push to Play

Daniel Powter - You Had a Bad Day
(our Uplift Page theme song)
Length: 3 min. 53 sec.

Push to Play Faith Hill - O Come All Ye Faithful
Length: 2 min. 40 sec.

Push to Play Jackson 5 - Someday at Christmas
Length: 2 min. 51 sec.

Push to Play Spyro Gyra - I'll Be Home for Christmas
Length: 3 min. 41 sec.


Inspiration Alley

A Sandpiper to Bring You Joy

Authorship: Mary Sherman Hilbert, sometimes attributed to either Robert Peterson or Ruth Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. "I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand." That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went gliding down the beach.

"Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Ruth," I answered. "I'm Ruth Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy." She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mrs. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The days and weeks that followed belong to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

"Hello, Mrs. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know, you say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.

"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter. "Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today."

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. "Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and—oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt? " she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!!!!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there.

Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn-looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said. "I'm Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all—she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. "Where is she?"

"Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.

"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." her voice faltered. "She left something for you... if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS. P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues—a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words—one for each year of her life—that speak to me of harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand—taught me the gift of love.


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