I read Mosiah 28-Alma 2 (not a lot this week - I read a little every day but sometimes it was a very little and pretty wimpy as far as really reading for messages - I'll go deeper and do better this week)
Alma 1:29-30 talks about how the people were prosperous and that they freely shared with those in need and did not set their hearts on riches. They were "liberal to all, both old and young...whether out of the church or in the church..."
I think the main message I got this week (other than that I feel better about scripture reading and my life in general when I take notes - something I slacked off on this week), was that I need to be more liberal with my means and my time. Last year I was very very frugal with money and time. It seemed necessary. We had a tight budget and my time was very tight as I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to meet all my family's needs while trying to run a business and help all the moms in the world. There were no margins financially or time-wise. When someone came up to me in the Walmart parking lot asking for a dollar to help them fix their car (or buy food for their kids or any number of other things that seemed somewhat dubious) or when one of the kids ruined something we'd have to pay for, I felt angry and stretched too thin. I didn't feel like we had any wiggle room for uncertain causes or expected needs. When the phone rang or someone knocked on the door or I realized a someone might need help from me, I felt really annoyed. I didn't have that extra minute to answer a phone call or deal with that person at the door or that friend in need! I had just barely enough time to do the vital things on my list and my days were packed with every minute feeling booked. Unexpected needs were most unwelcome.
I'm realizing now that the tightness I was living with wasn't good for anyone. Tightness with time and money leads to stress. Margins with time and money allow us to be liberal and to feel that great feeling of generosity. I love feeling that I can be generous with my time and money - and a lot of feeling that way is simply DECIDING to feel that way. Even when we really are so busy and so tight on funds, we can usually rearrange and subtract at least slightly to get to the point that things aren't so tight.
I've seen people be liberal and generous even when they are in very tight places. I so admire generous people. I can be liberal and generous a whole lot more and can do a better job maintaining that regardless of my circumstances. I can take do a better job welcoming the interruptions and the serendipity of life. I can give a person in the Walmart parking lot a dollar sometimes - small price to pay to escape the bad feeling of not being generous. I can leave space in my schedule to allow for the neighbor who needs to chat and the mom I run into at the school who might need a friend.
So there are my thoughts for this week!