heart beat

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This is the weird one, to me. I recognize there’s a lot about the heart, and a lot that can be said–center of romance, core of being, where feelings are processed. I am going a slightly different route for three reasons: first, while I plan to be transparent and honest and authentic on this blog, I’m still learning how best to process some feelings and I don’t feel like having a digital record of all of it; two, what would be S.M.A.R.T. goals for feelings? How might one quantify grief?; and third, I’m taking a page from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

There’s a lot to be said and done, considered and practiced when it comes to one’s relationship with money. I don’t care if you’re particularly religious, generally spiritual or adamantly humanist–budgets and spending are moral documents–money talks, while something else walks, as the censored saying goes. What is important to me is what I spend money on; or, really, what I spend money on is what is important to me.

I will not be sharing particulars about my financial situation, for reasons I am positive you can guess. I will say that part of my practice of getting knowing where my heart is, is knowing where my treasure is, also–I am doing the books with regularity at the lesser household. The three trackable, SMART enough goals in 2021 for matters of finances, that is, the heart, are:

Goal #1: Spend no money on books in 2021.

There are, inevitably, exceptions to this. First and foremost: I have a generous book allowance at the church I serve. (Thanks, Riverside!) I will be researching and purchasing commentaries and general reference materials in 2021, since I already have a pretty substantial reading list for 2021 mapped out and I will not need further particular books.

Secondly, I will have to buy books for my June 2021 and January 2022 Doctor of Ministry classes. Yes, these are for personal use, but assigned rather than chosen. So I do not think it will count.

When I say “no money on books,” I mean that I will read what I have, use the library when I do not possess it, and otherwise borrow, beg or behold the books as I can, when I can. I love books. I cannot live without them, to borrow from Jefferson. But perhaps I’m too free-spirited when it comes to purchases.

Goal #2: Tithe honoraria

People are kind, and have offered honoraria to me after I’ve presided over memorial services, or officiated weddings. (Note: you should expect to pay your officiant for a wedding. Memorial services/funerals–it’s a kind thing to do, but I’m less vehement about that; it depends on your relationship with your pastor, and the church, and a whole lot of things. But weddings? Write a check.)

I will give 10% of all honoraria and fees otherwise collected to the global non-profit of my choice. I’m still researching at the time of writing–it’s narrowed down to two. Check back for more information in the future!

Goal #3: Grow our family’s giving.

I’d like to see the lesser household go up by 2% in 2021. This requires intentional budgeting, sticking to said budget, and shifting things around. Since I’m not giving particular figures, nor any major hints, I’m not sure how to write about this one–but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Giving is a commitment to the common good, and it’s hard. So we’re going to do hard things as a family this year.