This morning while still deciding how productive I planned to be today, I watched an interview with Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vouge magazine. She said something that struck a chord. She spoke of “… the idea of fashion as value. ... We’re talking to our audiences about investing in fashion, about finding pieces that will have a long life.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her words and remember a younger me who, along with college friends, subscribed almost reverentially to the notion of “PPW."

PPW … Price Per Wearing. Any article of clothing we considered buying was first scrutinized by its PPW. Would it be worth the cost if the PPW would be low? Was it a good investment? There was also its lesser-known cousin, the PPU — Price Per Use.

Exhibit A: Within days prior to my graduation from Berlin American High School, I bought myself a letterman’s jacket. I had never had a letterman’s jacket. I hadn’t been in any high school long enough to earn one (I went to three). But finally, my senior year, I earned my letter. I earned it for my involvement with speech and drama.

My letterman’s jacket, as I recall, cost $200, back in 1988. I paid for it out of the $500 I’d won from a Veterans of Foreign Wars essay contest. I wore that jacket approximately 1.5 times before graduating. I did wear it a few times in college because it was cool and said Berlin on it. I got comments every time.

I still have the jacket. It’s been worn, oh, maybe half a dozen more times since then … on super-cold days … to take out the compost.

PPW of said jacket: probably about $25. Not great. (Though I have to admit, it’s still a pretty cool coat.)

Exhibit B: The other coat I bought out of that essay contest win: a German Loden dress coat. $300. Wool. Classic. Red and Black. It was warm, fashionable, and, while I mostly wore it on Sundays to church, I also wore it to class or work if I was feeling exceptionally stylish. I wore it for about 20 years. I wore it until it was threadbare on the cuffs and missing a button or two.

PPW of that coat: probably less than a penny. It was a well-spent $300. A great investment.

The examples could go on and on. Both good and bad ones. I’m sure we all have stories to tell of wise purchases and foolish ones. Of good PPW’s and bad. And as for the PPU’s … again, the stories are myriad.

What all of this makes me think of though … is God. Surprise!

Spending our money wisely is one thing. Spending our time or our energy wisely is another. But what about spending our thoughts wisely? What are we investing our thoughts in? Are we spending them on things that will last? Are we focused on things that matter?

OK, me neither … not all of the time. But I do try. I try to not fill my brain with worthless clutter, or worse. I try to live by Ephesians 4:8:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

Perhaps I need to start thinking about the PPT — Price Per Thought! Gosh, I have so many worthless thoughts. I’m unkind. Judgmental. Impatient. Everything that is the opposite of true, pure, and lovely. Nothing of lasting value is gained from thinking them.

Noble thoughts, on the other hand, right thoughts, admirable thoughts, those are “more precious than gold” (Psalm 10). Now there’s a good investment.

My challenge this week — for me, and for you, should you choose to accept it: to up my PPT.

Gretchen O’Donnell
is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is