(Corey, this edit's for you, girl ;)
Over the past month I've read two excellent books, each creating a series of growing thoughts, many to be accompanied by action.
I learned about both books, where else but on Big Mama's blog. Miss Cindy is an amazing teacher, writer, woman, and every early morning will find me at my computer, eagerly devouring all the nuggets of wisdom and experience she so kindly offers.
We are so blessed here to have the Mister's job. He's a workhorse, that man of mine, and he provides well for us.
But even with being well-provided for, there still must always be a reining in of money going out, the proverbial tightening of one's wallet strings. Raising 5 kids and running a household of 7 is a challenge at times. Braces, therapy bills, dental surgery, new (used) vehicle, roof repair, 20 year H.S. reunion are all looming large on our horizon. Not to mention the cost of feeding this crew.
We're realizing that we have choices to make everyday. Do we want to spend the money on monthly cable service, or do we want to have the ability to take a vacation every year or two? Do we really need two cell phones with unlimited services, or can we somehow go back to "making do" like we happily did for the first 8.5 years of our marriage?
One thing we do right is we don't use credit cards. But one thing we do wrong is that we have too much going out the door. We need more wiggle room. If we want to attend the Mister's 20th H.S. Reunion next August in Seattle, we're gonna have to cleave off some areas of expenses so we can channel that money into the reunion fund.
Being mom to 5, homeschool teacher to 3, leaves me too tired to try and juggle money each month. Have a bill, pay a bill. Put money that's not spent into the appropriate future-use fund. I don't wanna rob Peter to pay Paul, because I have a feeling if I were to try, I wouldn't find the availability of brain cells to help me remember what I was shifting around in the first place.
I'm slowly finding my internal dialogue shifting from the "consumer" mindset to that of a "producer" mindset. What can I somehow make, create or provide for my family, instead of relying on an extractive economy to do so?
I already garden, I love the simple act of canning our food, and I prefer to make most foods from scratch. Just read the back of any box in your cabinet--how many of those words can you readily identify? Do you know where "monoglycerides" or "soy lecithin" come from? I don't, but I sure as heck can tell you that I have never discovered a seed for "monoglycerides" in my Seeds of Change catalog.
So if we don't know what the heck it is, or how it is made, why do we put it in our bodies?
Because it's easier to be mindless, for one.
Easier at the moment, for certain. But is it easier to live with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, dementia? Is it easier to pay thousands of dollars per year on prescriptions, only to have to pay even more the following year, because instead of trying to correct and improve health, we only worsen our current afflictions?
This is a highly tangential post, to be sure. Gold star to you if you made it this far.
Either way, our family is starting to really look at what we are doing and making changes. It's very easy to fall into the traps of a mindless comfort. As Americans, convenience is SO easy and readily available that we become unconscious of the total effect of our daily living choices.
Our house certainly has become unconscious in many arenas, and I realize that I have a lot more growing up to do. Because when I turn on the news or open the papers, I don't see much that's promising. It's a constant wake up call, a thorough reminder to me: Live Simply. And Enjoy Less Stress.
And so that is what I intend to do: reduce the stuff in my house and life; focus on experiences and not objects; and reap the benefits of both actions.
Because let's face it: we RAD moms have the Stress Market cornered. And since I can't wave a wand and magically make my kids healed and stress-free, at least I can create less stress for me in creating change elsewhere.