Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Simple Life

Choosing to live a simple life is actually choosing to work a little harder (which is also more rewarding!). It's a mind-set that one must choose. It's not something everyone embraces...but for me and my family...it's the way I feel God has led us.
My faith has grown...larger and stronger...since realizing that *simple* is enough. We don't need to have designer clothes, an ultra fancy vehicle, a million dollar house or lots of *stuff* to be happy. If you have the money for those things...I don't begrudge you that! Many people in the Bible were rich. But when people get those things because they feel it makes them *better* or *hipper*...they begin losing themselves. When you try so hard to be what the "world" deems to be great...you slowly, but surely, begin to lose what has made you special in the eyes of God. You are His child...unique and loved by Him. Whether you wear designer jeans or not! ;)

I have realized that embracing modesty has changed my outlook on clothing. No longer do I think "do I look fat in this?". Now, I know, that I am dressing appropriately, feminine and modestly. I don't feel the need to *look* better than anyone else...but to show that I am a woman who takes enough care to dress nicely and care for myself...but not for the *world's* standards...but in a way that I feel is wholesome and helps me to fill my role as helpmeet to my husband. There, to me, is something about wearing a skirt, that reminds me that I am the *first mate*. (Although I *do* want to mention...this is a choice of mine...to live simply does not mean you have to wear a skirt...for me, it just fits into my lifestyle!)

Chris is the captain...I am his first mate. This doesn't make me less important...we just fill the roles that God set out for us....this is how He designed it. Chris needs me. I am his helper. I strive, everyday, to fill this role to the best of my ability. When we were first married...I thought I should be a queen. Over the past ten years, as God has drawn me closer to Him, I have seen how wrong I was. So many people wonder why their marriages struggle...and oft-times, it is because each person is not filling their proper God-made roles. I guess I could go on about this...but my purpose for this post was not to focus on marriage... ;) Maybe that is something to talk about, another day!


One important tip I want to share is that you first *need* to get out of debt. Then, once you are out of it...stay out! Cut up those credit cards (I have never owned a credit card...I have a debit card..but never, ever bought anything on credit). If you can't pay cash....then wait until you can. I could write a whole post about the whys, hows, and such of why you need to be out of debt (the first being that God tells us in His word that the *borrower is servant to the lender* ~Prov. 22:7)...but that sort of post can wait. If you are curious on how to get out of debt and want to start now...email me and I will see if I can be of help! :)

To live more simply, I strive to do things the more old-fashioned way, I suppose. I love putting "old things" to good use. You can be so creative! I use baskets for many different things, such as holding folded towels, bread baskets, and a place to keep your children's crayons! I would rather wash dishes by hand than use a dishwasher. I don't need a lot of *stuff*. I like to (often) go through things that we don't need anymore and donate them to the thrift store. There's no sense on things cluttering up my home when someone else may be able to use them!

I cook most things from scratch....including our bread and rolls (which I make weekly). This is a money saver...as well as great-tasting!! We have a garden in the summer which we tend to, as a family. Then I can and freeze much of our harvest! I also enjoy making (and canning) jelly and jam! **Few things are better than a slice of homemade bread with your homemade jam spread across it!** Menu planning is a great way to stay in your budget as well. Try to stay away from buying a ton of processed foods...make your *own* cookies and cakes at home. :) The children will enjoy helping you, it's cheaper and you *know* what is in them!

I love candlelight and oil lamplight. Instrumental, worship, and/or soft music is often playing in my home, as well. It all creates such a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere! Simple things, such as this, can calm a chaotic house!

We often get our clothes from thrift shops or hand-me-downs. You can save so much money this way! And I must say, really, how many clothes does each person *need*? I like to make my own laundry soap...and hanging my clothes out on the line is a great money-saver! I *do* have a dryer though, which gets most of its use in the winter. I also have a drying rack which I hang clothes on to dry, through the snowy and cold winter months.


I find knitting (and now crocheting) to be an enjoyable way to benefit my household. I make gifts as well as items for our home (such as dishcloths that I use to wash dishes with). I have even sold a few of the things I have made. My sewing machine is being fixed right now...but then I have every intention of sewing things for our family, as well. Other crafts I hope to do at some time include soap making and candle making! I also intend on quilting one day!!! :)

Also...we home educate our children. Oh what a beautiful (and sometimes difficult) journey it is! Many say that they could never afford to homeschool. Oh, not true! There are many frugal ways to go about it...plus if you think of how much you truly spend, sending your child to a public school, you may see how much cheaper it is to keep them at home! :) No need for school clothes shopping, paying for school lunches, new backpacks, school pictures (which are always ridiculously expensive!) etc. My children's hearts are being molded by us...not by other children or teachers. Such a wonderful blessing it is! :)

Honestly, I feel like the way we live is just *normal*. Maybe it isn't all too different from how everyone else lives? One thing I *know* is different with us, though, from some, is that we have no desire to be "better" than anyone else. There is no struggle with trying to have more, more, more. Many may see us as beneath them...but that doesn't bother me. I feel we live the way we should be, according to how God wants us to. I feel no pressure to "keep up with the Joneses", as the saying goes.

One more way to live simply and wisely....is to be generous! There are those struggling, needy and hurting...right now and always. Anonymous giving is a beautiful way to share God's love with people as well as to train our hearts to realize that we have what we *need*, God always provides, so let's share the surplus *whether it's $5 or $50*! :)

As I sit and think, hoping to include everything I have been thinking about lately, I find myself unsure of what else to include. Have I forgotten anything that you may have been wondering about?

I hope you have found some of my words helpful and beneficial. As Christmas approaches this year, please remember it isn't about more *stuff*. It's about the birth of our Savior and why He needed to come for us. :)

Thanks for visiting. I am just a simple woman, sharing ways we live. You need to do what works for you. But...as I see the economic crisis that our government (and quite frankly, the world) are in...cutting back and living more simply and being prepared are all things we, as women and keepers of our homes, should be doing.

From my heart to yours,
Katy :)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:16-20

24 comments:

  1. Katy, I could have not said these things better if I'd tried. I agree wholeheartedly. One thing we do that you probably do too, is utilize the library (both for homeschool and for fun reading). In addition to listening to music during the day, we often listen to books on tape...it allows the children to be read to and I can be with them, but my hands are free for other things.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. A beautiful and peaceful post Katy. Simplicity is the most wonderful thing, and we have such joy when we embrace it.
    Big hugs, xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  3. We have SO much in common. I just found your blog and I LOVE this post! We wear dresses or skirts all the time too, we hang out laundry, warm our house with a fireplace, grow a large garden, put up jelly, homeschool, get most of our clothes from thrift stores etc. We live very simply and yes, it is more work, but I LOVE taking care of my family. They deserve the best of me, not some left overs. I love cooking for them and taking care of our home. I can't imagine living any way else! I'm glad I found your blog.

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  4. What a beautiful post Katie! Your thoughts on wearing skirts are mine excatly, though I couldn't quite put my finger on how to say it. What kind of shoes do you usually wear with them in the cold weather? I'm ALWAYS looking for suggestions there, shoes being a necessary evil for me....

    I received my first Above Rubies yesterday, and it got me wondering- will you be attending their April retreat by chance? I am hoping to, since its only about 15 minutes away from me!

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  5. i agree wholeheartedly! What a beautiful post! I too am striving to live this kind of life with His help.
    blessings,
    christina

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  6. Simple living also allows you to share your resources with others. As you make your jam, as you have money saved up, you can share with others who have needs....

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  7. What a beautiful post! A simple life is the best and one I strive for. You are a wise yound woman and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  8. What a truly beautiful post! I must say, I am glad to *know* someone else who has never had a credit card:) My hubby and I have been married for 23 yrs. and have never had one, although with my son in the military now we may end up having to get just in case of travel, as most hotels/car rental places will not accept cash or debit cards, which is just plain weird:(

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  9. All I can add is AMEN!
    We feel and live simply for exactly the same reasons. Yes, it's a tougher, more work involved life, but the blessing is that it is also freeing! We are debt free, paying off our morgage a year ago Nov. :o)

    I don't wear dresses or skirts around the farm, they just aren't practical, but do wear them all other times and you are right I don't worry about if I look alright, because I know I do, I look feminine and most of all my Dh likes it.

    I love your collection of lamps, the one with the shade is beautiful!
    Blessings,
    Kelle

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  10. I have been thinking the same way lately. I was watching some of the presidential address yesterday and felt the strong desire to become more self-reliant. There is tremendous comfort in taking care of yourself and relying on yourself.

    The point you made about homeschooling is sssoooo true. The day before yesterday, my nephew had a Santa's workshop at school where students could purchase items as presents for Christmas. My mom sent him to school with $15 and he came home practically in tears! He said that most kids had at least $50 to spend, leaving my nephew feeling bad about himself and embarassed. Then there's the book fairs, fundraisers and all that goes with it!! I feel very blessed to be at home, educating my children!!

    Amazing post as usual!!

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  11. We do the same things you do, Katy. The only thing different is my canning expertise is limited to tomatoes and jelly, but I plan to change that this summer! :) Also, I've only knitted one scarf, but I have been sewing some on my sewing machine. This is the life for me too!! We love living in the country where our kids can romp around and be kids! I think more ppl will be craving the simple kind of life as time goes on.
    Enjoyed the post!!

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  12. Thank you Katy for sharing your heart, I am always Blessed by it!! We too have been trying to be more frugal, I have boughten the stuff to make my own detergent but I have feared failing so haven't made it....how silly of me!! You have given me the push to get it done!! I also make jam and give it as gifts at Christmas, also make banana bread to give as well. We have been slowly growing our food pantry and buying extra taxables when they are on sale. I have a question for you, it may seem silly but what is the difference between a helpmate and a helpmeet? I have seen several women using it in blogland and just wondered what the difference was. Hope you have a very Blessed day my friend!!~hugs~

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  13. Interesting post.Will homeschooling prepare all of your children for college and the world of work?.Owning a credit card doesn`t mean that you are in debt. What about major unexpected bills like car repairs or medical bills?.What about travel and holidays to other countries to widen your perspectives on life?.Modern life is not to be feared.

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  14. I agree with what you have said. I have tried so to cut back * get out of debt * grow & stock up on food. It can be quite the struggle when only one in the marriage is on that path. Lost of prayer in this case. I just started reading a book I got from the library. The private World Of Tash Tudor. Her life seemed so simple & beautiful. Yes much more work but filled with peace & love. Blessings!

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  15. Great, great post!

    I would be interested in seeing some post on those little money saving things you may do day end and day out maybe not mentioned (although what you do is a lot of work! Don't get me wrong). I mean like do you sew, do you make gifts besides knitting and if so what? How do your repurpose items? etc...

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  16. Thank you, you speak so much truth. :-) Refreshing to read.

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  17. This is such a great post, and I agree with you 100%.

    This year I have tried this year to make do with what I have. I still have bought some things, but trying to repurpose and quit spending seem to be the motto here.

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  18. Dear Katy,
    Hello kind friend.
    I always enjoy reading your post about "your life". I can tell from the years of reading your blog that you are an honest to heart real lovely woman. I love how you are just yourself, never tring to be something you are not. That's why I have kept coming to visit you. You always speak kindness to others. God bless your words, your blog and the heart desire you have to share God's love in the way you live your life, in the way He has guided you. It is simple and yet enough to keep hands busy in the daily needs of basic necessities.
    I know God's word says to be sure that His poeple devote themselves to do what is good (which means benificial)And as you are sharing how you do this I noticed You are still longing to learn more and live out more love. ME TOO!!!! me too friend. I pray we live as He directs us and long for more of Him. Hugs, Angelia in TX

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  19. Hi Katy, Your blog is so beautiful and is a wonderful reflection of who you are. Your writing speaks volumes of what a great mother and wife you are. Your bread I could almost smell LOL. Your daughters room was so gorgeous I am sure she is in love with it. Thank you for sharing, I will be back soon! Marla

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  20. Dear Katy,

    A Beautiful and lovely post.I am working partime on a job. today I came stress at home off work. And then I read your blog.That put my mind on thinking the other way. I hope some day I can quit the job and by a stay at home mom. God bless you and your familie.

    Big Hugs Eveline!

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  21. Katy, I can't tell you what your post meant to me today! It just tugged at my heartstrings as I felt your peace, your closeness with the Lord, your desire to raise your children to know Him. . . but most of all, to see how much you have matured and grown since I first started following your blog a few years ago. Wish I could just give you the biggest hug ever!!!! Thank you for being here and for blessing us with glimpses of your heart and home!

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  22. Loved your post. We are raising the last of our 7 children. I read one of the posts here about whether homeschooling would prepare your children for college and the world of work. Rest assured, our God has their futures well in hand. I sometimes worried about what would become of our home-schooled, country raised kiddos, and shouldn't have given it a second thought. Our oldest boys both have trades, two of our kids have went to college and did fine, our daughters have started a very successful business, and all of them are debt free, happy members of society. Keep up the good work!

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  23. simple...beautiful

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I am always so grateful to read your comments! I thank you for the time you took to visit and share your thoughts with me. :o)
May you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend!
Warmly, Katy