day 11 of living proverbially...

well, proverbially living has been GREAT. beside the no shopping, no gossip, no stirring up family dissensions, and having to think about my husband first...

it was a wonderful mother’s day weekend. busy and fun. and usually busy isn’t fun for me... 

it was made less crazy than it would have been because sarah greene brought some dresses for millie to try on for the 8th grade graduation party and lo and behold THREE of the dresses were really GREAT and one was the clear cut winner for the event.

so millie and i only needed to shop for shoes and accessories... which we did. and it wasn’t a mad dash and it wasn’t expensive and i LOVE LOVE LOVE sarah greene.

dress one, dress two, and THE BLUE AND WHITE WINNER!

we bought some gold strappy shoes, jewelry, a clutch purse, and a little pashmina scarf to wear across her shoulders....

and today is monday, so i am cooking up monday night dinner for the masses AND i have book club here tonight. so i am going to phone in my proverbially living proverb of the day.... by choosing a principle that i actually already see at work in my life (which isn’t really cheating, is it?)

but first let me mention that one of our book club members was featured in the tallahassee democrat yesterday as some kind of wonderful mom... and she is... but i don’t know why she didn’t cite ME as her inspiration in her interview... when she comes for book club tonight, i plan to ask her about that...

proverbs 11:4-5 (the message)
A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, 
   but a principled life can stand up to the worst. 
Moral character makes for smooth traveling; 
   an evil life is a hard life. 

i have to say that in the last 5 years NOTHING has made the biggest difference in our family than taking the dave ramsey class and following his principles for handling our finances. it isn’t that we were HORRIBLE financially speaking. but we had let things slide a bit and we didn’t have written down plans. and we were not getting more disciplined... we were getting worse as time went on.

in so many ways, i am so glad that we have never had BUCKETS of $$$$. we have lived comfortably but haven’t had a lot of extra money. we didn’t have to choose between oodles of private schools. public school or homeschool were my only options if i wanted to stay home. and we didn’t have the money to build a dream home (or even to upgrade this one in too many ways). 

this forced “keeping things simple” has been of great benefit to me. i have learned to clean and cook and make do with what we have. my kids share a tiny bathroom with me so no one takes really long showers or spends a lot of time on their appearance. i have only enough clothes to fill my little half of the closet. we don’t have a lot of storage so i have to keep organizing and taking stuff to goodwill on a regular basis. the kids are all on budgets and they do very well with that... better than i do. and we all admit that tightening the purse strings has in some way been FREEING and enjoyable for us all. crazy, ain’t it?

developing this tiny little bit of character has made for some smooth traveling. imagine if i had a LOT of it... yes, let’s imagine lea with a lot of character shall we, wouldn’t that be loverly?

i like the way rachel anne over at home sanctuary puts it in a recent blog post that she made...

It sounds rather austere, but I must tell you, there are some surprising benefits to being pulled up short financially. 

I will freely admit, I would NEVER willingly choose living on a shoestring.  There have been some painful moments and agonizing decisions.  It isn't fun to put off necessities like dental visits or health care.  Beans and rice are not NEARLY as good as steak and potatoes, no matter what anyone tells you.  But throughout our "adventure,"  God has been faithful.  In so many ways.  And we still enjoy steak probably more often than we should.  We've never truly gone without.

The biggest blessing has been to see how our kids have grown up without a lot of "extras."  They are resourceful, hard-working, and grateful for what they have.  Our daughters have gotten nice scholarships, grants and loans at a state university and are receiving a great education.  They have never called to ask for money.  They are living out their faith on their own, and we are awfully proud of them. I think things might look a lot different if we'd been able to furnish them with the clothes and cars and things we would have DEARLY loved to give them.  In a way, God has made it easier on us as parents to say "no," simply because we've had no choice.  I know there are things that would have made their lives easier, but we've had to decide that lack of money will not keep us from living a rich life.

For me, shoestring living has made me look beyond just material things to create a sanctuary for my family.  It's what started my whole quest in the first place!  If I could simply custom order all my furniture to create magazine-spread rooms....well, OK, I would love that....but I might miss out on what matters most: creating an atmosphere of love and acceptance, that isn't dependent on stuff and entertainment. Sanctuary is about taking what you have and making the most of it.

God does all the rest.

God does all the rest. we find His principles for living, we make choices to live by them, and then it seem like the EASIEST thing in the world. making the decision to live this way is the HARDEST part. once we decide, the living part is easier. 

this month of may is easy. usually may is overwhelming, stressful, horrible, a train wreck to my sanity and my schedule  and i cannot wait for it to end. but this year it has been delightful. i have slowed down. i have made time to listen, watch, and wait. and it has made this may easy and lovely... smooth traveling. 

even though i have to blog about that traveling everyday... and even that has been a pleasure. 

of course we are only one third of the way through may. the dam could break at any moment. but for some reason i don’t think that it will break. it may bend a little, but i don’t think it will break...

and thanks for joining me on this journey...