Thursday, November 29, 2007

Journey Towards Simplicity

I want to live more simply. It seems the closer I draw to the Lord, the more simply I want to live. Key word here being WANT. But the actual DOING seems so difficult. I start, with the BEST of intentions, and yet, fall short in one thing and then give up completely. What kind of example is that to my children? When you fail in the smallest thing, just give it all up?!?!

I have really bad habits. I am addicted to books and buy WAY too many. I collect fabric. LOTS of fabric, and yet do nothing with it (though that is changing, SLOWLY). And I admit that I sometimes get on the computer to do one quick thing and end up spending an hour wondering where the time went.

So I figure there are two things I really need to focus on. Then all the rest SHOULD fall into place.

Time and money.

For the money part I need to STOP SPENDING. Spending 50 cents on something I don't need adds up to a lot of clutter and truly a lot of money. I walk out of Goodwill having spent close to $75 on a few good deals and a bunch of clutter for my home. Now that is not to say that I cannot indulge in the cute little tea cup and saucer for our collection. But I think if I were to go into Goodwill with a goal. This is the item I need and if I want to buy anything else, even if I THINK I need it, I need to call my husband and have at least three good reasons why I need it, a place to put it AND something that I can get rid of that it can take the place of.

I think I am also going to start wrapping up my credit card. It is so easy once the cash is gone to just whip out the card. I tend to waste the cash on frivolous items at Goodwill and then don't have the money for groceries. If the credit card is wrapped up, it will be a better reminder NOT to use it. BUT I will still have it in case of an emergency. Out running errands past lunch time is NOT an emergency. LOL!

I am also going to watch Dave Ramsey's FPU. And then I am going to apply what I have learned.


I am always complaining that I do not have enough time. Yet, if I were to cut down on the amount of TV I watch (even rented movies are watching TV), the blogs I read, and the surfing and collecting of ideas I do, I would have the time to garden. I would have time to spend with the Lord. I would have time to sew all the things I want to sew.

And part of the whole time thing is being organized with SOME sort of schedule. I know I have one around here somewhere. But being the perfectionist that I am, I keep working on it and wanting it to be perfect before I implement it. I keep worrying that if I have to change it, the girls will no longer follow it. Isn't that silly?

SO things to work on:
-STAY HOME! If I stay home, I do not know what I am missing, and don't end up buying things I don't need.
-Try to do a month of buying only needs.
-Find the schedule and just start it! If it needs tweaking, we can tweak it. Thankfully the kids are young enough that they won't really think of anything if I have to change it.
-Find something CONSTRUCTIVE to do rather than mindlessly surf the net or watch TV.
-Make a list of projects I want to do (check out my list of 101 things in 1001 days) and START! :)
-Do more things WITH the kids (other than homeschool)

There is a blog that has really helped encourage me in this. It is called Down To Earth and it should be in everyone's feed reader so you do not miss a post. The posts are short enough to read in just a minute or two, but the content is thought provoking enough to leave you thinking all day. :)

NOTE: No one has signed up for the Pay It Forward yet! There are three spots open! :)


Rebecca said...

I am right there with ya, Paula. I struggle with my lack of self control with money and time as well. I am extremely overweight in comparison to before I was pregnant with Panda and yet-it is hard to be motivated enough to exercise. I lacked time. I have crazy to-do lists for my hobbies, butnever seem to get them done since I was on the internet.

Shopping? Since we live 45 minutes from EVERYTHING-shopping day takes the WHOLE day and that is the only day I am out (So I go lots of places to get everything done.) That is great, except, we are gone from morning til afternoon and lunch falls within those parameters. I am very good about making my children sandwiches and packing up some drinks-but I DESPISE sandwiches and so often pick something up for myself. 1) No wonder I am overweight. 2) That money adds up! And as for extra spending, we have nice things in our home ONLY because I buy those nice things secondhand or on SUPER clearance (like under $10.00 for something originally $70 or more.) So, I try not to cut off that spending. IF it is something that would further strengthen our household (sheet sets, comforters, lamps, etc.)and/or occasionally beautifies it.

I will say this though. I am the bill payer of the family (my hubby gets too stressed with that responsibility so I took it on) and in the beginning of the year finished paying off my husbands' Cornell school loan and ALL our debt-so every extra cent can go toward SAVING instead of repaying. That has made a HUGE difference in my spending. If I don't have money for something, I don't get it. I have never even had a credit card-only a debit. Knowing that we are where we are makes you all the more cautious to stay there. Now that my sewing machine has bit the dust, I am WISHING I could just go out a get a new this is a VERY tempting time for me. BUt, I have held on thus far. I still have problems with the lunch bit though.

As for time-I am proud of myself this week because I made the personal commitment to myself the beginning of last week that I would wake up with my husband and stay up. I realized that the ONLY way to fit in exercise and personal devotions would be to RISE earlier. I have been on this bandwagon before but backslid. Bad, but because of that I realize how great an impact it had on my day. Anyway. All this week now I have been waking at 4:30 or 5:30 am (depending on the day), exercising, praying, reading, and preparing my mind and body for the day. What a BLESSING it has been to me! A TREMENDOUS blessing in how I react, the amount of pressure I put on myself, the tasks that I set my mind to do, my dealings with the children. Also-it makes me glad that COrynn wakes up and finds me in my corner chair reading and praying. I think the testiment to her is worth it ALL!

So-now that I wrote a book, I just wanted to tell you I am going through EXACTLY what you were referring to in your post and I wanted to encourage you to hold fast! While it takes time to readjust your habits-the blessings it provides are immense.

Now...if I only had time to HOMESCHOOL! ;-)

Maria in NC said...

Hi Paula,

I was going to recommend Rhonda's Blog to you but you have already found it. :) It is really inspiring and you just have to find out what works for you. Take it slowly, one goal at a time and you will succeed. Spending only on needs is a good way to start, next to some stash busting, make a quilt with your fabric collection for example. I used to be addicted to shopping to be honest. When we still lived in Europe we had two rather big incomes and spent every last bit of it on - STUFF! After our last move when I unpacked the boxes I could not believe how much money we spent on things we don't really need. I have changed in that way already. I am saying and doing things I never thought I would, like "why buy it new if I can get it used". In my old life I NEVER bought anything used and I hated going to flea markets and goodwill stores. Now I buy all the books that I still buy used and whenever we need something for the house, I look first if I can get it used or free. We have one income now and still life well enough on it (it is a lot less than what we used to have, but the cost of living is also a lot less where we are now than it was in Europe).
Your list of plans looks good, stick to it and you'll see it works. Good luck!!!
Keep blogging about your journey to a simpler life, you'll get lots of encouragement from others. :)

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to your post and the comments above!! I am trying to just take it ONE day at time, cliche as that is. ;) We can support each other!