Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trading Spaces with Grounded Parenting

As promised, Hannah is guest blogging today, and you are all very lucky to be able to read this beautiful woman's words.  I am blogging on her page today, so make sure you head over there to check out what I have to say.  It's a good one today :)  Her blog really is a wonderful representation of a loving mother's perspective on life and all she is learning in her day to day.  Don't miss out on all she has to say.

And without further ado...

A couple weeks ago I was asked the question, "If you had to move tomorrow, where would you live?" It was a tough question to answer because there are so many beautiful places that I'd love to see and visit. What made it more difficult is the idea of living somewhere else. We've been so focused on building our life here, it's hard to imagine leaving it all behind. Yet, I can't deny the feeling that resists being so tightly tied to a little piece of the globe.

That same feeling has been echoed in so many of my recent conversations. For example: I loved hearing the story of how a dear couple lived with such flexibility during their first years of marriage. It appealed to the part of me that is craving an adventure. While they admitted how difficult it was to follow "spur of the moment" calls and live in temporary residences, when asked if they had any regrets they didn't have any. They wouldn't trade those years. Yes, Peter and I want roots. We want a stable community for our kids. We dream about building our "Canyon House" someday. But even I'm rethinking what the fulfillment of those dreams will look like.

Will my life point to the fact that I value my connections to my friends and family above all other things? Am I actually living like people are my priority? How much of my energy has been spent on reorganizing the same piles of stuff over and over instead of using my energy to lift others up? How many of my thoughts are given to maintaining a certain standard of living for myself (or the illusion thereof) instead thinking of ways to improve the lives of those I love? How many dollars have I spent for cable TV instead of sharing what I don't need with those who do need?

I'm far from completely selfless. If that pile of stuff was whittled down, if our lives were simplified, if that money was not already spent before we got it, that would mean freedom! If I had less, I could DO more.

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I guess you can call it "frugality." I think I prefer "simplifying." Whatever you call it, it's what I want. I just am craving a little wiggle room. I'm so weary of the complications that keep me wading in the shallow end instead of deeply diving into the aspects of life that matter the most.

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Peter and I are still working out what this gut feeling is driving us to do. Right now, I might need to focus on what NOT to do.

Here are my ideas:
  • Quit complaining about how bad I have it. I've got it pretty good. Because I have this computer, and I can read and write these words, that means I'm richer than most.
  • Consider, "Will it matter 5 days from now, 5 weeks from now, 5 years from now?" If not, should I do it or worry about it?
  • Pay off debt! It's ugly. It's embarrassing. But it won't be if I get rid of it.
  • Get rid of stuff I don't need. If I don't want it, use it, or need it, it's a burden. Buh bye!
  • Stop buying things to make me feel better. Obviously, that hasn't worked in the long term. I need make the things I already have work better. No more, "If I only had ____ (fill in the blank)."
  • As I learn how to live life simply but richly, start teaching my kids, too. I think there are some awesome memories we could create if had some of that wiggle room.
  • Read this book (only if I can find it at the library or borrow it because of the previous bullet point) - 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. When Tiny Twig wrote about the book, she said everything I've been thinking
  • Find out what I really really really want to do. And then do it. (Year of Dreams!)
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*** Last Minute Thought ***

I wrote this post on Saturday. Then, on Monday morning, before I sent it to Ryan to post, I was forced to comply given an opportunity to practice this mentality. After a reality check and a honest look at our financial behavior, my husband and I decided we have to give up some things that many, including myself, consider requirements for day to day living. The truth is, our TV and internet bundle, and a second car are luxuries. If we want to start refining and streamlining our lives for the true purposes we're called to, we have to start making sacrifices.

Without a doubt, I want to have two cars again someday. I'm really going to miss Sesame Street in the morning. Someday, if we can afford our responsibilities and then our passions and still have more left over, hook that cable up, baby! Either way, having, or not having, those things is not what makes me who I am. So, farewell, Parenthood and Downton Abbey... until we meet again.


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