I hear many families in my community talk of hard times brought on by injuries, unemployment, disability, and the 2008 recession that should have taught many a good and much needed lesson on living above your means. Some hardship is unforeseen and can’t be avoided, some hardships are created through unwise choices and investments.
Right now life is easy for us; the spouse works a decent and easy job down the street and isn’t in a seasonal job or work that endangers his body and health. We live under our means, debt free, cars paid off, small mortgage, and I am extremely frugal and clever with writing books to make more money for the household. But we have other issues.
Most who have been with my blog for years know that we deal with immigration. It is personal so I am only sharing part of this so you understand why I also live with this stress of a future that may leave us without a breadwinner and head of household. We are working things out and things are better but one day Bali may have to go back to India and I may have to petition for him to return. Not a big deal except it could take years. Years of me, the housewife, figuring out how to pay bills. I want to stay home and homeschool so I’m always trying to find ways to cut cost, save money, learn more extreme ways of frugality.
For all of our marraige, I have had a cloud of stress and worry over my head wondering if and when they would decide for Bali to go back.
Some of this is good because I have made very smart choices to buy a cheap house, not get credit cards, drive old cars, live in a town where I can walk everywhere if the car poops out, and live on very little. We even have some luxuries such as organic food, good coffee, and a health club membership, and internet. However, if something happened I would strip everything but the basics to make it.
We just received our tax returns and that is put away as savings. I write books and make a little extra money. I started YouTube for fun and it is now monetized so that adds to the coffee can (my mother used to save money in a coffee can like the old days). I cook from scratch and have a grocery envelope I’m sticking to religiously.
Recently I had to really let go! I had to let go of fear and worry. I’ve been working so hard to write and edit my books and do the YouTube vlogs to build a career. I’ve been so obsessed with pinching and frugalizing to prepare for hard times. I stopped having fun and it became work. I found myself nagging more, grumpy often and just not happy. I realized that all these years have taken their toll on my spirit and I’m pushing and pushing myself to make a living that will sustain us if we are left alone for a long time.
And this is when I began to turn to Connie Hultquist…and God. God first and Connie to back it all up. I have always been provided for and blessed by God. I forget this and think I’m in control of life and fate. Those of you who have heard Connie’s testimony know that she had a husband that ran around the first 12 years of their marriage and she was left alone to make do with babies to tend. How she did it, I have no clue because she never mentions working. She leaves work and money making up to her husband who final was saved and stayed home the last 26 years and took care of the family. No matter how hard times get, or the husband is out of work…she puts her faith in God and the husband to work it all out. She and Jim never even talk about her going to work. Her place is in the home nesting, cooking and tending to the family. His job and place is working and providing.
I respect her for this and while reading her book Dear Kitchen Saints’, I realized I was taking on way too much stress and half of it was not mine to bare. I was tending the home, finances, children, homeschooling, building a writing career, and making money. I was run ragged and unhappy. I had worried for years. I got angry. I was so mad that I had lived like this for so long, I had let it dull the joy of starting a family, of being married, I had allowed it to darken my days and threaten me for so long. “Forget it! I’m done with immigration and rules and all this stress! I’m done! Whatever happens, is not within my control, therefore, I’m out!” I actually used some very not Christian words but will omit them to keep my reputation. For all of my marriage, I have lived in mild stress in the back of my mind for eight years. Enough is enough.
So, I put all the burden back on Bali and my faith back in God and I cut way back on working outside the nest. I put my energy, love and focus back on simple life; sweeping my dining room, hand washing my dishes, cleaning my home with gratitude and depth and care, sitting with my sons and reading Fairy tales and the Children’s Bible, spending mornings really homeschooling my eldest, baking plenty of bread, and planting my spring seedlings in the greenhouse. The joy of life is slowly returning to my tired soul.
But worrying is nothing new to me. I have done some soul searching and recall life with an alcoholic mother who was very unstable and horrible with money. We were always struggling and living on the edge and she made this known daily. When I was very young I worked in a convalescent home tending to my own patients to help pay the mortgage. I was 15 years old and had up to ten patients a day. It was the first time my back had issues to the point that I couldn’t rise from the floor for hours one night. I have always worked very hard from a very young age and I have been tending to a mentally and physically sick parent with no help or support most of my life.
I’m fortunate to have a healthy husband who works hard and provides. But I still have this mentality that life is unsafe, unstable, and unpredictable. I fear struggle and hardship.
So, when I read Connie Hultquist and Mrs. Sharon White, I learn to relax, move about my chores slowly, to know that just keeping a home, making one hot meal a day, and raising good boys is more than enough. If I want to write or do vlogs on my Channel, it should be with creative joy and not to survive financially.
In the meantime, I can be smart with money, stock up my pantries, keep cost low, and be frugal, but know that we are way ahead in the game. I share my lifestyle with everyone because I want others to know the peace that can be found in living a simple and humble life, but we don’t have full control no matter how we prepare. And that is were letting go and having deep faith come in.
As for our life, it has always been unpredictable and will continue for however long to be such, but I’m less affected because…I simply could care less anymore and focus on abundance, and the gifts of the Universe for the remainder of my life.