Ways to save money with a fixer upper.

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We bought a 1941 fixer upper in April of this year.  It had been abandoned for years except for the squatters that took up residence and rotated groups of them out for God knows how long.

The home has great bones, as they say (I picked up a lot of housing lingo on this journey), and what it needed most was a scrub down and paint.  I like to use green cleaners but I turned to bleach cleaners for this project being that I can only imagine what had occurred in our home and didn’t want us getting a case of staph or whatever you get from intense filth.

Industrial strength cleaners, paint, paint, and more paint, lots of mowing, pruning, planting, and some fences and that was it.  There was a little plumbing and electrical and we did hire a carpenter for a while but then he left for a family emergency in Mexico and my husband learned to do a lot of things fast.

Now we are settled in and not wanting to dip into the savings anymore.  We were very smart about the purchase and penny wise with the work on the place but now we are having to be super frugal.  As in work with what we have and no more trips to Home Depot.

But I still need soil for one of my raised beds.  I need a laundry line.  We had no light bulbs.  I have other desires too, like a hammock and things that don’t make the list of “priorities”.

And just like that PG & E called regarding a weatherization on our house.  Being that we are low income we qualify for something I talk about in my books all the time but never owned a house to do it.  PG & E’s Weatherization Program.  PG&E will come in and change out your lightbulbs, weather strip doors and windows, replace your microwave…or give you one if you don’t have one.  They will insulate your attic and caulk under sinks.  You can get support in replacing a frig too.  All you need is a pay stub and a bill that shows that you do reside there.  If you rent you need the landlord’s permission.  I love this program and we just had almost $300 dollars worth of LED lights installed for free!  And the lights aren’t that hideous fluorescent.  They actually give off a very warm and soft light.  We won’t qualify for insulation in the attic, however, because we have tube and knob wiring and it’s a fire hazard.  Not really, it’s some of the best wiring from the old days but companies don’t want to be liable.

I also found that you can go to the local landfill sites and get free compost and free mulch.  This can save a bundle.  There is a limit though and for our area, I was told 50 lbs and that ain’t much but it helps.  You can find free manure and soil on Craigslist, you just don’t always know how good the dirt is.

In some areas, the local gas or/and electric companies have free tree programs.  SMUD in Sacramento County will give you up to 10 trees for free!  We are in Sutter county with no such program.  Darn.

I’ve found free lumber and bricks on Craigslist.  There is another site FreeCycle where people give and trade all sorts of things.

As for the laundry line, as soon as I find where I packed that rope I will have one.

 

 

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Getting through the lonely times that come with change.

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Many of us have gone through big changes or are in the process of some sort of life change.  Be it getting sober, getting out of debt, getting healthy, moving, changing our lifestyle for the better, going back to college later in life, switching careers after years or decades in one field, divorce, marriage, a new baby, the baby going off to college…

For some changes in life, we have family, friends, and community to support us.  Some changes seem to bring more loneliness than we can take at times.

When I truly committed to making a huge lifestyle change and quit all my bad habits such as drinking, smoking pot far too frequently, and cigarettes (mother had lung cancer and emphysema) I seemed to lose a whole group of friends and acquaintances.  Some I chose to move on from and some decided that I was no longer that fun.  I now understand that God was working in my life and was clearing out the weeds so He could sow a good and fine garden for my future.  However, I spent many weekends and moons alone with my tea cup and sadness.  I thought I would go mad on several occasions but I found AA and went to meetings, made friends, had a sponsor to call when I was pulling out my hair, and I began to really throw myself into it.  I attended every sober party, potluck, holiday, and meeting the group could conjure up.  I also took my dog on daily long walks along the beach and continued to explore my relationship with God.  I took to writing a couple books back then with no idea that I would publish one of them.  I just really enjoyed it and it gave me something to do during the lonely and dark hours.

Time passed and I got used to living life without habits of those sorts.  I got used to some lonely time and I began to enjoy life for all the small pleasures:  a job I enjoyed and had friends as coworkers, the time at the beach with Clyde, my hound mix, coffee in the mornings, a good Jane Austen movie, reading, writing, and dating (not always enjoyable).  I realized that my habits had helped me endure my pain and the lonely times.  If I got stoned I could care less about spending a Friday night by myself.  Now that I was sober I cared and I was also socially awkward as I had spent much of my life alone or with stoner friends.

When we first make a huge change like getting sober or healthy, we often must let go of a lot of our old life.  In AA they say, “All you have to change is everything.”  Everyone would laugh at that because we knew it was painfully true.  You can’t succeed and remain in the same life that got you where you are.  You can’t find a solution with the same old thinking that got you into the problem.

You must go to different hangouts, find new friends that are like minded and doing what you are now trying to do or accomplish.  You have to replace old habits and patterns with new ones.

And then the lonelies come.  The long nights with no one to call, the weekends watching movies on Netflix by yourself.  Oh, it is sad, sad, sad.  You cry and feel sorry for yourself.  Ah, but it is the beginning of a new life, a new way.  Don’t worry, this story will end well with a big, fat happy ending.

I was hard for me to give up my habits.  The wine and pot had made many a lonely weekend bearable.  It also made me fat and sick and miserable.  I never moved forward and I was always depressed.  I was worried about my health and I wanted things that I knew I couldn’t get with this weekend ritual.  You reap what you sow and with drinking, drug use and smoking cigarettes that would be not much except some major health issues, depression, and a life not fully lived.

Sure enough, after a year of sobriety I was involved in a theater group, I wrote two books, one I have published, and I adopted a puppy (or rather was given one at the local laundromat).  Two years later I had a wonderful life on the coast with new friends, a good job, community, then I was married, then I was pregnant with my first son.  I had all that I had dreamed of but it only came once I got healthy and sane.  And after a year of being very alone and doing a lot of healing and crying…a lot of crying.

Today I have two rescue dogs, a cat that moved herself in after being dumped on the river road, two amazing sons, a really good husband, a solid marriage, our first home and a new community.  But even these changes have had times of loneliness.

When we had to move for work and lived in a pear orchard on the river I had a little one and was pregnant.  I had no friends nearby except an old high school friend I reunited with after 30 years.  I had no community and one family member 40 minutes away.  My husband worked 60 to 70 hours a week with one day off.  I had some time on my hands.  But I used the time to educate myself on all sorts of things, to learn the frugal life since we had a very small income to work with, making everything from scratch from laundry detergent to bread and I became addicted to Amish fiction.   That alone time paid off because when we moved to the city I took up writing and self-publishing.  I wrote about all I had learned on the farm during those isolated two years of learning a new way of life out of necessity.

The city was almost more lonely than that farm on the river.  I attempted to create community but it just didn’t happen.  That was for the best in the end also.  I had time to do the writing of books and blogging.  I was also driven to find us another small town where we could grow in a community.

Alone time can be hard, sad, frustrating, even downright depressing, however, it always is a period of great growth and learning if you let it be.  It is that gestation period where we are cocooned away to blossom into a butterfly.  This time is so valuable to learn what we want, who we want to be, how we want our life.  And for the great healing that must take place before we can manifest anything new and bright.

Friends and family may magically disappear upon your new changes and choices for a new lifestyle.  Let them go.  Ne people will show up to take their place and these people will be your true tribe.  These people will love you just as you are and be on the same path working toward the same goals.  Jobs may go.  The right job for you will appear.  Lovers may leave.  Let him or her go.  The good one is right around the corner.  You may not be able to go to the local pub anymore and you may not be invited to parties now.  That is the best thing that could happen to you.  Find a Church or Center.  Get true friends and a joyous and solid life.

Man’s rejection is God’s protection.  I heard this decades ago and it is so true.  God will lead you down the right road, he will bring new people, new jobs, new matches, and he will provide all that is good and right.  He will take care of you if you call out to Him and then have blind faith.  And sometimes it will take a lot of blind faith as your world seems to be falling apart.  But it’s not falling apart, it’s being destroyed so a new and victorious one can be built.

 

 

Why it’s more important than ever to become sustainable and green.

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With Donald pulling out of our Global Climate Change deal and pushing the coal as a way to start up our economy, I was feeling my old fears creeping back into the late night hours when one lays in bed trying to slumber peacefully before another long shift of homemaking and child rearing.  I started to think the old defeatist thoughts of doom and gloom.

Then I received a letter from Al Gore.  Not personally, of course, but it was a chain letter on email to all us grassroots environmentalist.  He was talking about how, despite Trump’s backward efforts, we would keep going forward.  He spoke of a sustainable and green movement that has gained so much momentum over the years that it is unstoppable and all the corporations and groups, big and small, that are on board to make changes for this environment.  He talked of all the incredible achievements we have already made such as towns that are almost 100% clean energy and how we are reducing pollution daily with all our efforts.  This sustainable movement has gained such huge momentum that we can maybe sleep some at night.

It seems that Trump has come to this game and is playing the role in this drama as the bad guy to wake us all up.  He is serving a great purpose in doing that.  He plays the villain and we all come alive and begin to fight the good fight spurned on by our feelings of revulsion for this very bad king.  And we have…awakened that. There are more groups and movements than ever before and I truly believe that even with the US now out of the Paris agreement and reopening coal mines, we will convert to clean energy and morph into a green country faster than you can blink.  Why?  Because so many feel motivated to do the opposite of what these old, white politicians are doing.  They are from the olden days, a time that has passed, this is a new age.  Coal, humph, that is so old school.  Coal stopped working ages ago.  Whole cities are starting to go all natural 100%.

Even on a small scale, I see us humans changing.  I see more people biking and walking than ever.  Organics have grown some 30 billion dollars (I may or may not be exaggerating)  and even corporate farms are testing out organics and biodiverse farming.  Forest and Amazons are being protected and replanted because farmers have seen what happens with over farming and deforestation.  The soil turns to sand and will no longer serve you.  The Great Mother will not take care of us if we abuse her.

People are becoming aware every day.  They are watching what they eat, concerned about the environment, paying attention to where their money goes, installing solar, working closer to home so they can bus or bike, spending more on non-GMO popcorn, reading labels, reading reports.

I recently moved to a farming community.  I live in town and have my own small bit of land.  For me, it is a wonderful opportunity to really practice all my sustainable and green tricks.  I started my homemade compost behind the detached garage and went to work planting fruit trees, a strawberry patch and two really big raised garden beds.  As soon as I find my rope I will hang my clothes line.  We also walk to whatever we can which is almost everything.  I will be shopping at Farmers Markets and I buy pretty much all organics and free range.

Even Grocery Outlet has tons of organics, nonantibiotic meat, and free range eggs now.  Lowes and Home Depot had so many organic compost and soils I had trouble choosing.  Change is here.  People want to change, they want to be connected to nature and eat clean.  People want to feel the soil in their hands and get back to the land even if just a bit such as more trees in their city.

I recycle, reuse, compost, donate to causes that are actually teaching people how to fish not just giving them handouts.  I am careful about where I spend my money and I try to stay local, local, local.

A green and frugal life is far easier than some might think.  It’s also fun, inspiring, and creates such peace of mind and freedom in life that once you really get into it and live it for a time you will not be able to go back to anything less.

A frugal lifestyle means choosing libraries and movies in the park over Barns and Noble and the Cinema 6 (although I love the movie theater and try to get a movie night once a month).  It means creating a compost in your backyard instead of throwing away food scraps from the salad you made that night.  Frugal means spending more time at home and learning to love it and getting all sorts of free or inexpensive projects going.  It means hanging your clothes on a rope outside instead of running the dryer all day.  Then there is the next step of baking your own bread and gardening, planting your own herbs and fruit trees, and cooking from scratch.  These are easy things to do and they save money, are good to the environment, create more of a homey feel, the family enjoys it and benefits because some of these actions mean healthier foods and more family time.

Living sustainably and being thrifty creates more peace of mind in two ways: one is that you get out of debt and don’t have that burden, and the other is that you learn to slow down and be present because you aren’t running here and there shopping and spending money, using car gas and making pollution.

Times are changing, some for the good of all humanity, Earth and all the creatures.  Some changes aren’t good for anyone or thing.  We must be strong, smart and wise in our choices and how we create our worlds right in our backyards.  It’s time to become aware of our effects on the whole world.  We can do it right at home, we can make huge impacts and influence thousands by our actions.

Walk to work, bring your own tin water bottle and cloth shopping bag.  Grow a garden, hang a clothesline, get chickens, donate to great causes, sign petitions to save jungles and Gorillas, plant trees.  Care and love and show it.  Get out of debt, reduce your footprint, your waste.  Let’s go back to how our great grandmothers lived.  They were sparing and shrewd.  They wasted nothing and they had fruit bearing trees and gardens in their yards, not pools (although pools are great).  They saved and reused everything!  And back then there was half the population.  Now we’ve doubled and the waste is ridiculous.  But that is changing.  Be a part of that.  Make it into a game, have fun with it.

I have very motivating and fun books out on Amazon to teach frugality and sustainability.  My books are all .99 cents so everyone can afford them.  The most enjoyed and popular right now is my new book The Homemade Housewife.

 

Settling into a new town and growing roots.

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I am sitting in my very own backyard under a gazebo sipping my morning brew and listening to my children playing in the open garage that is more like a detached shed.  They have found a bag with a Christmas train and are trying to assemble it.  I only pray that they don’t figure out how to get the batteries in properly.  The train is charming and holidayish and has a train sound like a bullhorn that I silenced last Christmas.

I’m looking about at all the shade and fruit trees we planted the other night, at my garden beds I put together the next morning, the strawberry patch I created immediately for the boys so they wouldn’t miss their old one.  It’s a fairly quiet neighborhood filled with the sounds of birds.  It’s a small town, however, I hear more sirens daily than I can remember ever hearing in the city.  My husband said he feels like we live in Oakland.  I believe it’s because we have the fire department a few blocks down and around the corner.  Every situation requires the department to show up, therefore, the sirens are all day along with all the dogs that howl right along with them.  The funny thing is that I don’t hear one siren at night when crime rates are highest.  I’m hoping the daytime activity is just a kitchen fire here and a fainting spell there.

I have recently moved, for those of you who don’t read my blog, to a small agricultural town by the name of Yuba City.  We have the largest Punjabi population in the US?  I’m not completely sure but so I’ve heard.  This is great since my husband is a Punjab himself.  These people are peaceful and kind for the most part and I feel happy and safe nestled in with them.  They ride their bikes with their brightly colored turbans and the woman walk down the streets in their gorgeous traditional dress.

Parts of this town are charming and parts are ugly.  Mostly the parts that were built up in the 80’s.  I remember thinking that I would never, ever want to move here.  Then a few months ago I felt a pull to move here so strong that it drove me to find this house.  It’s fortunate that I had a change of heart because this is almost the last place that is affordable in the Sutter-Sacramento area.  Housing prices have skyrocketed everywhere due to all the city folk making a rush for these homes that cost a quarter of what a home would cost in the city and are 4 times the size.

When I woke up one day and decided it was time to purchase our own home, we only qualified for $130,000 loan.  In this area…or any area these days unless you move out of state, that is chump change and will get you a trailer in an abandoned lot.  This is almost not an exaggeration.

I searched far and wide, I went to the smallest and ugliest towns, looked at houses so run down and stinky that my nose burned with the smells on into the night.  I looked in bad neighborhoods, trailer homes, modular homes in trailer home parks.  No luck.  We were priced out of even the worst situations.  When we did find something that was palatable and made an offer that took every cent from our savings account, a competitor would out bid us by mere dollars.

But this is how God works His magic.  He lets us wander the desert for a while and then he shows us paradise.  However, sometimes paradise can look a bit shabby and so you have to trust Him when He says, “Yes, right here.  That’s right.”

I was literally pushed into a corner.  We had decided to move to Yuba City where my husband runs a gas station.  We had been outbid a couple times and I had just put an offer on a hideous house that I can still smell to this moment.  The next day I went out scouting and there was really only one house left that we could afford.  I had passed it up online several times over and over.  The house was a 1941 charmer that needed work.  It was the yard I didn’t like.  It was small and half cement.  But I was desperate and had no more choices so I ask to see it and upon entering the home and seeing all the built in cabinets, the old world charm trying so hard to express itself through the grime and stained carpet, I said to my realtor, “let’s just put a bid on it and see what happens.”  My idea was that if I put offers on several houses I just may win at one and stop the constant disappointment that I was feeling since starting this journey.  It was a HUD house and bidding would start the minute we made an offer.  By midnight there would be a lucky gambler.

The next morning I got a call.  No one had bid that night and we won ourselves a house!!  The price was $135,000.  A miracle.

Long story short is that we are now settled in.  The house turned out to have good bones and just needed a little plumbing, electrical, and a lot of scrubbing and painting.  There were beautiful wood floors under the stained carpet and the sprinkler system worked great.  We fenced in the whole back yard and the garage that is an old style garage separate from the house in the back.  We have little tiny forest everywhere and now that it’s all fenced in we have a lot of land.  We still have the square of cement but I have covered it with huge garden beds and created a charming patio on the other half complete with an old gazebo.  We have planted all sorts of fruit trees such as plum, avocado, apples, lemon, orange, mandarin, pomegranate, along with a shade tree that will grow huge in our front yard.

We have kept all the old charm, painted each room a different color, the outside a rather shocking blue (by accident, just don’t know what you’ll get with those paint swatches), put a real wood white picket fence around the front yard, and my neighbor, Penny, has given me a bundle of colorful geraniums that I have lined the fences with.  We have also planted a rose bush for each member of the family.  And I have only gotten started.

The house had been occupied by squatters for so long and abused, neglected and made filthy and sad.  It is now bright, clean, and colorful.  It is filled with life and love and will be a project for years to come.  It needed us as much as we needed it.  My husband has found a new pride in working with his hands to renovate this old home. He has learned to build gates, paint interiors, and repair floors and tile.  He works late into the night and I know that he is loving it.  I work outside all day for hours on end planting, digging, weeding, and creating front and back yards from weeds to an overgrown paradise.  The boys haven’t watched cartoons in weeks, but at night when they are too tired to do much else.  They live in the backyard climbing trees and digging in the dirt.  Maggie, my cat, sleeps outside even in hot days.  She has a spot now under my wicker stand under a pot of red geraniums or the purple tree-like bush in the front yard.  The dogs are in heaven and are much calmer and also live outside where they sniff the neighbor dogs through wooden fences and chase squirrels.

The neighbors have come to thank us from all sides.  They feel safe now that a normal family resides instead of the dealers and prostitutes that were running this little patch of ground.

As for the town, I’ve found a lot of delight in some small surprises.  I love the farms and rivers of course.  And all the parks are really nicely done.  I have found that the local Grocery Outlet is loaded with all sorts of organics, non-GMO’s, free range eggs and antibiotic free chicken.  It turns out the wife and owner has become a Crossfit fanatic and changed the families lifestyle along with what she stocks her store with.  Lucky for us!

I’ve found dynamic and authentic tacos for .75 cents right there at a taco shack outside Home Depot.  Real tacos with the cilantro and onions and seasoned steak on corn tortillas.  Yummy!

I have found a fantastic new Chiropractor that cost less than my last one after my back went out and I rolled around the driveway for a bit the other morning.  Fortunately, I was in the backyard so the neighbors didn’t see.  Unfortunately, we were doing FaceTime with our family in India so they had the fun of seeing me rolling myself into the shade so I wouldn’t bake in the sun like a snake while I tried to plan out how I would stand erect again.

We have old parts of town that are really quaint and Victorian.  Yes, maybe a bit run down but that only adds to the old world charm.

I’ve found a charter school to homeschool through and I’ve joined a homeschool group.  I met with some of the families already at a park day already.  I met some women I really like and have church plans with the grandmother of Arjan’s new friend already.  And Arjan has two new friends!  Sammy made an impression when he tried to strip down at the water fun play area.  I finally convinced him to keep on his diaper for a bit, however, later he decided to take it all off and I had to chase him across the park with him naked and his diaper riding one ankle.  I could hear a teenager yell, “there’s a naked kid in the park!!”  My other son then decided to pee behind a tree without really hiding his parts properly and I only knew this when I saw some teenage girls pointing and gasping.  So, I was properly embarrassed for the day.  But I’ve had dogs and children for a while and my pride was gone loooonnng ago.

I will be starting a new church on Sunday with my new friend granny Joette.  We are already interacting with our neighbors and I’m feeling my tiny, wobbly roots digging in a little more courageously each day.

When you rent you feel that you can just pull up your tent poles, put out the camp fire and saddle up to ride out of town.  There is no need to push yourself to build community.  I once had a community on the coast.  I had a job and church.  I had all sorts of friends, went to potlucks, met with girlfriends for coffee, had play dates.  And then I moved to Sacramento and I had no one but many long days and nights with two little boys.  I took up educating myself on all sorts of topics and later I took up writing and was lonely no more.  But I still had no feeling of love and devotion to my huge and new city.

Over here I am already feeling that love that I felt for my small town on the coast.  I’m bonding with people quickly and the days are already filling up.  I even have a neighbor here on the corner of my street that I can visit just to take a break from my family.  We have already shared some history and bonded over the crazy neighbors across the street. I’ve been supplied with geranium starts and borrowed tongs from other neighbors.  Even my rebel neighbors only fascinate me now.

We own this house.  When I cook on the stove I say, “I own you stove.”  We can plant whatever we want, I can paint the rooms any color I choose, we can take in a friend in need, I can even take in another dog or cat in need…and I don’t have to ask for permission (except the husband, of course).  I never have to worry about rents going up or the landlord deciding to sell the house.   Hopefully, I won’t have to pack and move for a long, long time.  Maybe never.  I can’t say that but I can say that it will be our choice.

Did I freak out or worry when moving in?  Oh yes.  I woke up the first morning after a mockingbird kept me up all night, and I felt serious concern that we had made a big mistake and we were now trapped.  By the next day and a bit more sleep, I was in love.  My sons have had meltdowns but they already love this home.  With a couple new friends and a few seasons and holiday memories, we will be right as rain.

 

 

 

 

Bringing an old home back to life. And on a small budget.

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So, here is the unveiling of our wonderful little hidden gem.  We only had $130,000 for a loan to work with and I found this HUD house, made a bid and God was kind, no one else bid on it that night so in the morning we were proud parents of a poor, neglected and abused home.  It had been abandoned for years and housing squatters.  It had some funky energy and smells, to say the least.  But with some of our savings, lot’s of scrubbing, soap, paint, and planting of trees and gardens…it is back to a wonderful life housing a loud and fun family.

We purchased the house for $135,000, closing costs were $9,000 and all the work and supplies along with hiring Leo, our carpenter, was around $15,000 give or take.  Total $159,000.  We used savings that came from 6 years of frugal living and we still have some savings left.  Our mortgage with insurance, taxes and MIP (mortgage insurance you must pay if you didn’t put 20% down) all included is a fabulous $918.02!  It took us 6 weeks to do the work with Leo working daily and my husband working after his job each day and his one day off.

Here are the rest of the before and afters.

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The color is wild but it’s hard to see from those little swatches what you will really get.

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It still needs a little work here and there.  But this is the main chunk of the progress.  I look forward to seeing how this little house evolves over the years.

For those of you interested in getting out of debt and living a more frugal lifestyle for peace of mind and real freedom in life, check out my new book The Homemade Housewife.  I have every tip and advice that I have learned over the years from hundreds of other frugal hens and applied.  This frugal living was the only way we were able to purchase our first home because we live on one small income and have 4 humans and 3 furry family members to take care of.

So, if you want to get motivated get this book and have fun with the journey.  It cost less than a cup of gas station coffee.  I want everyone to have the joy and freedom I have found in living sustainably, frugally, and simply.

 

 

The simple and frugal life outlined for the beginner.

The Homemade Housewife: The last book you will ever need on homemaking and frugal living by [Singh, Kate]

I was having a chat with an old friend today.  They make great money and haven’t much to show for it.  They have high rent (who doesn’t nowadays), two car payments, lots of expenses going out each month.  They make double what my family makes a year and still do not own a house or investments.  Both parents work and they struggle.  Does this sound familiar?

The excuse is, “it’s too hard to save money.”  Maybe.  Sometimes it just takes a couple changes to start saving money.  The easiest way to save money is to wait for your tax refund, if you get one, and open a separate saving account and have it deposited into that account each year.  That can be a great way to save a lot of money each year without trying.

If you have some big goals, such as buying a home or starting a business, you may have to get more structured.  Or say you, as a couple or family, want to go down to one income.  Perhaps a spouse wants to go back to school or you just had a baby and mama or papa wants to stay home and be with the wee one instead of returning to the world of quotas and commuting.

What do you do?  There are hundreds of things you can do.  If you are broke now and need help then look through my recent and old post.  I share all kinds of great ideas.  I also have some great books out there for only .99 cents on ebook and a couple paperbacks like the ones I have posted on the top of this blog.

I am a top contestant when it comes to being frugal.  I don’t have a ton of original ideas, however, I have hundreds of ideas that I have gleaned from hundreds of wise homemakers and advice that have been passed down from great grandmothers that have lived through a different time altogether and know how to make a dollar stretch.

When you become a veteran of the frugal life you will find that there isn’t a lot of new ideas out there.  When I first started learning how to be thrifty I devoured every book, article, blog, and YouTube I could find on the subject.  I completely embraced this lifestyle and, although we make more money now, we still live this way.

Why?  Because this is a life of peace, freedom, deep sleeping at night, no stress, and making our dreams come true.  Like buying a house recently.  Which was also a very frugal find.  This is a great life, environmentally sustainable, and focused on family and fun.

I have now filled and packed my books with this info.

Get on amazon and find me:

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Singh/e/B018FNFDSM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

A journey toward Christianity.

cross-symbol-christian-faith-faith-161078

Lately, so many good things have occurred and I still debate if it was the chicken or the egg that came first.  I have been on a deep and wondrous quest to know God on all levels.  I have always loved Jesus but I have not known just who He really is.  I have been riding the fence for decades.  I have tried spirituality on so many levels.

I thought about going into Buddhism at one point in my life.  This was only because it seemed to be more accepted.  I knew my family had no issue with Buddhist.  I knew that the difference between claiming to be ‘Christian’ and ‘Buddhist’ can be people scooting their chairs closer to you or farther away.  Buddhism does not seem as controversial…at least in the circles I have gathered.  But that is not what faith is about right?  What is less controversial.

However, I never did get into Buddhism.  I had a book on my shelf for years and I’ve read one page.  And yet I have come back to the Bible again and again for at least 10 years.  I find that when I read it I feel this comfort in my heart…and it also upsets me, confuses me, confounds me…

For years I detested the Old Testament.  I didn’t know who wrote the Bible and I was taught that men wrote it to keep others down.  It was all prefabricated by the power hungry royalty to keep the peasants down and paying taxes.  That was my mother,s version.  I have watched all the History Channel Documentaries on how Christ supposedly survived the crucifixion and went on to live out his life in India, how the Gospels weren’t written by his disciples or even in the first century.  I have heard it all.  Then I had my own debates as to how the Native American Indians got here and why aren’t the dinosaurs mentioned.

I have been raised an atheist but I hungered for a spiritual life.  I was raised with a lot of pain and darkness, alcoholism, and abuse.  I yearned for a life with joy, peace, and light.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 

One morning I discovered Joyce Meyer.  She is described as a Christian speaker and author by Wikipedia.  She travels and speaks all over the world and can be found on TV 7 days a week.  She spoke to me at a time when I had no faith, a misconception of Christianity, and I was probably hung over that morning.  I don’t remember what she said but I was hooked and started watching her as often as possible.  That was the beginning.  One of the beginnings but I can’t recant them all.

I recall one morning in my studio apartment watching her and at the end of her sermon, she said a prayer.   “Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins.  Come into my heart and I will make you my lord and savior.  Amen!”

Now, it went against all my raising but because no one was there to witness me doing it, I said it out loud with Joyce.  I then went into the bathroom to take a shower.  As I stood in the stream of water I felt like my largest emotional burdens were being lifted from me.  I cannot describe it any other way.  I suddenly became aware that a supernatural energy of something unseen was now with me, that I was no longer alone, and my life was about to change.  I can almost still remember that feeling of relief, how the shower looked, the way it was light with the morning sun.

And change it did!  It was another jumble of messy and fumbling years.  Six or seven more years to be exact.  I continued to drink, get stoned every night, chain smoke every night.  I moved another God knows how many times, changed jobs, changed boyfriends.  I continued to run from my shadow.  But the change was happening.  One person after another was brought into my life to help me toward the next step.  One book, one song, one Spiritual Center, one class on the Laws of the Universe, a Bible from a friend’s mother, a day at a Cross Roads church, more Joyce, the discovery of Christian Contemporary music and the KLOVE station, another person, book, a movie or two.

I was smoking and drinking less, I was thinking about God more.

At one point I got sick and had to change my diet and drinking.   I walked into an AA meeting.  I had done this hundreds of times with a friend because I actually liked them.  Strange right?  But this time I got myself a woman sponsor.  I spent more time at the gym and less at home thinking about all the habits I missed.  I was taking all sorts of classes at the Center for Spiritual Living.

Then my mother was dying.  I know God prepared me for this journey.  I had about 36 weeks of spiritual classes under my belt.  I had learned how to do prayer treatments, to call on God, to meditate.  I was also sober at last.  I knew I was supposed to go and make amends.  I went up to her cottage in the woods and sat with her, cooked for her, talked to her, cleaned for her, fed her one-eyed horse, tended to all her animals and bills, and made sure she was able to peacefully pass on in her home, her bed, and with her animals as she had wished.  I didn’t ask her to apologize, we didn’t even talk about the past.  But God showed his grace something mighty then.  I was able to be kind and patient.  I was able to create a space for my mother to feel safe as she was dying.  It took two weeks and toward the end, she was in another realm so to speak.  She would shake her fist at the ceiling and move her lips in a debate.  She always had a one-sided war going with God.  She was also an attorney and I’d say she was in court up to the last day.

This was my personal enemy.  This woman had spoken unkind words over me my whole life.  She had nearly snuffed out my spirit.  It was only by God’s grace that I was able to sit with her and feel only compassion, to understand the importance of death.  The task is that of a reverse midwife as you help the person begin the birthing process into another world.  I was able to detach just enough to help her through this with out my own agenda.

I know without a doubt that I was called to go and be with her.  No one else but a couple scraggly people showed up now and then but she and I were alone.  I was given the peace and strength to do it and it was an incredible experience that I would do again strange as that may sound.  When it was over I knew exactly who I was.  I was not the nobody she had claimed.  I was a very capable woman with a capacity to forgive, endure, and be compassionate beyond belief.  I walked away healed.  That was Gods doing.

From that day on my life only got better, richer, happier.  I was blessed with beautiful places to live, surrounded by a new and wonderful community.  I chose to stay in Willits even though the only job available was McDonald’s.  I was blessed again with a great job at a Chiropractic office where the doctor got me involved with the local theater.  I then was called to move to Fort Bragg and, against all logic, I moved there.  I was blessed with a beautiful pink victorian house, then another great job, a husband, a son…

If I went into every story it would be clear that each moment was a gift from God.  Each story has meaning and is a testament to having faith and blindly following when called…and being taken care of.

Today I sit here doing what I love, I’m writing and sipping my coffee.  I have two loaves of bread baking in the oven and my cottage is filled with all kinds of human children and furry children.  God also sent me two dogs and a cat and those are stories in themselves.  I was blessed with two children when I didn’t expect to even have one child.  I have a husband that I also prayed for and who is incredibly solid and good.

Lately, I have committed to making a choice, to get off the fence out of respect to The Creator.  I had my doubts about the Bible and all things Christian.  I have gone into this exploration for decades being suspicious and argumentative.  I found The Case for Christ and ordered it at the library.  I received The Case for the Real Jesus to my surprise.  I was so convinced with his research by the end that I decided to order all the books from Lee Strobel.  By the time I was done with The Case for the Real Jesus I felt pretty confident about the Bible.  There is historic proof that most of it was written in the first century and two of the gospels are directly from James, Jesus’s brother, and Paul, a Roman intent on snuffing out Christians until he was confronted by the resurrected Jesus.  There is so much more and I will write about that another time.  The Case for Christ (just started today) seems to go in depth into the Bible and who wrote it and when.

Personally, since delving into my own research to deepen my understanding and grow my relationship with God and Jesus, I cannot begin to write about all the ways I feel surrounded, guided, and loved through this process, by unseen forces.

I don’t believe in luck or coincidence.  I believe that we manifest with Gods grace and generosity.  I believe that God gifts and blesses us.  We don’t get everything we want, we get what is good for us in the long run.  We also don’t get things for being positive about it.  We earn our lives, our gifts.  We have to work for everything and we have to respect that God has his plan for us.

My life is so good and happy, so filled with sanity and light today.  I have been transformed and I continue to be healed and transform daily.

I now love reading the Bible in the mornings. I don’t get all of it and the New Testament is definitely a gentler section to digest.  I do believe that science and spirituality or religion can mix, that it should mix.  They actually go hand in hand.

It is evident that the world is billions of years old and there were dinosaurs…and not at the same time as humans.  There are Christians that try to fit the dinosaurs into the bible and I still feel that is ridiculous.  The Bible was written for us to understand Him, to grow in a relationship with Him and to find the Truth, the Light, the Life so that we might enjoy our lives and live fully.  It is not there to tell all the stories of the world and Gods work.  It is only and specifically for us as his children.

For any of you still questioning your faith or with one foot in atheism and one foot in religion and wondering what it is all about, I strongly suggest getting all Lee Strobel books.  And then look into your own heart and ask yourself what feels true for you.

BOOKS FOR THOUGHT

All Lee Strobel’s books (he gives a ton of other books and places to research after each chapter so you will have many paths to go down for your own exploration).

The Case for Christ, The Case for the Real Jesus, The Case for the Creator, The Case for Faith.

The Everyday Life Bible with Joyce Meyers (or any Bible you feel good with)

Online Research 

http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/age_of_the_earth.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/questions-about-Genesis.html

https://answersingenesis.org/

I haven’t finished The Case for Christ, just got it last night. I have yet to delve into The Case for Faith.  As for the online referrals, I have not had time to explore them thoroughly but other Christians seem to like the last two.   I like the godandscience.org because it talks about the age of the earth, dinosaurs and how the Bible is only for us and our relationship with God and wasn’t meant to cover it all.

My advice is to enjoy this journey.  I have become very emotional these days and I love it!