Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reader question answered…

Hello everyone. Hope you are well and blessed.

I get a lot of questions in email and try to answer them right away. This was a question I received a few days ago and I felt it more important to answer here because I think about this actual analogy a lot in my personal dealings. I hope you do not mind me sharing it here, and I guess you don't if you are still reading J

Here are portions of the email from a friendly reader:

BORDERLINE CITY, HELP ME! Was the title of the email…

"Hi Angie, ... You seem like that you live my fairy tale dream. I am slowly moving towards a much simpler life… Something is really pushing me towards simplistic ways. I have become more spiritual in the past year and my heart is really pounding to live simpler and non materialistic and I want to go off the grid, but this will take some time. We cut the cable plug 9 years ago so we are not as tied to the TV as we once were and I have lost my dishwasher and started enjoying doing the dishes by hand and no the Bulk buying for grains and such is starting and I have began to Can again and well where to go from here is the question. How can I turn my home into the dream that I want? Douse the lights and use Oil lanterns, clothes line drying? What would you suggest? My sisters think that I am going crazy, lol but I have started crocheting and well I have began my window quilts for the winter we are just getting started.

Thanks for all of the info that you provide for us!!!

Be Blessed!"

Ok, I have so much to say and I am not the greatest writer to put my thoughts into words, but here goes:

Dear Reader,

Do not feel that you must move to turn your home into the dream you want! NO WAY! I would say that you should make the home you have your dream and be content there. If you can do this, you have ultimately become the simplistic being you want to be, just by staying where you are. We all have things we are not content about in our lives. In my life I am not content with myself at times where I feel I am not doing what I always should, but instead of reinventing me , I should work on resolving these issues within me… Get it? It would most likely be more complicated to up and move than to make your home your haven of simplicity, even if near the city. Just because you cannot be 100% off-grid or live in the country does not mean you have failed at being simple. Becoming who you want to be is a life long journey and that's what makes life, life (I call it an adventure J)

I read somewhere or someone once told me you will always find someone "better than you" or someone who can do what you are doing better… For example, Instead of eating the white bread we all grew up on, one of us decides to break the mold and start buying whole wheat bread at the grocery store. We feel so proud of this accomplishment because we are feeding our family more healthy than how we grew up. Then we meet a woman who buys organic whole wheat bread from a posh health food market, and she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread in her bread maker everyday! Then she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread but kneads it by hand everyday rather than using a bread maker…. But she meets a woman who grinds her own organic wheat berries each day and bakes her own organic whole wheat bread and then she meets a woman who GROWS her own whole wheat to bake her own bread but this lady even meets a woman who grows her own whole wheat but hers is actually organic! YIKES! I could keep going on and on couldn't I…?

  • What do these women all have in common? They all want to eat healthy and they are trying the best they know how to do it! So, in reality, aren't they all great examples in breaking out of the mold of eating white bread, even though some take this further than the others? I personally think so!

So dear reader, even though you live near the city doesn't mean that you cannot pursue a simpler lifestyle at all. Be radical where you are, I say. Use some oil lanterns, make cloth napkins for your family to cut down on waste (for financial reasons as well as recycling), bake your own bread, even if that means you pick up a used bread maker at a thrift store, compost your leftovers for your raised garden beds in your yard, even if you only have 5 beds next to the sidewalk, cut down on your spending in all areas, buy used before new anytime as you look at your organized list you carry in your purse that you keep a constant tab of what you need when you are out, recycle your magazines, cans and newspapers for free (not for the earth's sake but to cut down on your trash bill!), buy in bulk if you can but don't beat yourself up if a few weeks you can't, make your own cleaning products (I love this book), stop buying tons of self help books and just open the Proverbs in your Bible, hang your clothes on the line but don't feel bad you use your wash machine to wash them, make your own laundry detergent, can veggies but if you can't grow them, no worries, shop your local farmer's market in the summer months… Ok, it goes on and on!

I do have to say this, in my personal opinion (oh, this can be so stinky at times) the best way to live the most simplistic life is to be REALLY ORGANIZED! I am working on this CONSTANLTY, and it will be a goal (or should I say struggle) of mine until the day I meet the Lord! I know when I am at the top of my game organizational wise, my life is so much simpler, no matter where I have lived (on a busy street or my 40 acre farm)… If I follow a schedule it is so freeing to me. When I follow a schedule, for some reason I save more money, I have a very tidy home, I am less stressed, I can enjoy my family, I appreciate the silence, food goes farther, I get more done, the home is most peaceful and I am well rested. Isn't this what the simple life really should be all about?

Basically, bloom where you are planted, become organized, enjoy your daily journey with the Lord's leading and you could actually live more simplistic than an organic farmer who lives on a 100 acre off-grid farm in Oregon! Seriously…

And now some confessions here… A list of what I am working on to make my life much simpler…

#1. Keep a grocery budget!
#2. Stop eating out! Ok, I can't give up the date night with the gentle giant but we do eat out on occasion (Sunday is nice after church J)
#3. Mt Vernonize this new home (this is an organizational tactic I use and can share more later)
#4. Stick to my ever evolving schedule so I can have those things happen more in my home that I underlined above…
#5. Listening to the silence… And when I do, I can hear God's still small voice ever so LOUDLY!
#6. Spending more time in God's Word and more time in PRAYER to Him, my best friend!

Ps. I don't like the woman who grows her own organic whole wheat…


Farmgirl Cyn said...

Ang...I think you did a fine job explaining yourself. Do not despise the small beginnings. I can remember hanging my clothes out on the line, and the neighbors thought my dryer had broke. I remember my first days in a food co-op where I came in contact with grains and beans I had never even heard of. All I knew was Campbells baked beans growing up!!! I remember my 1st loaf of whole wheat bread...Farmboy called it "lead bread"!!! Start small, and do as the Lord leads. Amen

Kim said...

Amen!!! Well said.

Start with little changes. One thing after the other until you are doing many things that will lead to a simple life.

I started with only one cheap shampoo and one Castile bar soap. Then I made my own laundry soap. Then I hung line in the basement and outside to hang clothes. I made menues and cooked from scratch. Then I found Amish stores and bulk food stores. We repurposed many things for new uses like quilts and rugs. Then we put in an old woodstove. Then I bought an old sheet and made cloth napkins. Then all one summer I picked up candles and oil lamps at garage sales. Then we bought a wheat grinder and mixer. Then I stated buying bulk foods.I started going to the health food store to learn about alternative medicine for sickness. I then put out a garden with only tomatoes and green beans. Boy! did we have a lot!!! I then added more food. Then I bought a hair clipper and started cutting all of our hair. We got chickens and fruit trees. We would shop at auctions for needed items. We learned of homeschooling during this time. And on it goes. That was 16 years ago. I'm still looking for ways to simplify and stretch what I've been given.

God is Faithful to lead you. Trust in Him.

angela said...

I recently came across your blog and I have enjoyed reading about your adventure off grid. Thanks for answering that question, it was very informative and encouraging. OH, and love that new wash machine!

Dawn said...

Good post!

More than Survival said...

Fantastic post!! "Bloom where you are planted"! Make the most of WHERE YOU ARE!!! Makes small simple steps to create a simpler life, BE ORGANIZED!!!!!! Thank you, for such a great post! ENCOURAGING!

Anonymous said...

Great answer...
For the last 15 years our family has been living off the grid, and we remember our humble beginnings, our family thought we were crazy, they still do for the most part. They choose not to understand, it is THEIR problem , not ours.
We all grow, just as your reader is, and bless them for it.
The process is never ending if we are to live a great life, persistence...
Our neighbors for years called us' those people who live down that road without hydro', but one by one they have visited, and learned, and now there are 12 wind generators and 18 solar panel installations within a 5 mile radius of us,all because we took the time to explain how to do it, and ease people's fears of the unknown.

And that is all that it really is, fear, fear of what we don't know or understand.

If your readers would like to discuss practical ways they can make the progression to living off the grid they can contact us at
Living Off The Grid

We answer all of our email promptly and personally.

All the best,
Les and Jane

Sherry in MI said...

Very well said - and you of all people shouldn't be saying that you have a hard time putting your thoughts into words. We love your writing!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a really good post-and you are so right about blooming where you are planted.
For a few years, I lost sight of that and was so miserably discontented. But I've found my focus again and although the time is not right for us to be anywhere else but here, I have found that just returning to our dream and living a simple and real life, we are all much happier.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Such a beautifully inspiring post. Thank you for the encouragement.

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