Saturday, July 25, 2009
We live in a very rural area. We have our own well, which is run by electricity. We have to be very careful about our water usage. However, it is not always easy with older teens who tend to be wasteful. The last couple of days, we have been struggling with plumbing problems. I cannot do any laundry.... When I wash dishes, I have to plug up the sink and use a dishpan. Then I have to haul the water outside and dump it in the yard. My kitchen is on the second floor of our old, colonial house. I have to walk down a flight of 15 stairs to get outside. This is just a small taste of what our ancestor mothers had to go through to run a home.
This morning we lost electricity. It was off for quite some time. I talked to the electric company and learned that our entire area (several towns) were without power. So what did I do? I prayed.... Then I put on my apron and got to work in my kitchen. I tidied things up. What else could I do?
This all reminds me of what happened to us a couple of years ago. We had no income for a few months. I mean nothing.... My husband and I went hungry. The children lived on a simple, inexpensive diet. We used up all of our savings to survive. ... survive... I remember reading this Christian magazine, and one of the articles was about this mother who went out shopping, trying to pick out a birthday present for her nephew. In my frame of mind at the time, I could not understand how anyone could have extra money for presents. How? I was baffled. We had nothing but our old house, our family and little else. The basics of life take on a new meaning. . . We are told in Scripture that we are to be content with food and raiment. It also says that we brought nothing into this world and we will bring nothing out. (I Timothy 6-8) This passage becomes very vivid when you have no wages.... no extras... and are living on an extreme standard of living. The tears come when you have children who count on you to provide for them. It is at these moments we weep in private, but put on a happy face in front of the family. You have to make their childhood innocent, free of care, and whatever else you can to keep them happy. Depression, in this society, is far too rampant. We do not want it to start in the minds of young children! So, we must be inventive. It is like the Old Yankee Spirit, here in New England. It is the spirit of the Great Depression Era Mothers who are an inspiration to us all.
Here are some of the things we have done when there wasn't enough money to go around:
1. My son had his 16th birthday. We gave him a book (a book!) and a CD. That was it. Granted, they were items he dearly wanted, but they cost only a few dollars. I felt so bad. I asked him how he felt about it. He told me he would have been angry if I had given him more than that. He is such a mature, young man and wise beyond his years. He said he is not a little child anymore and would rather we paid our bills and bought food than spent money we didn't have, just to buy him a bunch of things.
2. I didn't buy any school books. We re-used what we already had and made it last. * We also used books from the library. In the middle of the school year (during tax time) we bought the curriculum we needed. But we bought far less than normal. The children still learn.
3. Birthday cake is a box mix purchased on sale. Amy (14) has learned to make decorations out of scrap paper, crayons and a little tape. Without her skills, holidays and celebrations around here would be bland and sad.
4. Presents - were either something we made, or something special we already owned. I remember my Nicole (18 at the time) giving me this old, black and white movie that she treasured. It was something she already owned. I was so happy with it. She has also given the children her favorite books or jewelry out of her own possessions and delighted them.
5. We did not have a cell phone... no cable bill... no internet bill...no extras. You can live without these things. We had no car payment... no credit card bills.. no frills. It is a simple life..
Oh, I have to say, if I went back to live my married years all over again, I would never have wasted all the money I did... I would have carefully, frugally and prudently saved and scrimped and I would have been inventive. I would have made our days happy and cheerful without the use of money. Can you just imagine the resources I would have today, If only I had been more careful? Yet, I am still young. There is still time to be prudent. I will take all that I've learned and do my best to pass it on to my children. I will continue to make a way to live very simply so that money is used for what it was meant for... survival, helping others, and the simple basics of life.
No Income? Time to pray.. Time to trust your Heavenly Father... It is not something to worry about. God is just saying... "My child... it is time for you to awaken from your sleep and change the way you live... I will guide you... I will be with you.."
What more comfort do we need than that?
* Re-using schoolbooks - These were hardcopy books or textbooks for reading only. We had to take care of the binding so the books would last for a long time. (Such as the McGuffey Readers).
My House - An Elegant Home Despite Poverty.
Encouragement - How The Old Time Mothers Survived Poverty.
Index of Featured Articles - Thrift - Home Economy (Stories and Inspiration)
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.