Sunday, January 5, 2014

Surviving Financially

Immigrant Tenements in Donovan Lane near Five-Points, New York City, 1870s

Many of us are struggling financially. The culture around us is debt-ridden and debt - dependent. This brings about an illusion of suffering. What do I mean by that? Well, if we live in America, "wealth" (compared to third world countries), our standard of living, our standard of "need" becomes distorted.   We think that if we don't have a new vehicle, we are poor.  We think that if we don't have a nice house to live in, we are poor.  We think that if we don't have enough money to go on vacation, or that we don't have enough gas money to go out for a drive, we are poor.  We think that if we can't buy junk food today, we are poor.  This has taken away a great deal of our courage in financial survival.

We have become weak, and pampered, when it comes to standard of living.

Last summer, I wrote about how my car died.  I have not driven at all since then. It has now been 6 months.  I have been mostly home-bound, other than an occasional ride I get to the market.   Shortly after this happened, my husband's van needed repairs that we couldn't afford. So he started "Yankee - style" repairs on his old Cadillac and got it to barely run.   It has failed him repeatedly in the last few months and is on the verge of dying.  He is now getting rides to and from work from co-workers.  We have old cars.  We obviously need a new one.  We have no debt, and little savings, so we must save and scrimp until we have the money for one.  We have suffered for the last 6 months, but we know that we are going to be okay.

It used to be that people had to walk many miles each day.  They had to work much harder to grow, gather and preserve food.  Today, we have buses and cars and large supermarkets. We don't have to make clothes for our entire family, we can buy them inexpensively.  There is less worry and less work.  We have it much easier.   Yet, when hard times come, when it takes more effort to pay the heating bill, or make food from scratch because we cannot afford the high costs, we have to bravely face each day and know that we are going to be okay.  We need a good outlook and a good attitude.  We need cheerful courage.

This is the Pioneer Spirit. It is the Immigrant Spirit.  We work very hard, we take on the task at hand, live the lot we've been given to our very best, and we wait until the blessing comes.  We work on through the dark, dreary days, waiting for the Spring, or the Rainbow of reward.  Good things will come.  The fruit of our patience and hard work will happen if we don't give up.

In the meantime, we keep praying and making do.  God is with us. Praise Him in all things. We can do this!

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

Remembering my Childhood - When Television was Special.

The beauty of a formal morning table - Breakfast at Home.

Mother's work - The Pleasant Task of Cleaning.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 



Always Learning said...

So very beautiful! Godliness with contentment is GREAT gain.

Sue said...

Thought provoking post-I enjoyed it. We are considered "poor" by our neighborhood standards. We never eat out, we share one car (9 years old) and our idea of a good time is a long walk or a bike ride. It's all in how you perceive it. We don't owe anyone, we eat good, healthy homegrown food, we enjoy every day. But, because we don't have tv or a cell phone, we don't "dress fancy", and we have an old vehicle--we're poor. Ha! I wouldn't trade my life for anyone around here.
I hope your husband can scrape up a different vehicle. Bumming rides can get old.......

becky said...

Good reminder on easy we do have it. We have no furnace and it is below zero in our neck of the woods. We heat by the fireplace in our old log cabin and thankful for it.

Joyfulmomof6 said...

It really is all in the attitude, isn't it?

We have lived with only one vehicle for the last 14 years. My husband takes it to work daily, so I rarely leave the house during the day. When I do occasionally need the van, he gets a ride from a co-worker. All the neighborsin our cul-de-sac have more vehicles than they do drivers! But I am the only homemaker and it doesn't bother me at all. I gladly make the sacrifice to be able to stay home. And actually, it has made me less likely to waste my time. I have learned to be efficient in cutting out unneeded outings and I shop more online.
We have 6 children and are paying off the last of our debt ($3,000) except for our house.
My SIL and BIL both work and make plenty of money, yet had to file bankruptcy. They lost their home. They have to have every new gadget and spend lots of money on entertainment. It's all in the perspective of what is "necessary".

Anonymous said...

Yes we complain but really have no idea what riches we have here. When people come from other countries they think the family that lives in a very tiny modest bungalow must be a billionaire. Remember years ago when the head of the Soviet Union [I can't spell his name right now! :) } came here what he asked to see was one of our supermarkets! He was amazed at all he saw. We take it all for granted. We want bigger and newer. People risk their lives to get to America and we bad mouth it. All over people work to take God out of our land and do we protest? Without God where will we be?
I thank you for taking the time to write such beautiful thought provoking posts. God has given you a gentle sweet spirit about how you write but the contents of what you say are so true. It stays with us and makes us think long after we read your thoughts. God be with you as you work on finding reliable transportation. Sarah

Marybeth Ferrie said...

It takes courage to live this way in our culture of "MORE".Thank you for having the courage to speak up about your situation. I will be praying for your family's need for a vehicle-let's all pray together for this and rejoice in God's miraculous provision!

Andrea said...

May God bless your family with a new vehicle, soon, Mrs. White!

Mama Said No said...

Praying for you, Mrs. White. I know what you men by folks not understanding about 'getting by' in hard times. We have only one vehicle, so my son and I walk to town when we need to, wearing back packs to carry what we need. It's only a couple of miles, but folks think it's terrible. I tell them, if I walked the same 4 miles on a treadmill every day, you would applaud my discipline. But because I walk to GET somewhere--THAT is tragic? We don't have a lot of money right now, however, God has met every need that comes up.

Anna@stuffedveggies said...

You make such a great point! I used to live in the Third World. A friend from there once told me, "People say that our country only has rich and poor, but that's not true. We have a middle class! They're the ones who eat three meals a day, and their kids are able to go to school." Another friend told me that her financial goal was to be able to afford things like underwear for her daughter. It is true - in our cold climate here in the US being without a car can be a huge burden - but it's nothing like what the rest of the world deals with. Thanks for the perspective : )

Katrinka said...

This is a good post. I've often thought that people can get by better than they think, and they're afraid to be 'poor' because they don't think they can handle it. Knowing how to get by and do with less makes us stronger and braver.

My daughter shoveled out the yard and the lane the past couple of days to get her car out so she could get to work. She shoveled all day yesterday off and on, then ate and napped and was up at 5:30 this morning to finish it up before she drove triumphantly down the road.

This morning on the news they had a segment about how to avoid S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). They said to get exercise, fresh air, sunshine, good food, fluids, and quality rest. I told her about this piece and told her that's what she had been doing, only she called it 'digging my car out of the snow.' :)

Sometimes our strength and bravery are physical, sometimes spiritual, or courage of conviction and a determined heart. We can look at hard times without trembling if we know, God willing, that we will conquer as we have in the past.

Janet said...

Thank you for this reminder of all our blessings, even though we are considered poor here. Thank you for the encouragement to face each day with courage.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mrs. White. These posts are so inspiring to press on and lean on the Lord. Oh! And to watch that attitude and outlook.