Friday, April 25, 2014
Suddenly, as though someone threw open the shutters, days are warm and sunny, 14 hours long and lengthening. For the first time in 6 months I can walk around the yard and fields gazing at debris blown in like tumbleweeds and of course the miscellaneous stuff buried in the first snow of last November. Sun pours into the windows through layers of "snert" left by the aforementioned blizzards.
Home ownership complicates our lives. Many times I mumble to myself, "I'm ready for the condo."
So, just how does a contemplative religious deal with the complexity of caring for a home
and yard while maintaining a simple life? While this is still something I am figuring out, here are a few suggestions.
1. Set priorities
My priority is living a contemplative life in prayer and service to God. Snert can wait, praying the Daily Office will not. My home will never be featured in a magazine, but it is a place of peace and a comfortable retreat for those seeking solitude.
2. Live in the presence of God
Seasonal chores have the potential to be a prayer of praise to our Creator. Raking dead leaves, cleaning flower beds and planting seeds enable one to be intimately connected to the earth, creation and the millenia of human and nonhuman inhabitants who lived on the land.
3. If it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done
We have small field on the south side of the lilac bushes that really ought to be weeded and something useful planted in order to at least prevent the weeds from growing and spreading. It is the last project of every year and quite honestly, not much gets done. I cut the burdock and that is about it. Que sera, sera. I look up to caress the lake with my eyes, cherish the birds flying, singing and swimming and thank God for the beauty of my surroundings.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Monday, September 2, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Living on a limited food income definitely impacted our social life. I was invited to join a small group for a Chinese buffet but needed to decline because I could not afford the cost of the buffet. We hoped to invite guests over for a meal during the week and rethought those plans since our budget did not accommodate feeding guests.
Sometimes, having a limited budget actually forced us to spend more for items than we normally would. For example, we cut soda from our grocery list. Diet Coke is a luxury I found difficult to life without so instead of buying the economy size, I purchased Diet Coke at machines for 75 cents, more than double the cost of Coke in a 24 pack. At church, we have soda readily available. It was tempting to indulge while there. Another example of difficulty taking advantage of bargains is that coupons advertised the requirement of buying ten items in order to receive a discount. We didn’t need ten items in one week and buying them meant going without something else. Since we live in a small town we already pay more for groceries than folks in a larger city because the stores cannot offer large volume discounts.
The biggest sacrifice of eating within a $4.00/day budget was nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables were prohibitively expensive even during this time of the year when they are plentiful. We finally bought a package of grapes which lasted the week. Alan was given sweet corn by a farmer he was visiting. My husband eats meat while I am a vegetarian. He did get a pound of meat, but that is all. That probably was a health benefit for him.
Some good habits did come from this week. One big advantage of living this way for a week was that we recognized how much food we normally waste. Since our intake depended upon the food purchased that week, we literally ate all of it. It was not necessary to clean out the grungies from the refrigerator as I normally do. We also made food from raw materials instead of purchasing ready made products. I made bread. Alan made his lunch.
Overall, we came to appreciate food much more. We have been blessed with plenty and give thanks for that. Wasting food is certainly not an appropriate way to express gratitude to our Lord for this bounty. We already decided to practice the SNAP Challenge again during Advent and Lent being aware that for many people, $4.00/day is not a choice, it is a necessity.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Psalm 39:1 I said, "I will keep watch upon my ways,*
so that I do not offend with my tongue."
Life would certainly be much simpler if I paid closer attention to my tongue. I am capable of sticking my foot in my mouth with the best of them. I am learning gradually to keep holy silence. There is a time to speak up and a time to keep quiet, may the Lord help me know the difference. I pray that my words may only speak love.