I've had a kind of strange week for me, where I have been questioning choices, and looking twice at things that I do, and that I buy. I was reading Froog's blog about the effective use of food, and portion sizes and things like that, and although there is a lot of sense in what she says, I don't agree with everything she writes. But it did spur me on to think more about making the most of every penny and how we spend our money.
We already live fairly frugal lives already, but there are always more strategies we could employ to go further, and I realise that. I don't crochet dishcloths, I don't recycle bathwater, I don't shop exclusively at German supermarkets, I never go to the real market any more, I hardly ever have time to mooch around the charity shops. It is a balance between time, energy, motivation and experience. And I don't mean historical experience that we can learn from, I mean rather what I want to experience today, how I want to spend my time and consider it well spent and, sometimes, enjoyed.
I sat for thirty minutes this morning and listened to a radio interview on a website from America, that was actually broadcast yesterday, but in the middle of the night here, so not convenient at the time. I made notes and I immersed myself in the experience. I enjoyed it. It didn't save me a penny but it enriched my life. It didn't cost me a penny, either, though!
I've thought again about our menu, and how I could make our food bill less - we could buy less lunch meat and I could eat more soup. I've reflected on the seasonal nature of our food, and remembered that actually, some foods taste far less appealing out of season - when you have had a warm tomato fresh from the vine in the greenhouse, supermarket varieties are insipid and uninspiring, so better to wait until the greenhouse produces plenty again before we eat tomatoes. Considering portion sizes is an important way of making sure that we don't waste precious food pennies, as well as the food itself, and that smaller portions are a good way to reduce waist as well as waste!
And then there is stewardship. Am I really being a good steward of all the resources at my disposal? Am I caring for everything the way it should be cared for and maintained? Could I do better? Absolutely.
As 2013 draws to a close [I'm told that there are less than 6 weeks left of this year] my thoughts are turning to producing my calendar for next year as already dates are inscribed on bitty scraps of paper as my time in 2014 is becoming allocated to hospital trips, courses and meetings. Thoughts of finding different ways of doing things are taking my time and filling my prayers as I realise my shortcomings this year. I think back over the challenges and experiences that 2013 has brought to us as a family, and I would pray not to have to go through some of them again, as thoughts of death and pain haunted my dreams early in the year, and yet we have known happiness, joy and friendships beyond measure as people we love have united to support us and hold us up through the darker days.
This life is a good one, a blessed one, and finding grace in small things is a way of treasuring the experiences, piecing together the joys, and the realisation that we are rich beyond measure is humbling as I reflect that life is not all about the bank balance. Truly, the more I have of anything, the more I can share, whether it is a box of chocolates for a raffle, sponsoring a child through Compassion or WorldVision, giving time to a friend or family member to listen to a story, spending time caring for the FH, or making a donation to the foodbank.
All that considered, I am going to have to buy myself some new clothes as I have lived in two pairs of jeans almost this whole year, and I am sure folk are fed up of seeing me in this uniform! It's either going to be spending vouchers from that supermarket or hitting the charity shops on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
A bit of progress on the latest picture.
7 hours ago