God has such an interesting way of teaching me about this homesteading life.
Just as I begin to think I know a little something, He’ll show me a perspective that I hadn’t seen before. Coming through the “back door” of my life, through our adoption of three Ethiopian siblings 2 1/2 years ago, He has helped me to be much more aware of His love for me, given me emotional healing and taught me a lot about how people currently live.
This week, I shared about our new manual grain mill. It is so interesting how things play out around here, considering that we have three Ethiopian children in our family.
It’s happened before, many times actually. When I first bought a few lanterns and began experimenting with different oils to burn, my daughter Rahel lights up and says “Oh, we had those in Ethiopia!”
“Really?” I say. What I am continually reminded of is the fact that in Ethiopia, a third-world poverty-stricken country in the horn of Africa, much of life there simulates how Americans “used to do things” in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
“How did you use them?” I asked my daughter.
Fuel is a luxury in Ethiopia and they conserve as much as possible. ”We light the lantern when we eat our evening meal, but we eat quickly so that we can turn it off”, Rahel tells me. No one has to remind them that they need to be frugal.
The same thing happened with the manual grain mill. As I opened the box this week and took it out, Rahel lit up and said “Oh! That’s a grain mill! We had those! There was one for the entire village and we shared it“.
Suddenly, anything good I felt about my decision to purchase a manual grain mill drained right out of me as I felt guilty that I had my very own grain mill. My very own.
Yet, here’s the lesson. Feeling guilty has a purpose, and it’s not to be self-centered. It’s to point us to the needs of others. I remembered that I have neighbors and a community, who may have need of this grain mill at some point. Of course, I would share.
I quickly became aware of the fact that this grain mill was given to me as a matter of stewardship. The mill serves my family’s needs and the needs of others as well. I am not the owner as much as I am the manager of this blessing.
Tractor Supply was on my list of errands this week for feed. You know, it’s funny. I can go into most any store, mall or otherwise and not be tempted to overspend in the least, walking out to my car and glad to be out of there.
But Tractor Supply? Doggonit, I melt down.
One family Christmas tradition is to make gingerbread houses. When Meredith said “Look Mom!” and held up this kit from the store shelf, I had to have it.
Isn’t this the cutest?
I’ve shared some about this, but since our barn was destroyed earlier in the year, we haven’t had one single Christmas ornament, tree, bobble or garland to decorate with this year. 11 personalized stockings that I finally splurged on last year? Toast.
It takes years and years to collect Christmas decorations, especially outdoor lights, etc. We have none.
My husband and I decided to go very lean on those things this year. A dear friend offered us a pre-lit tree that they weren’t going to use, 7.5 feet tall….cool. Check that one off the list. We’ve all decided that it looks pretty as is, sans ornaments, since I haven’t really seen anything that’s turned me on to the point of purchase.
I purchased a few plain garlands to drape over doorways, used my lanterns and some toys to decorate the mantels and purchased a few nut crackers (50% off at Hobby Lobby), which I’ve always wanted to do. To be honest, if I didn’t have small children, I would skip most of the holiday decor and go with a few candles.
But I’m the memory-maker as Mom at this stage of life….
So imagine my thrill when I saw these little “lantern lights” at Tractor Supply. I was putty. Absolutely had to have.
Blaming the children for my weakness, my horse-loving Meredith found a handful of cute “farmy” ornaments that we purchased.
So, to summarize, we have a total of 20 lights on tree with 5 ornaments. :)
You know what? That’s ok. It’s really okay.
Money is tight for everyone and with the fragile global financial situation, I’m just glad to have a roof over our heads, heat in the house and food in the cabinets.
Afterall, Christmas isn’t my birthday, it’s Jesus’ birthday. Less is more when it helps us to focus on the real reason for the season.
Are YOU simplifying your Christmas this year? I would love to hear your ideas.