I’ve Accepted The Challenge – Will you?

Saving money to attain the goal of early retirement was a big goal for me, one that I achieved in 2012. My mentors were Amy Dacyczyn , author of The Tightwad Gazette Newsletter and Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, authors of Your Money or Your Life. Commuting 90 minutes a day to a stressful job and coming home to my second shift was draining away the joy of life.

Trying to accomplish a goal of cutting family income by more than half, may call for drastic measures. I have no problem shopping in thrift stores. It’s a great way to keep items out of the landfill while providing useful items at a lower price. Making meals at home and eating out less is another way to eat healthier foods and save money. Cooking is back in style during Covid. My husband and I enjoy simple foods so this is not a big loss.

The technique of shopping for the lowest price is where a huge problem can develop. I definitely believe in price shopping for groceries, clothes, electronics, everything! We pay less for computers and electronics than we did 10 years ago. Some of this is due to improved technology, but primarily to outsourced manufacturing to countries with cheap (slave) labor. This is not new news, but we’ve started feeling the real cost when items needed during Covid, prescription drugs and personal protection equipment were no longer available. Our government realized bad economic and trade policy encouraged manufacturers to leave the U.S.A. for cheaper labor.

After WW2, our parents and grandparents answered the call from the U.S. government to plant Victory Gardens due to a transportation shortage. Over 20 million answered that call. Our problem today? We (me) have an addiction to cheap goods made in foreign countries on the backs of slaves. We cry out rightly of the injustice of slavery in America, but we turn a blind eye to the nameless invisible slaves who work 15 to 17 hours a day with little food or income to support our addiction. 1

My challenge is to purchase every item, as much as possible, produced and manufactured in America. This takes research, planning and in some cases, deciding not to buy at all. During Covid, supporting the local neighborhood business is critical to it’s survival.

To research purchases, the following internet sites are a good start:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Food_manufacturers_of_the_United_States

Walmart appears to be making an attempt to go back to it’s Made in America roots started by it’s founder, Sam Walton. It has pledged to purchase 250 billion in American made products by 2023. 2 Walmart appears to have made human rights a priority in their buying of foreign goods and this is encouraging. 3

Local thrift shops that support churches or missions are good alternatives.

As a Christian, I still want to support the poor in other countries. One of the ways I can do this is help free them of sweat shop slavery. Opportunity International is a Christian organization that provides education and micro loans for small business and agriculture. https://opportunity.org/ According to Charity Navigator their program expense ratio is 92.11% which is very good. I’m sure there are other organizations that do the same.

Shopping with good stewardship will be a little more time consuming than find best price, click and buy method, but I will be voting with my dollars saying “No” to worker abuse and “Yes” to supporting our local economy.

Sacred Spaces

Sacred – set apart for – Do you have a place you go to daily to recharge your batteries, rest your mind, speak to God and listen for his Holy Spirit?  Each morning I go to my special place to praise and give thanks to God.  I pray for my family, friends and God’s work and purpose here and abroad.  This is a peaceful beginning to my day and prepares me for whatever the day may bring.  I then begin my daily Bible study and homework from Bible Study Fellowship.

If you don’t have a special place, think about where that place could be for you.  It could be a comfy chair next to a sunlit window or even a place outside where the view will draw your mind upon God and away from the daily grind.  Susannah Wesley (1701 – 1800) bore 17 children, two which were John and Charles, the founders of Methodism. When she needed time to pray, it was said that she would take her large apron and cover her head.  Her children knew this meant not to bother their mother during this time.

Another person that comes to mind, is the fictional character, Clark Davis in the movie, Love Comes Softly.  Set in the wild prairie of Montana, with no church buildings, Clark had a special place with a panaramic view where he would pray, sing and worship.  It was on a wooden bench similar to this one.wooden bench

The wood on the walls and bench is Eastern Red Cedar.  My husband cut the trees, sawed on his sawmill, planed and nailed the boards.  If you have ever dreamed of building your own home or finishing a room like we did, I’ll be giving more details soon.

 

 

A Baptist Girl’s Journey to Lent

 

February 9, 2016

It’s very unusual for a Christian of the Baptist persuasion to keep Lent. I do not attend a Baptist Church presently but consider my beliefs of that persuation. The B-I-B-L-E (singing the B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me) is my rule of faith and it doesn’t mention Lent. It doesn’t mention a lot of other things that I participate in,  but that’s another story.

I came to Lent totally by accident. During the last election in 2012, Glen Beck called for a 40 day fast to pray for the elections. I rarely listen to Glen Beck, but did that day and felt and still feel our country is in serious decline. I also believe in the power of prayer. I decided to take the challenge. I swore off sugar and sugar substitute. The President was reelected and I began to lose that weight I couldn’t seem to lose otherwise. I don’t have a lot of will power when it comes to sugar but I made a vow to God and I take that pretty serious!  I am not advocating Lent as a weight loss program!

Last year right about the time Lent was beginning, I had some serious concerns about some family issues that I felt needed serious prayer. I recalled the young man who was possessed by evil spirits that could not be healed by the Apostles. Jesus told them in Mark 9:29 that “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”. Since I had a very serious concern, I was determined again to do a 40 day fast. I decided to give up coffee. I have a pretty serious coffee addition. I thought chocolate was bad. Oh the headaches I suffered and just generally feeling bad. Even my Excedrin Migraine did not help. I completed the 40 days and swore never to go off caffeine again!

Lent was not taught in any of the churches I’ve attended.  Even Good Friday was not given much attention.  In doing a little research this year, since I’m leaning toward this as a practice each year, one site mentioned that Catholics consider this as a form of pennance.  I see it as a remembrance of the 40 day trial of fasting and temptation of Jesus in the desert shortly before his crucifixion. It can represent participating in the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 4:13 says, ” But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” This verse probably does not advocate Lent, but suffering is part of the Christian life.

This year I’m still faced with the same family problems, and the election cycle for President has started again. It’s even more pressing that these problems be solved. Even though the problems have not changed, I am changing. Even though I still have a tendency toward going to the worst case scenario, I’m beginning to learn to find daily joy and to remind myself that Satan loves to use these things to steal my joy.  Jesus tells me in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough of its own.”

For me, participating in a Lenton fast means a time of a closer walk with Christ as I rely on him to overcome my temptation to quit what I have vowed to give up and not take back the problem that I am putting at his feet. So what will I give up this year? Worry, doubt, unbelief? Or will I receive something by learning and reading about Jesus’ journey prior to his crucifixion?  Tommorrow, February 10th, lent begins.