Saturday, March 7, 2009

Recession Proof Life

I've been thinking about ways to recession proof my life for awhile now. It began last Sunday while I was sitting in church. I was watching our pastor, Todd Wagner, while he was singing & worshiping. From high aloft in the upper right balcony, I could see Todd down on the floor off to the side, a little hard to see in the dark...but he was there, unaware of anyone watching him, rocking back and forth on his heels and singing with all his might. He had the happiest look on his face and I suddenly felt so thankful, so glad to know that he was enjoying himself while He was all caught up in thinking about God. That's when I began thinking about how it's possible to live with both peace and joy in the midst of this crazy economy and political atmosphere. Have you found yourself worrying lately about what is to come: whether you'll keep your job, find a new job, pay your rent, pay that bill, afford what is to come? I have.

In light of all of that, here are some of my thoughts and experiences about recession-proofing my life:

Get Healthy - Russ recently saw an alternative medicine doctor (thanks, McKeaiggs) about certain health problems he had been having, lack of energy being a big one. The doc put Russ on a wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free eating plan and I've been following suit. We thought it would be tough. It really hasn't been. We're feeling good and losing weight. But the biggest benefit for me is that Russ' health is improving and we spend more time together cooking these days. Which leads me to the next idea...

Find a new wardrobe in your old closet - Okay, so one of the biggest reasons I enjoy my job is that I can wear jeans to work. In fact, good jeans are a staple of my life. I love designer jeans, unfortunately. And right now is just not a good time to go buy a new pair of jeans. But due to our new eating habits, I've lost ten pounds and, voila! I've been able to fit into three pairs of jeans that I hadn't worn since 2005! I've spent no money on clothes this year and am very proud of myself since I used to go shopping whenever I felt bored or anxious or insecure.

Plant a garden - This is also in line with our new healthy habits: I desperately want a garden in our backyard. One of our dear friends has been working on hers and has offered to help get us started. Planting from seeds is so incredibly cheap. And having fresh veggies in the backyard will keep me from ever walking into Whole Foods (or as I recently heard it called, "Whole Paycheck").

Turn off the television - Anyone who knows me well knows this is impossibly hard for me. I love tv and I love bad tv even more! But the tv keeps me from having meaningful conversations with my husband, keeps me from paying close attention to my little girl, keeps me from slowing down and listening to the Creator, and it actually influences me to spend more. When I lose an hour of my life watching (being honest here) "Real Housewives" on Bravo, I find myself thinking, "I do need to go get a new bookshelf for the study" or "I love those wineglasses I saw", etc, etc. I'm such an addict. So you out there, hold me accountable to this one, okay?

Get outside - See my progression here? Getting outside helps me get healthy, lose weight, work on a garden, get away from the tv...and for me it is crucial to reconnecting with the Father. I'm one of those people who feels closer to God when I am in nature. Not to mention that someone else in our house loves the outdoors as well...

Spend time around loved ones, especially children - Being around kids keeps my mind fresh in that I find myself seeing the world through their eyes; everything is new. Grab a favorite kid in your life and marvel at how amazing this old world can be. Sit in the backyard with your family. Talk. Tell stories. It's wonderfully rejuvenating.

Remember that your grandmother wouldn't have been scared of this Recession - In fact, since she was a child of the Great Depression, this would have been right up her alley. She knew how to make food go far - one time she tried to serve my baby brother the same bowl of Captain Crunch he hadn't finished the day before (she'd just put it in the fridge). She knew that the frayed edge of an old sofa just needed a nice doily atop it's arm. She wore the same bathing suit for about 35 years and when it's neckline began to sag, she simply sewed a handkercheif in to cover her ample bosom. She loved the simple things in life. Each night during the summer she would carry a cup of coffee out to the roof of the boating dock. When the moon would come up over the water she would exclaim as if on cue, "A path of diamonds...right to our door!" Gosh, thinking about the state of the world today really makes me miss her. She truly didn't sweat the small stuff. This might have been due to the fact that she prayed simple prayers all day long. She may have been a bit disconnected from the world at large but she was connected to the One Who makes it go round.

So back to that bucket of beer at the top of this post: Russ and I had decided to go to dinner last night to celebrate our anniversary. In the past we've spent quite a bit of money on a nice dinner, bottle of wine, the whole shabang. But we're trying so hard to save right now. So we had decided to skip the big deal and go somewhere inexpensive. It almost seems like every year we pull back a little more. I wanted to have a good attitude and I wanted to be the encouraging wife, like my grandmother was, not caught up in the entitlement & materialism that is so prevalent right now. But I was feeling sorry for myself. I went to go sit in the backyard and pray. "God, I need You to screw my head on straight today. I don't want to be a martyr, to feel self-pity and get caught up in the little things."

It was like God pulled me up by my shirt, popped me on the butt, said, "C'mon! You can do better than this!" and sent me back indoors. All I really wanted was to sit and talk to my husband, to ponder the past 3 years and remember how blessed we've been. So we went to Flying Fish and enjoyed a bucket of beer (we couldn't even finish 2), fish tacos, boiled shrimp and oysters on the half shell. There were kids everywhere and one very old lady decided to rest on her walker right in my personal space. But it was fun. And it was cheap. And that is good!

Would love to hear any of your thoughts on how you're surviving this economical climate, especially mentally and spiritually!


life with the wisners said...

i love this. bm, you really know how to dig deep, huh? that's one of the things i love about you. this is awesome. buz and i are doing a lot of cutting down.

now. i need you to send me an email about what you are doing to lose three dress sizes. i've got some jeans i'd like to wear. :)

love you, dude.

lindsay said...

right there with ya sister. It was good for me to hear it all written out like this. Although we haven't given in to the witch doctor just yet, I'm glad your efforts have been fruitful and I'm proud of you for supporting Russ. And for the record= - I'd join you at flying fish ANYTIME I love it.

J. Page said...

Awesome post, Beck! Wish I would have read it before I went to Target, HEB, and Dillards...It might have saved me a few bucks. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me.

kathie2500 said...

Beck, I loved this! You made me want to move somewhere so that I could plant a garden. And your grandmother - so sweet and appreciative of things! (As much as I hate to admit it, the part that perhaps liked best was that someone else was watching Real Housewives, too! :))

How did I not know you had a blog? Love it!