Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You're a mean one, Mrs. Boldman

The day of our Lord and Savior's birth (or at least the day we CELEBRATE it) is upon us, and I am feeling more than a little bit Grinchy. This should be my best Christmas so far, because it is my precious baby's first one. I certainly started the season off in the Christmas spirit, even going so far as to finish my Christmas shopping early. But to be quite honest with you, the pressure of the holiday season is really getting to me. Why is there so much to DO? I feel the weight of the expectations of what Christmas must be as an enormous weight on my shoulders, rather than enjoying the lightness and joy of cookies, carols, and more cookies. I just want to slow down and enjoy this Christmas with MY family--Josh, Rachel, and Zeke, while still loving and enjoying both of our OTHER families. My Grinchy spirit (which is not to be confused with a Scrooge-y spirit) really bothers me. I wonder why we put so much pressure and place so much importance on the Christmas schedule, and going going GOING through the whole season, rather than slowing down and enjoying the tiny things that are going on around us. I am really enjoying watching Zeke discover his presents and learn how to open them. The look on his face when he sees his new toys is so precious. It makes me smile, just thinking about it. So that's what I'm trying to focus on--simplicity. I hate that Christmas is stressful, but that's what the world has turned it into, and I live in the world, so I have to deal with it. But for the next few hours and days, I will be attempting to live like the Savior was born for me, and has forgiven me, and loves me, even though I am a Grinch right now.



I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven;
I'll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father;
I am His child, and I am not afraid.
So greatly pardoned, Ill forgive another;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion;
I’ve been so loved that I'll risk loving, too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then Ill be there to care and follow through.

Your kingdom come around and through and in me,
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Don’t Have to be a Duggar (OR a Hilton, Thank Goodness) to Live A Simple Life

Oh come on, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. In fact, I doubt I even need to explain the title because you’re nodding your head thinking, “Love those Duggars, but MAN I don’t want to wear their clothes! And dang it, I like my eyeliner! I NEED my eyeliner!!” Calm down, I need my eyeliner, too.

I LOVE the Duggars. I watch “17 Kids and Counting” on TLC and have followed them since “14 Kids and Pregnant Again!” way back in 2004. When I first saw them on TV, I was impressed, to say the least. Here’s this woman, Michelle, who has given birth to all of these children, and she still has a sweet smile on her face. I would consider it an honor to meet her and her family one day. I admire the way Michelle and her husband have trained their children to behave and cooperate. I am in awe of their financial prowess and ability to live debt-free. In their first TV specials, they were living in a normal house, all 17 of them (more kids have popped out since then) and were content. They were truly living a simple life of frugality, faith, and love.

As much as I aspire to live like the Duggars, I do not aspire to emulate them entirely. At the time of one of their specials (I can’t remember which one) Michelle explained their clothing philosophy: They make their own clothing, especially for the girls, and it is plain so that it brings attention to their countenance (face) and not their bodies (that’s a summary). I am ALL ABOUT taking attention off of my body and up to my face—can I get an amen from the sista’s who just had babies?! Woot! But I can’t make my own clothing, I like to wear makeup, and I can’t stand it when my hair is long!!! (DISCLAIMER: I dress modestly, and if I ever have a daughter, she will too.)

So here is my short-haired, makeup-wearing, skirt-hating version of living a simple life…while still being a modern, fabulous, hip mama:

  1. My family is completely credit card debt-free, and we do not use any credit cards. We did this through teachings by Crown Financial Ministries which included paying off our highest-interest cards first, and working our way down to the lowest ones. It took us about a year, but we did it!
  2. We downsized our living arrangements from a 3/2 rental house to a 2/2 apartment, which has saved us a boatload of money, both in rent and in utility costs. Speaking of utility costs, we have saved on those by programming our air conditioner, using the squiggly light bulbs, and hooking up all of our “fun” appliances (TV, computers, my breast pump—sorry, too much information!) to power strips that we turn off when we’re done.
  3. We only have one car. If you’ve read my blog at all, you might think I’m a bit obsessed with this fact, but I deal with it every day, so it’s on my mind a lot. And what’s on my mind, you guessed it, goes on my blog. We save money on insurance, gas, and a car payment by only having Bertha (that’s the car’s name and she demands respect) to get us around.
    1. One of the benefits of having one car is LOTS of “togetherness.” If we’re going somewhere, we’re either going together, or one of us is dropping the other one off and picking up. Cooperation and communication is also a fringe benefit. Both my husband and I have to be flexible and willing to give up a little bit of freedom for this to work.
    2. Another benefit—humility. I know what it’s like to walk across, or down, the street just to get out of the house. I know what it’s like to get honked at. And I know what it’s like to smile and wave at the honkers and be proud to be walking my stroller and my happy butt to Chick Fil-A.

So if you watch “17 Kids and Counting” or, God forbid, “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie (is that show still on?!) and think, “I just can’t do that—I’d go insane from all the rural living, and skirts, and I NEED MY EYELINER!” you’re not alone. I was there, but I decided to keep my eyeliner, shorts, and tank tops (MODEST tank tops) and create my own version of Duggar-style living. So tell me, how can you opt to live more simply? I KNOW you’ve got some ideas…spill ‘em!

Peace, love, short hair, and EYELINER,

Rachel

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bloggy giveaway!!

$20 Challenge 4 Charity is giving away a Jillian Dempsey bag filled with awesome AVON products. You can find the post here....and surf around the blog. It's a great concept!

love
Rachel

Monday, December 8, 2008