Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cozy home in a time of trouble

I've always told the family I was meant to hibernate in cold and snowy weather. As the days get cooler and the lights have to be turned on in my kitchen in the early evening... I'm fighting the urge to nap. However, the reason I want to hibernate this autumn is to get away from bad news in the media.

I've been keeping an eye on the twenty-four hour business news off and on... mostly off today. Then I was checking my e-mails and found a plethora of notices from my emergency preparedness sites; a combination of warnings about the aftermath of the hurricane, what is happening on Wall street, and mostly... the situation between Iran and Israel and what it means to the U.S. None of the news was good.

I've seen God work miracles in our lives when we were living through our own personal financial Depression and the world was affluent. He doesn't look at Wall Street, He looks at the way we trust Him to meet our needs. Then again, if He puts it in your heart to deepen a pantry and fill a freezer, to can fruits and vegetables and jellies and jams... He is providing the years of plenty to use in the day of famine.

Besides praying, the most important thing we can do doesn't cost us anything. We can go through our homes and get rid of what we don't need, or don't want, or doesn't make our heart sing at all anymore. It does the soul good to fill boxes for Goodwill or another charity and come back to a home that is in order and has more space.

Now, I'd be tarred and feathered for treason and hypocrisy if you thought I'd gotten rid of everything. There is still an English Country look to my home and more things that make my heart sing than does, say... my husband. He could still get rid of an entire layer of pretty things. But even he has to admit that my pretty, as well as practical, items do not add to the clutter. I call it "warm and cozy", thank you.

By deepening the pantry and filling the freezer with food I buy on sale, I am giving my guys a gift for less. By decluttering the house and even Christopher's room (because he is so busy right now), I am giving a gift that doesn't cost me a thing but time. By shopping for little (but really cool) Christmas gifts for the grandchildren, I can use creativity where there is less cash.

Perhaps this will be a lesson learned... the hard way... for many people in the coming weeks. There is a time of plenty when we can get out of debt, deepen the pantry, get our house and car(s) in order, be wise in preparing for an uncertain future.

When trouble comes and funds are few... there is a way to live with skill... and grace... and beauty. It just takes a different way of thinking and a whole lot of faith.

As for us... today we had a workman come and install a new thermostat (something very simple and not the computerized jobbie that stopped working). He is coming back later in the week to inspect our furnace. Later this week, my husband is having the oil changed in the "old car" and then put in a new air filter himself. A little money spent to save in the long run.

I'll prepare the deck furniture to be put in the shed and keep an eye on the black walnut shells left behind after furry forest creatures have had a snack (swept away before they can stain the deck). No cost maintenance.

Tomorrow I will bake a loaf of honey wheat bread and some blueberry muffins... low cost treats for the guys. But tomorrow... yawn... I'll be back with more recession ponderings. I need to finish the dinner dishes and put on the water for tea... another yawn... for I no longer have miles to go before I sleep.

Picture: Apple Pie Harvest by Janet Kruskamp; allposters.com... one of my favorites.


Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I, too, have noticed the darkness coming much earlier here in Georgia. You have inspired me to look at the things that I don't need and don't make my heart sing any longer. The Lord has given us so much and we need to share some more with less fortunate. Brenda, you always give me a lot to think about. Thanks.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

A cozy home in a time of trouble is, indeed, a worthy thing for us to strive for. No matter what the outside world holds, home is where our family should find peace and rest. Well said, Brenda!

Janet said...

These are the times that test our faith. It is so easy to be thankful and pray freely when times are good. But it is so hard to say 'Thy will be done' when days are dark.

Brenda, speaking of light and darkness, I have often had an image of your blog when I visit each day. I think all of us have had the experience of being away from home on a winter's day and returning at dusk to see the lights glowing in the kitchen.

Well, that's my image of your blog. It's a warm, welcoming light in the dark that so often covers the internet. Thank you.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

I love what Janet said about your blog being a light in the dark! I feel that way too.

How many more institutions can the gov't bail out? I just feel the world is getting crazier by the minute and a lot of people are living in denial and about to have their bubble burst.

I try to make my home a haven for my family (especially for my husband).


Susan P. said...

Beautifully said as usual, Brenda. What an honor and privilege it is to provide that "cozy" home for our families, even all the more important in these scary, uncertain times we are living.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Yes, I quit listening to the tv. Sometimes I can handle reading the paper. There's a fine balance between being a news junkie and an ostrich.

Looking forward to more frugal tips tomorrow...

Connie said...


Would you mind to share your emergency preparedness sites with us?

If you don't want to do a post, would you mind to email them to me?

This is something that is weighing on my heart heavily, and I am having a hard time finding good, honest sources of information.

I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't mind to share the ones you use?

Thank you, I always enjoy reading your posts. I am Connie@ThriftyMamas.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent post.
Usually the world news doesn't bother me too much but lately it's getting even me down.
With energy issues there is so much I need to do but just can't...how I wish I could have days filled with normal energy.

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate it too if you would share the emergency preparedness sites. I see one listed on your favorites list..is this the only one? You have given us so many wonderful ideas for helping prepare for any emergency ..many I haden't thought of. Thankyou.