Thank you for your prayers, comments, and e-mails. Christopher is beginning to worry about how many classes he has missed. That is a good sign. We are definitely imperfect people making an attempt to live out the life of Christ as best we know how in a dysfunctional world. I am constantly asking God's forgiveness when I snap back at my husband or get annoyed with my son (he is still a teenager!).
I laugh (just on the inside) when I hear someone comment on a family and call it "dysfunctional". I want to pat them on the shoulder and tell them, "Honey, every family is dysfunctional". God placed the first couple in a perfect world and they still messed up. :)
I want to begin writing more about what God has taught me... prose form... about living a "pantry lifestyle". Losing a job (and/or your spouse losing a job) can be one of the worst times of your life... or the best. In our case, living without an income for a year the first time is what taught me there is "a whole other" retail world out there.
Even if we weren't living on Disability, I would enjoy the lifestyle I've come to know. It would just be easier to plan at times. :)
I've used a name for it before... forced simplicity. I should also add... forced adventure. For it is in the hunt for what is needed (and a few desires) at the very smallest of prices that led me to another world which I truly did not know existed.
Also, I have developed a sense of expectation. It is not "will" God answer prayer but "how" will He answer prayer... and when. He is never late but sometimes he seems to be whistling Dixie.
Having a new baby to clothe had a lot to do with trying out that new fangled way of shopping in the late 1970s called a garage sale (does that mean someone is selling their garage?). My main focus back then was to find all things baby, then toddler, and then preschooler for pennies on the dollar.
Garage sales became a fun warm weather activity, even when we had a fairly significant income. Back then frugal shopping was more sport than necessity. However, lessons learned during those years were very helpful later. As with everything in life, the more you do it (as in garage sales at that time), the more skill you obtain.
I learned to grocery shop to get the most nutrition for the least amount of money for a very selfish reason... when we were no longer a two career couple, I received a certain amount of money for food and eating out... if I wanted to eat out a couple of times during the week then grocery shopping had to be on a budget. Those skills have proved invaluable.
Even when I worked full time in a corporation, I knew how to shop for clothes at department stores to save at least 50%. My mother taught me the best time to shop for clothes, at the end of each season. I wear a larger jacket size then skirt so I'd clean up at the end of season suit sales where "orphan" suit jackets and skirts were sold separately. :)
However, I now know I was still totally oblivious to living off the financial grid. Very few of us at the time felt the need. I've been told a few times by Social Workers that the middle class are totally unaware how to live when they have little or no income. The poor know how to survive already and the rich have no need to survive with nothing (although that may no longer be true with very wealthy people losing everything these past six months or so).
In the weeks to come, I plan to share more of what we've learned by doing and by research. Along with a few book reviews and family updates. Just by chatting... few lists (I have plenty of posts already with lists and links to other sites with lists) but plenty of "off the top of my head" prose.
My own sense of the times we are in... things may begin to look a little better for awhile but I see no way our country can permanently stay financially stable. Everything we can learn now (whether already affected or not) to learn "living off the financial grid" will give practice to a new way of thinking.
Always remember, God is in control. If you have already been affected by this economy and it was not your fault... let it go and lean on Him. If some of your financial earthquake has been your own fault... let it go, ask His forgiveness, lean on Him... and learn new skills. Do not blame yourself from this moment on. The enemy of our souls whispers to you that you can't ask for God's help because of past mistakes. Ask me how I know?
If it wasn't your fault at all, let it go and do not let bitterness take root. Take every thought captive and pull up those weeds as soon as you hear your own whispers of blame towards other people and corporations. Let it go...
Once you develop the good habit of throwing out the continuous thoughts of guilt, bitterness (or fear of what is coming for people not affected)... then you are ready for God to take you on an exciting... albeit sometimes uncomfortable... adventure.
I ask for continued grace when I have typos and grammar errors. My eyes are a little crossed by this computer screen. :)