Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Proper Goodbye!

I have been searching for the right words to write this post. I'm still not sure I have found them. But, I don't like unfinished business so I'm just going to jump in with both feet (or hands! 😁) and see what the Lord will do.

The past months since my last post have been filled with good... much good! I've learned more about the Lord and how to follow Him through my daily life, the blessing of caring for my husband, family birthdays, serving, teaching, caring for my home and a host of other 'good' things. Life has been very full... and very good!  I'm always grateful and amazed when I look back on all the Lord allows me to do.

The good things, although they have kept me busy, have not kept me from writing. This is the part I've had a hard time writing because I haven't wanted to sound like I'm complaining. I finally just decided (after writing and rewriting this paragraph) that I would just be transparent! More than two years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and recently I was diagnosed with Small Fiber Peripheral Neuropathy. In between, I hurt my knee while gardening and developed Plantar Fasciitis which limited my mobility even more. The medication I was on for the Fibromyalgia caused my already fuzzy thinking to worsen.  The pain, fatigue and foggy thinking have changed the way I do life...which has changed the way I spend my days...which has changed the way I save money...which has an affect on writing blog posts!

My son and his family came for a visit.
This blog (Living on Less Money) shared the highlights of things I did to stretch our smaller income once my husband became disabled. It chronicled our journey from living LARGE to living on much LESS.  Most of what I wrote about were labor and time intensive tasks that stretched our income in one area to give us more in another area. That worked out fine at the time because I had the physical strength and the time to invest. But, now the pain gets worse when I stand on my feet for longer than 5-10 minutes and my doctor wants me to stop working before the pain starts. I also have chronic pain in other parts of my body. So, this is where I've had to make quite a few changes. I've had to decide between tasks such as making meals vs. making my own laundry detergent...washing the truck vs. washing our clothes, etc. I'm trying hard to learn how to downsize my life and activities to only what is truly necessary. What great lessons to learn at any season of life!!

 The chronic pain reminds me of a spoiled child who screams for your entire attention and I can easily stay focused on it... BUT... God is teaching me to turn that focus onto Him and loving others...even on those days I would rather stay in bed...ESPECIALLY on those days!  He is teaching me to turn the complaints into focus on what I CAN do instead of what I CAN'T do and to do even the smallest of tasks out of love for Him and for His glory! I do it all so imperfectly! But, I am gaining so much more spiritually than I am giving up physically!
So, I am searching for new ways to live UNDER our means without using a lot of physical effort or time. One way is through contentment with what is already in my hand. For instance, I have old floor mats in my truck. They are very worn but they are still doing the job so why replace them? In years passed I would have replaced them to keep up appearances but it's not a necessity and I can get some more wear out of them. So, I'll be content. 

I was able to plant a garden before my knee got hurt. These melons were heavenly!
I've met a lot of poor families as I served at our local food pantry these past few years.   My heart has especially been touched by refugee families who have given up everything for the hope of a safer life in the United States. They come with the clothes on their backs and it takes months...even years... for them to find work and maintain housing. Many end up in shelters because they cannot survive financially. Yet, here I sit with all my comfort and still wanting more... nicer floor mats... when they don't even have a car!

Living UNDER my means! It's definitely a discipline while living in America which always tempts us to want more!

My daughter gave me this hibiscus. I enjoyed it so much                            

Honestly, through all of this, I hope to know and love Jesus more through obeying the hard things in His Word! I want to give more out of our lower income, I want to share with those who have less and to remember the widow and the forgotten.  Whether it's through learning contentment with what I own or depending on Him to provide for my needs or through trusting Him more each day because of the chronic pain... I want to find Him to be enough as I live with less strength, less money and less things!

Oh, to truly be able to say (and believe)....just give me Jesus!

So, what HAVE I been doing since my last post in December 2016?

1. As I wrote above, I still volunteer at a food pantry once a week. I actually visited this food pantry several years ago when we had guests staying for an extended time. They were short of help so I volunteered. They asked if I could come back the next week and I never left. I LOVE the relationships that are being built with the people who come regularly for food and most of all I love the privilege of sharing the Gospel with strangers and repeatedly with those who are becoming friends. I don't believe I could come stay within my grocery budget if I didn't have the extra food  because I haven't raised my food budget in over 8 years! I am doubly blessed being able to serve and then being ministered to through the food!

My garden got out of control this summer. But, we did enjoy kale, okra, asparagus, squash and peppers.
2. I'm relearning some old lessons on how to save money in my grocery budget through a blog called, The Fundamental Home. I saved over $60 this month. I'm hopeful to save even more this next month. A few goals are to make a 2 week menu and only shop once during those 2 weeks! Don't go to the store in between shopping trips. Shop first from your pantry, fridge and freezer before you make the menu and then stick to the menu. Make do with what you have in the house in between shopping trips. Shop at discount stores.

3. I cook a LOT less meat!  I'm probably eating between 2-4 ounces of meat a day and I've cut back my husband's meat intake, too. I've also cut way back on eggs. I used to buy a box of eggs per month which had 6 flats. I would use mostly whites and throw away the extra yolks. The eggs were imperfect so I bought them inexpensively. The egg store closed down and so I'm paying twice the price at the store. So, now I rarely eat eggs for breakfast and I've stopped making as many low carb treats with coconut flour which soaks up the eggs. My eggs last a lot longer. Good results have come from both of these changes. My blood pressure is back to normal and so is my cholesterol.

4. I try to double my recipes as much as physically possible. This not only helps on nights when I'm physically zapped but it also helps resist the temptation to go out to eat. I try to always keep cooked hamburger or leftovers in the freezer for a quick meal. I also either roast my own chicken or pick one up at Costco to keep bags of cooked chicken in the freezer for a quick meal. When I make a salad I will chop up enough salad veggies for 3 days. I make a frittata once a week so I don't have to cook breakfast for 3 mornings but instead just warm it up!

5. My daughter in love inspired me to reupholster my lawn chair. I found a YouTube video that gave easy to follow instructions.

Replacement Sling Cover

6. My sewing machine was freezing up. I was sure I would need to find another one. I decided to take it apart and see if oiling it would help. While oiling it I discovered that some thread was lodged in between some of the gears. It now works fine since oiling and removing the thread.

7. I did take advantage of the free end of the year tax preparations and filing through a local county agency. Your local library may offer information after the first of the year.  It always involves a couple hours of sitting while they fill in the forms, which is hard on my husband, but I think we have found a way to work around it next year. This saves me quite a bit of money.

8. I've used Quick Books Business Pro for years to balance my checkbook and keep track of our expenses. Our version was nearly 10 years old and starting to do some quirky things. There was no way I could afford the business version on our present income so I bought the version for home finances. Wow! What a challenge to learn a new program when your brain is not working like it used to! But, by God's grace, (and many phone calls to their technical support and help from my daughter) I was able to figure it out. I love Quick Books for not only balancing my checking book but it also shows me exactly how much I am spending in different categories.

My in-laws blessed us with 2 visits this summer!
9. My own personal make up is a place I can cut back.  In times past I used to buy Bath and Body Works skin care program. It costs between $40-$50.  I love it and would try to make it last a year.  But, it's one of those non-essentials so I found a natural skin care soap and moisturizer at Trader Joe. The soap was around $3 and the moisturizer was $6 (or there about). What a big savings. My skin doesn't feel as soft but in the grand scheme of important things in life... who cares!?! The next goal is to learn how to touch up my hair roots so that I can save $45 every few months. YouTube here I come! :-) Update: I learned how to touch up my hair roots! YAY!

10.  I continue to hang the laundry on the clothesline because our budget can't take the hit of an extra $30 (plus) added to our electric bill from using the dryer! It's so hot during the summer that I hang it inside the garage and it dries within a few hours. This way I don't have to rush out to the garage to start a load first thing in the morning like I do in the winter time.  I have drying racks and clothes lines in the garage that I use more in the winter. I rarely have to use my dryer in the winter. I do my wash on sunny days and hang it out early.


I just LOVE this recipe!

No Sugar Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (Dairy/egg free)
1 can full fat coconut milk (or I use 1/2 can of Trader Joe Cream of Coconut)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup sugar free honey (I use 4 tbsp erythritol and 1/4 tsp. stevia)
2 cups almond milk, or coconut milk or flax seed milk
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1/3 cup diced avocado
green food coloring (opt.)
1/2 c. dark chocolate sugar free chips (Lilly's or I make my own by using 4 squares of baking chocolate with no sugar, 1 tablespoon of Coconut Butter, 1/4 tsp. stevia or more to taste and I shred some parafin wax into it. Melt in microwave and pour onto a small tin with wax paper. Freeze. Chop into small pieces.)

I use the kind of ice cream maker with the tub you put in the freezer.


This is a flavorful and spicy chicken recipe! It definitely will be a keeper!

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma


LOVE this salad! The spice on the chickpeas is so good!

Middle Eastern Spiced Chickpea Salad


So, this may be my last blog post on how to save money unless the Lord changes things! I plan on leaving this webpage up as long as it continues to get traffic.  It's been a joy getting to know you through sharing my journey of living on less money! I hope you keep in touch!

As always...I am blessed to be home!

I would love to hear from you if you ever have any questions!