Thursday, February 28, 2008

Grandma Gatewood and the Appalachian Trail

Women I admire. First my Mom, second my grandmother Tera, thirdly this lady. Grandma Gatewood. She was born eighth of fifteen children of a civil war veteren and his wife. At the age of 67 she decided to hike the 2,168 mile Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine and she did. Not once, but several times and hiked other trails as well.

After raising her own eleven children, Grandma Gatewood, who then was a great grandmother, set out on her journey. Hikers today wouldn't dream of setting out on a trail w/o the best and lightest of gear. Grandma Gatewood always hiked in her hightop Keds with a canvas duffel holding all her supplies slung over one shoulder. She was the first female to ever hike the entire trail and at 67! She proved once and for all that you do not have to be a young male to be an excellent athelete.

The book "Walking the Appalachian Trail" by Larry Luxenberg has this funny excerpt about her:

Walking the Appalachian Trail

"Grandma Gatewood's formal education in a one-room school ended at eighth grade, but she had the practical knowledge and self-sufficient attitude useful in farm life. Her store of medical lore made her prized among her neighbors. She had, as well a better-than-common knowledge of plants and often arose at 4:00 or 4:30 am to tend her treasured flower beds by kerosene lantern light before getting tied down with the day's chores. She was an accomplished quilt and rugmaker, poet, and prolific correspondent. Lucy (her grand daughter) said that a typical day's entry in Grandma's diary would say that she mowed the grass, worked in the garden, fixed the underpinings of some trailers, dug up potatoes, and on and on. At the end she'd write, "I'm tired""

What an inspiring woman- I want to be like Grandma!!

Another book I like about the A.T. is "A Walk In the Woods" By Bill Bryson. It is crack you up funny. Now if anyone thinks I am getting any more harebrained ideas....I AM!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eliminating Clutter-Paper

*Note: Four babies died yesterday. The rest of them, all 22 are expected to make it. The trip in the mail all the way from Iowa to Louisiana was hard on them. :(

Eliminating paper clutter- ughh- The worst of all clutter. The hardest as well! How do you know what to get rid of and what to keep? I'm writing about this to maybe inspire me to do it today :).

It's a process of: eliminating the unnecessary, taking care of the important and organizing, filing and storing what's necessary

I have read that you should have a spot to sit down that is specially designated for taking care of bills and paperwork. In a small house this is not possible. Some rooms have to do double duty. All of my paperwork is done at the computer or kitchen table. Everything is stored in either my holding basket or my small closet where I keep my files.

First Step: Eliminate paper clutter at it's source. Call companies that send out catalogs and brochures and ask them to take you off of their mailing list. You'll eliminate clutter and you'll help curb the destruction of trees to produce these catalogs. Remove yourself from all the mailing lists that you are aware of. Instead opt for e-mail notification of new products or sales you might be interested in.

If you have decided to live debt free and rid yourself of credit cards, freeze your credit report. It can be unfrozen if you need to have your credit checked. This helps eliminate credit card offers.

Next: Have shredder handy (small ones are inexpensive). Sort and open mail daily. Immediately if possible. Throw away all junk mail and envelopes and offers. Shred any sensitive material such as credit card offers and anything with personal info on it. Plain non-waxy paper may be shredded and used in compost and bedding for small animals such as chickens.

Then: Put all papers in a holding area. I put papers I am not handling immediately in a holding basket. Every week to two weeks I go through the basket.

Types of Paper:

Business: Contracts, Receipts, back-up disc, license

All business contracts are filed in a folder marked as such and all dates are marked in my daily calender, Receipts are filed in a simple folder marked receipts, my business disc is backed up each time I record in quickbooks and is filed with my other important discs. License renewals are taken care of at the begining of the year then filed as such.

Personal: bills, investment and bank statements,

A binder with pockets is perfect for holding monthly bills. Pay as many bills as you can on-line and write down the confirmation number in your checkbook record. If it is a bill you claim on your taxes, print a paid receipt.

All investment statements can be hole punched an stored in the binder until a new one comes in. Then store them in a file folder.

You can balance your checkbook weekly on-line. When my statements come in compare them if you have a question. Remove any checks used for tax receipts and file them with the appropriate information. Then file the statements together.

Important Documents: birth certificate, marriage license, immunization records for children, titles, insurance-car and house, bonds, wills

Keep all together in a folder. That way in case of a hurricane or emergency, simply grab the folder and run.

Taxes: Any receipts or papers to be used for taxes

Most people keep all receipts because they do not know which receipts they should keep. Throw away: groceries, fast food, small purchases. Keep: large purchases and any receipts needed for taxes-medical, business expenses, charitible giving etc.. You can also scan receipts and store them on a disc. This is nice since heat sensitive receipts fade.

Children: Artwork, report cards, awards

Keep exceptional drawings, writings, or artwork, end of year report cards, exceptional certificates. (I don't keep perfect attendance, I did keep Tera's certificate for the highest science score on the leap test - who says girls arn't good in science?) Then keep each child's work in a box marked with their name.

Warranties: File warranties and owners manuals along with purchase receipts in a large binder. Slip them in clear pockets and put them in the binder. Once a year remove any that you do not have anymore.

Do not create too many files. It gets too tedious. For example: Do not create, electric bills, gas bills, insurance bills, - Just create, Paid Bills. They can be separated easily at the end of the year for any you might need for taxes.

At the end of the year, put everything (except your children's artwork and warranties) in a box, mark it "2008", put your tax return info on top and put them in a closet or attic. Yer dun!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Babies are Here!

The chickies are here! Yesterday I felt like an expectant mother. Calling the post office as often as I dared, hoping they wouldn't think I was obsessive. I are they going to make that long trip in the mail? (Byron told the girls, "They put a stamp on each chickies head and ship them out!") Then I reminded myself that chicks have been shipped in the mail for years. My Grandmother got her chicks through the mail. So, I consoled myself. Today Byron called the PO at 5:00 am, and the PO Lady said, "I think that's what I'm hearing!" Our chicks arrived safe and sound. Their first day here we are having awful winds and driving rain. We'll see how Byron's coop stands the test! :D

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eliminating Clutter-Collecting

When I first got married. I had room for everything. Collecting consisted of getting the things I needed! As you know, After being married for a while it's a matter of, "How did all of this get in my house?"

It just seems as if clutter sneaks up on you. With a small house it's very important for everything to have a place. This makes it much easier to quickly clean. Having everything neatly in place also makes finding something a breeze.

I know clutter is a problem for most everyone. So, I thought you might enjoy reading about my stratagies for defeating clutter. I must say it is a daily thought process. The things that I find get out of control quickly are: Paper, clothing, and collections. I'll start with collections.

There are so many things I like. I love china, tea cups, tea pots, milk ware, pyrex, trays, books, shoes... hmm old hats, flower pots, plants, nature items (nests, feathers, dead locusts, shells, turtle shell), magazines...and other things. Anyway, when After being married for a while, I found that I had a mix match of a lot of things and no where to put them. My collection needed to be pared down.

So how was I to accomplish this? I picked my most favorite things, and gave away everything else to people who admired them. Do I miss them. No, I don't. I thought I would, but I don't!

I now only actively collect nature items, old pyrex bowls and books. I kept my teapots and milkware, but I do not actively collect them. I do not buy anything new except books. I buy used books and pyrex bowls (from thrift stores). The nature items? They're free. I just go outside!! When I am finished with a magazine, I pass it on. If there is an article I really love, I tear it out and keep them in a separate file.

I chose old pyrex bowls because I love their color and they are so useful (see pic). When I have extra company or parties, hey I just use my decor, the pyrex bowls! I collect books because I love them. They are useful and beautiful. The nature items? I just love to look at and touch them.

Things you can do to eliminate collection clutter:

Decide what you really love

Do not keep anything because "It might be valuble one day."

Do not keep items only because someone gave it to you (Unless it is important. I kept a candy dish owned by my grandmother, but I did give away a crystal candy dish given to me by a past co-worker)

If you're not sure about something. Put it in the attic or away for awhile and see if you can live without it. If in three months you don't miss it. Get rid of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Road I Walk

I read somewhere that a walk contributes to longevity. Fortunately for me, I have a wonderful levee path in my back yard.

This morning after seeing the girls off on the bus, I put on my hiking boots and headed for the levee path. (I'm breaking in my boots for a future trip.) When I reached my back yard I saw that one of my pecan trees was full of small birds. I'm not sure what kind they were because they were so high up. They looked greyish brown and had a sort of point like a hood on the back of their heads. I have seen the most amazing birds in my back yard and along the levee.

The other day while walking, I saw two crows driving a horned owl from tree to tree. I assume they were not happy about him being in their territory. There is a hawk that surveys the neighboring fields from the top of my pecan trees. I also saw two bald eagles not too long ago. That was a thrilling experience.

Walking allows me to think. Sometimes more than I want to! I think of good things. I think of bad things. But by the end of the walk, I have all these things neatly reasoned, solved, and filed away in the circuits of my mind.

Walking certainly contributes to the deliberate lifestyle. Flying in an airplane you see clouds. Riding in a car you see trees. Riding on a bike you see flowers. Walking you see everything.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Around the Garden

This is the chicken coop. Byron is going to finish it, and I have to paint it becuase the chickies are coming in next week. He'll build the run next.
Strawberries! North of Lake Ponchatrain strawberries are a major cash crop. I'm hoping to get a little patch of them established in my potager. (Pardon the cypress mulch, I'm using the leftovers from my ignorant days.)
I think my first cabbage is ready to pick. Cabbages are beautiful. This one's leaf edges are tinged pinkish purple.
This is the loose leaf lettuce patch. I love the different colors. Slugs have left my lettuce alone, but they're chowing down on my turnips and beets.
Look how big the garlic is getting. This is my first time growing garlic. From what I understand it is a long season crop. It should be ready next october. Wow that's a long wait.

This is my broccoli. I learned that once you cut the main head of broccoli, little shoots come out where the leaves join the stems. A bonus crop!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Learning to live deliberately

The other day when shopping with my mother, I found myself scarfing down Raising Cane's chicken fingers without even tasting them. Stop slow down! I ordered myself to slow down and actually taste the food. I want to do everything in my life deliberately with thought and purpose.


1 : characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration 2 : characterized by awareness of the consequences 3 : slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved

I have decided to do everything, even mundane chores with thought and deliberateness.

There are some I know who live their life in a dizzing pace of busyness. When ever I see them there is just a quick insincere peck on the cheek with a, "I'm so crazy busy...just on my way out...catch up with you later...(peck peck) goodbye!!"

They are not happy. Nope. They give no signs of happiness. I just see tired hamsters on hamster wheels. Fancy expensive hamster wheels. Busy busy and no time to enjoy. I have lived that type of life before and I am much happier now.

I looked and thought about what I can change in order to live my life in a more deliberate manner:

  • drive the speed limit.

  • write in a journal daily

  • make a daily to do list that is prioritized

  • stay out of shopping centers that are designed to make you want to buy

  • do not have a television-(which makes you feel as if your normal life is inadequate)

  • take time to look and appreciate the things that my family and I have accomplished

  • think about my chores when I do them

  • go outside everyday - Even when it rains

  • give thanks to God everyday for the air I breathe

Friday, February 15, 2008

$29.55 Electric Bill

The lowest electric bill to date $29.55. That's 10.8 killowats a day =). I know, I know, It's not summer and it's a short month, but still the average usage is the lowest ever.

I've run all over the house identifying ghost loads and unplugging things. Drying clothes in the sun. Nagging everyone to, "Go back and cut that light off!" I say "cut" the light off. People from Maryland ask, "How do you cut a light off?" We mean "turn" off the light. My kids now run out of their room, look startled and say, "oops", then run back in and turn off the light. They love it if a light is on when we return home at night. They look accusingly at one another and say, "oooo who left a light on?" As they each in return yell, "Not me, Tera did, Talia did, Seleste did etc."

I'm looking forward to the day when we can install a solar system and get off the grid. It makes so much sense to me to be self sufficient. Here are some sites I really like.

This really convinced me.

Mountain Top Removal

Path to Freedom

Kansas Wind Power

Living Foods Dehydrator

Earth 911 - Energy

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cypress Trees and Look what I grew!

Sarah left two web sites on the comment section of my last post. I haven't had time to explore them completely, but I wanted to post links. One is about the loss of cypress tree swamps. Almost all of the old giants are gone. Logged years ago. Hundreds and hundreds of years of growth, gone in just one generation. I have used cypress mulch to mulch my landscape. I thought that it was made up of scraps from the lumber industry. Never in my wildest dreams did I know the true story.

Companies are clear cutting cypress swamps. Entire trees are fed into shredders to supply our nation's cypress mulch desire. I can't even imagine shredding these beautiful trees that withstand flooding and hurricanes. They are one of the main stabalizers of soil in the swamp. NO wonder our land is being swept out to sea.

If you use cypress mulch, PLEASE PLEASE STOP RIGHT NOW!! Choose a friendlier mulch. Such as pine straw, leaves, grass. Last year I raked up all of the needles that my cypress tree dropped and it made the most beautiful red mulch for my garden. I also raked all of the pecan leaves and am now mulching them for my veggie garden. If any of my pics show bits of cypress mulch, it is left over from my previous ignorance.
Save Our Cypress

Here is another site about keeping the Gulf of Mexico Healthy

Healthy Gulf

And here is my pic from dinner today. I GREW EVERYTHING BUT THE TOMATOES!!!!

Lettuce mix, beets and brocolli! I'm on my way folks. Soon I'll be veggie self sufficient :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

America's Wetland

Here is a web site with some great information on the disapearing wetlands. There are comparison maps to show how much land has been lost since the institution of the levee system. There is a video that also explains how the taxes are distributed from the oil proceeds. It also explains why the wetlands is the entire United States responsibility, for the well being of our country and the local ecology.

America's Wetland

Garland Robinette, a local personality, has also painted a painting that can be bid on. You can also purchase a print of it. All of the proceeds go towards preserving the wetlands.

WWL Garland Robinette's Painting

Unless something drastic is done, the wetlands will continue to disapear at an alarming rate. Our communities will continue to lose protection from large storms such as Katrina. There are things that can be done.

I took my girls to see "Hurricane on the Bayou" at the Audubon Aquarium. Tears rolled down my checks the entire time. I know all the tourists watching might have thought I was crazy, but it just brought everything back. It's really very positive and shows what can be done to reverse the present damage.

Hurricane on the Bayou

Monday, February 11, 2008

Really Great Candlesticks!

I went shopping with my parents today. We spent the day making a big loop around New Orleans hitting all the furniture stores I thought would intrest my mother. Georgian, Dillards, Christian Street Furniture, Doerr, and finally Hopkins Imports.

My parents house had four feet of water in the house after Katrina. See my sister's blog "Aprons and Music" for some pics. The house is already off of the ground several feet so they estimated that there was about eight feet of standing water. (please don't say we shouldn't live where hurricanes flood the land. The oil industry has crisscrossed our wetlands with canals to move equipment and inspect pipelines and the gulf has intruded and swept away land to the tune of acres a day. The federal government recieves the majority of tax revenues from the oil not Louisiana thanks to our own re-elected numerous times crooked politicians. Thank you for selling us out. Sorry about the rant. I will post some more info on this later- like don't buy cypress mulch-hey U.S.A. remember the high gas prices after Katrina? - save the wetlands!!!! Sorry I know you're confused I'll clarify later-I am grateful for everything everyone has done to help make it better.)


Anyway, they have to replace all their furniture. We bought some really great base peices and we are going to see what we can pull together from what she salvaged.

But I found these great candlesticks!!! They are excactly what I've been looking for. They are BIG, and they'll last forever. Unless we have to burn them for heat :-) Hey even if there is another flood I could probably float out on them and then polish them up and use them for many more years. They go great with my new bedroom set. I waited 14 years to buy my bedroom set. The salvaged doors I used for my headboard worked fine until I could find exactly what I wanted and it took 14 years.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Marvelous Marsh- Jean Lafitte and the Baratarians

New Orleans gets a bad rap. It's only known for it's wanton reputation. But there is a wealth of beauty for nature lovers to consume, if only they know where to go and are not afraid of the swamp!

Yesterday Byron and I went to the Jean Lafitte National Preserve to break in our new hiking boots and heft around some weight in our new backpacks. That trip to the Grand Canyon is sneaking up fast and we have to snag some training time.

A long time ago there was a notorious pirate named Jean Lafitte. He and his ragtag band of "Baratarians" crisscrossed the swamp and bayous with their booty of ill gotten gain, selling to the wealthy planters and citizens of New Orleans. Not much is known about Jean Lafitte, because that is how he desired it. It is known that he sent goods and men to help Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812.

Well, Jean Lafitte park is right in the same area where this band of pirates made their home base. What a great place they picked. Mushy, swampy, spooky, mysterious, foggy, and full of all kinds of frightful delightful creatures, Alligators, cottonmouth snakes, copperhead snakes, mosquitos! Enough to scare off all but the most courageous or fool hardy!

Not really. The park has done a great job of installing board walks throughout so that you don't have to get your designer boots in the least bit dirty. There are trails for those who like to get their designer boots dirty. But remember this isn't Disney World. There are real alligators and snakes there and you are not viewing over a guard bar. It is a very real, up close, fun experience. You must be quick to catch the flitting of a butterfly, snake or bird and serenely still to pick out the snout of an alligator peeking up from the midst of submerged logs and duck weed. In April the swamp puts on its spring glory in the form of irises, yellowtops, and water hycinths. Fall brings out the firey reds, yellows and maroons of swamp foliage, and the winter berries stand out stark against the grey sky and water.

Sometimes people miss all that Louisiana has to offer because it isn't turned up on end like some other really beautiful places-Wyoming, Colorado, Kentucky etc.. You have to immerse yourself to experience the beauty of nature in Louisiana. It doesn't present itself on a wide screen mountain for comfortable viewing from the car. These pictures are from our little romp in Jean Lafitte National Preserve yesterday.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Thankful Heart

With all the hearts that accompany Valentine's Day, I've been thinking about how key the heart is to contentment. Physical pain is connected specifically to the part of your body that has been injured, but the injured spirit or emotions is felt in the heart. A sinking heart. A broken heart. A light heart. We just seem to feel all of our emotions right in the center of our chest.

With physical pain rest is needed and some medications to speed healing. With the heart thankfulness is a great healer. I have a friend who has never known who her father is and probably never will. Instead of focusing on her loss, she is focusing on what she does have: The ability to insure that her daughter knows and has her father.

It's very easy to let the past or present pain we have experienced in our lives overwhelm the joy we should be enjoying from what we do have. I'm not saying that we should look at the pain of others and say, "we'll at least I'm not..... or I don't have...." Doing that doesn't heal the pain that you are really experiencing. But looking at your life honestly and saying, "Yes, this is happening and this is wrong, but I can do.......about it."

Learning to recognize what you do have control over and letting go that which you do not have control over is a great liberator. Honesty is the key in the ability to do that. Some blame others for what has happened to them. In many cases this is true (in some cases the pain we are experiencing is a direct result of bad decisions we have made), but what you choose to do with it is all up to you. When we say, "This has happened to me, I am a victim.", you are powerless. When we say, "This has happend to me or I created this mess, but I can/will do this...." you have just created fertile ground for a thankful heart to grow and progress to be made. Even if you can only make a tiny step forward, it is still a step forward.

I Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Thankfullness is key to Contentment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tax Time

Yes tommorrow is the day I visit the accountant to get the taxes done. Much of the day was spent getting together all of the papers I will need. I'm still not completely done, just a little more to do, but after all that paper work I need a break.

Today is just too beautiful to be inside all day, so I took a walk on the levee. There are still ships lining the banks waiting to get into port. You just never know what your going to see along the levee. I have spotted: alligators (I even had an alligator visit my back yard once), otters, bald eagles, hawks, cardinals, killdeers, coyotes, snakes, turtles, owls, and numerous types of other birds. I love this time of year though. The clover is turning the fields green and the citrus orchards have just been pruned. Soon the air will be scented with the sweet heavy scent of citrus blossoms. Wonderful!!!!

After looking at my garden and my cold frames, I noticed that the cheerokee purple tomatoes, the egg yolk and the mini tomato variety have begun to germinate. I also picked my first snow pea and ate it right there. Yummy. I harvested two large heads of brocolli as well. The arugula, tom thumb lettuce and pak choy have also sprouted. Soon I might gamble and go ahead and plant corn. It's just that spring is so tricky here. Sometimes it is 40 degrees outside and the next day it is 79 or 80 degrees (like yesterday).

After tomorrow I won't have to think about taxes for at least a year :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ships in the Fog

There are four ships anchored behind our home. They can't get into port right now because of Mardi Gras. Last night Me, Byron, Talia and Josephine the cat went up on the levee to look at the ships. The fog was thick and the wind was blowing. It was such a black night. The stars sparkled. It was really beautiful to watch the patterns of the fog roll in the wind. From the east the cool fog was rolling and from the west the warm air off of the swamp was blowing. We could feel the cool fog one moment and then a warm breeze would sweep it to the side. The trees on the batture added to the eerie ambiance.
This morning the girls ran out to watch one ship pull up anchor. What a racket they make when letting down or pulling up the anchor chain. We do not take part in the drunken revelries of Mardi Gras. Instead, Today we're heading over to a state park to enjoy a church family picnic.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Getting Ready for Chickens

Who could be a respectable self-sustaining citizen without chickens? We're getting chickens soon! They are on order from Murray McMurray Hatcheries. After much discussion on which breeds to get, we decided on getting the meat and egg combo with the specific condition that I do not have to take part in any chicken slaughters. Nor do I have to be near it.
Byron's been very busy building the coop. It's looking really great. We modified some plans that we found on the LSU Cooperative Extension web site. Most of the materials used were leftovers from other projects. The run will be 20' X 20'. The back of the coop will be accessible from the outside of the run. So if I'm in a hurry some days (when I have weddings), I don't have to go into the run to collect eggs or feed and water the chickens.
I also plan to have some "chicken tractors" so the chickens can be moved around the yard. In the future I'd like to fence in my veggie garden. That way the chickens can feast upon all the veggie pests.
The coop and run should be finished by the end of this month. Then Byron's going to put in a few more raised beds for the veggie garden.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cookin' in my Solar Oven!

Finally! A sunny day. This whole week has been rainy, windy and cold. Today is magnificent. So, since the sun will be out today, I decided to cook something in my solar oven I got for Christmas and hang the clothes outside to dry. Zero emmissions, just the power of the sun! I really believe that the sun is the way to go with renewable energy. No turbines to kill birds (maybe they can improve this), no blowing up mountains to extract coal, no nasty smoke and if the sun goes out we won't need energy anyway :)

I decided to cook winter squash. I'm going to simply bake it until it is tender. Some items that are very easy to cook in the oven is: Chicken (stewed or baked), Roast, potatos, carrots, really you can cook most things. You can even bake in it (pizza, biscuits, bread). I have not done this yet, but I will this summer. 350 degrees is the highest temperature I have recorded in it so far. This summer I am expecting it to get to it's max temp of 450 degrees.

The solar oven will help me keep the house cool during the summer time by moving the cooking outside. Our biggest energy drain in this area is air conditioning.

Garden: Today I planted strawberries and gave the whole garden a dose of organic fertilizer. I also fertilized all of the citrus trees.

Byron started our chicken coop today! It's looking really great. I will post pictures soon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Debt Free and Contentment

Being debt free was unthinkable for us just five years ago. I've heard it said that most newly weds spend their first few years trying to live the same lifestyle that it took their parents thirty years to achieve. Byron and I were pretty much following this trend. Then I started a new business (and yes I thought the way to do it was to borrow instead of growing slowly). If we could afford the monthly payments and we wanted it, we got it. All of this stuff never brought any happiness or peace after the immediate joy of getting it! Then, I developed Graves disease and didn't know it immediately. In short, you get weak, can't sleep and you feel as if you are losing your mind. Thanks to my God, husband, family, dear friends and Dave Ramsey's know how, we are debt free, and I am well. We have completed all of the steps listed in Dave's program and it really works. I trudged on at it by myself at first, but when Byron jumped aboard the train took off!

Some have told me that being debt free in our society is impossible. I know that this is not true. Yes, you do have to lower your sense of self worth and pride must go out the window. For example, in the past a friend of mine was having serious money problems and it was putting her marriage in jeaprody. The home they were renting was in a very pricey neighborhood. When I told her maybe they ought to move. She informed me that, "I deserve a nice place to live!" She was barely twenty and had done nothing to benifit her husband, community, church or herself. I was wondering exactly why she "deserved" this home.

Because we breathe doesn't mean we deserve: a nice house, a nice car, money, etc... We deserve nothing except-life and liberty. Maybe you will have to drive a "junker" for a while to avoid a car note. Ironically, now that we have worked hard, very hard, to get rid of our debt we can afford to pay cash for those things that we want. Maybe we "deserve" it now???

One of the best things that Byron and I have ever done is to get out of debt and step out of the consumer mentality. I now only work when I feel like it and around my family's schedule. My husband and children are my responsibility. NOT anyone elses (I mean that.) That is why I chose to marry a good man first and have children after. My children do "deserve" a Mother and a Father if at all possible. They are the innocents. This is the best for children, and I did my best to make this possible by marrying an honest man of my same faith. Our entire budget is based upon Byron's salery and mine is the have fun money!

I Timothy 6:6-8 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." Throughout our "getting out of debt" period, I posted this scripture on my refridgerator to remind me of what brings contentment. I have tried the other way and was not happy. I have tried this way, and I have more peace and contentment in my life than I dreamed possible.