Monday, March 2, 2009

Within Means

{Art by Thomas Kinkade}

I have been thinking a lot lately about living within our means. We have, at times, over the last 17 years lived beyond our financial means. But what a beautiful thing it is to grow and mature, learn lessons, and make mistakes. We've come to a place where we get by without debt and borrowing.

There are other ways of living beyond ones means. By living beyond our space. By cramming loads of un-needed stuff into a space that might otherwise fit our family just fine. Thus the bigger, better saga begins.

This has been a much harder lesson to learn for me. I am a reformed collector and generally a vintage housewares junkie. Anything that caught my eye I wanted to collect. It never dawned on me that I might just be able to have that ONE thing, and not an entire collection. For many years, I stuffed our home with those things I found beautiful, but not necessarily useful. It has taken me a long time to let go. When I go *treasure~hunting* now, I have more purpose in mind. More needs in mind, instead if wants. That sounds funny to me though, because *really*, what do I need. At any rate, I have had a shift in mindset, and that is progress.

I think back to those years and wish I had known better. Feeling cramped in a 700 sq. foot house that would have suited our family just fine, had I not been keeping so much we didn't need. I long to talk some sense into my younger self. As you might expect, after we had a few more kids, we enlarged our house and bought even more stuff. Our house is now 1600 sq. feet. I am very grateful for the extra space, but feel it might have been unnecessary, had I known what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20, you know. LOL.

For the past 2 or 3 years I have been on a mission to rid our home of stuff, while still keeping it warm, cozy, and inviting. I have been freed from the burden of caring for things and enjoy caring for my family instead. We are living within our spacial means and I am so happy.

I have to keep at this daily, ever mindful of too much stuff creeping in. I have gotten really good at giving things away, and I am still not done. My children understand that it we don't need or use an item, we pass it on to bless someone else.

We are having a lovely and productive day, and I hope you are too.

In God's Love, Tami

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Birds Return

The truth is that they never *completely* go away. But wow, are the masses back. We had seven different varieties hanging around our feeder the other morning. Most of them were in flocks, so there were a lot of birds. We love to gather around our dining room window and watch them interact.

We had tons of Robins, Stellar Jays, Juncos, Chickadees, Starlings, House Sparrows, and Wrens. I think the birds were a little excited about the recently filled feeders.

This blurry picture is of a Dark-Eyed Junco. These little guys are so cute, and everywhere.

These are our two favorite bird books. I especially love the Reader's Digest book. Beautiful illustrations.

A perfect opportunity to get out our nature journals and draw those cute critters.
We can look forward to the next three seasons of bird watching, feeding, and marveling. Our resident pair of House Sparrows will start with their first batch of babies in late April. They usually have 3 or 4 batches. This is so exciting for my kiddos. We got to witness 2 fledglings leaving the nest for the first time last Mother's Day. That was very special.
Spring is very close. I can't wait.
Have a blessed and productive day.
In God's Love, Tami