Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Lessons from Thirty Days of Almost Nothing

Our “Thirty Days of Almost Nothing” experiment is over and after having some time to reflect I feel I have learned many things.
The first thing I learned is that I really don’t need Ziploc bags.  If you have read some of my earlier posts, you will know that I love Ziplocs. At first they were one of the hardest things to give up for me.  Sad but true.  What I realized though is that there are so many bags that come with the packaging of our milk that if I wash and reuse what I have we have more than enough. The outside bag that usually holds the three inner litres of milk makes a great freezer bag.  They are especially good for repackaging meat as they don’t leak.

The second thing that I have learned is that we save a lot of money by making our own cleaners, hand soap and laundry detergent.  In a house of six people and two dogs you can probably imagine that there is always lots to clean.  We started making our own natural cleaners after Liam got sick for health reasons.  I wanted to eliminate as many chemicals in our house as possible.  I didn’t realize at the time that we spent quite a bit of our grocery budget on kitchen cleaners, bathroom cleaners, window cleaner and floor cleaner.  We now make all of our cleaners and not only are we more comfortable with the health risks of natural cleaners but we are saving a bundle.  With new homemade cleaners I started thinking of other things I could make myself for this thirty day experiment.  As you know, we made our own laundry soap which now only costs us pennies a load and we also made our own hand soap and refilled our dispensers.  Not only does it not take a lot of time but these changes have helped our budget tremendously.  These are definitely changes that we will keep now that our challenge is over.

The third thing I learned was that this experiment was not that hard.  I really did not feel that I was being deprived or that I was depriving my family.  Sometimes I think I get caught up in the mentality that I need to provide my kids with the best experiences, the best extra curricular activities, the best educational experiences.  There is a freedom in having less choice.  It is not that any of the things that I want for my kids are necessarily bad it is just that they may not be the best choice.  What I realized on this short journey is that what my kids want and need the most is time with their dad and I.  If we are always out doing activities, when will we find time for our family?  Our kids need us to ground them.  To create a safe place at home where they know that their parents want to spend time with them.  A place where they can tell about their day and ask questions, a place where can just be who they are.  During our thirty days, we read to our kids each night, we went for great hikes in our neighbourhood, we ate simple meals together around our dining room table and we had great discussions about our experiment.  The key word in all of this was that we did it together.  It did not really matter what we were doing but more that we were doing it together. 

The final and really most difficult thing that I continue to struggle with is...“How do I as one who loves Jesus and wants to love as He loved, reconcile the needs of our global world with my everyday ordinary life in an wealthy nation such as Canada?”  I will be honest.  This one makes my brain hurt.  My bank account balance confuses and frightens me into thinking that I am not rich and yet I am probably in the top 1% of the world wealth.  On the website www.globalissues.org I found these disturbing statistics.

“Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity.”

Can I even begin to imagine what it would be like to live on under $2.00 a day?  To raise a family that you love on that amount?  I know that God’s heart breaks for those who are suffering in poverty stricken nations.  I know that as my children wake up this morning and begin to drive me crazy with their rambunctiousness, that on the other side of the world there will be mother’s crying because their children did not wake up at all.  I know that today, as my children complain about their homework, that in many countries there are children who can not go to school because they need to spend all of their time getting clean water.  I know that as I sit this morning and spend time with Jesus and read His word that there are brothers and sisters in Christ whose lives are in danger because they have one bible in their house.   How do my actions and decisions in the everyday details of my life reflect my heart that God continues to shape and mold to His?

I guess that is where this experiment does not end.  The number one thing that I have learned from this is that I don’t really want this to be an experiment at all.  I guess what I have always wanted and continue to work out is my life verse that picked years ago.

“When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with
Jesus.”   Acts 4:13 (Holman Christian Standard)

I love the word boldness.  It means without fear, willing to take risks, confident and courageous.  When it is all said and done I want a life without fear that is continually changed by Him.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kim, Great post... I would love to try this out in the near future. I think my children would really benefit from such an experiment. With the wedding and birthdays and medical appointments, I think we'll wait just a little while. We've been trying to think of ways of leading simpler lives - it's just so hard in this day and age.

    Congrats to you and your family!!!

    Love Julie