Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Haircut and Lent

This past weekend Autumn and I went to San Antonio with Tia (Aislynn).  On Saturday both Aislynn and I got our hair cut, so that we could donate to Locks of Love.  Aislynn cut off 12 inches and I cut 10 inches.  Aislynn's good friend, Ali, cut our hair in her in home salon.  I have always wanted to grow out my hair and donate it, but I was never able to grow it long enough or bare cutting it short enough to reach the minimum number of inches (10 inches).  A couple of years ago I cut my hair very short, so the idea of cutting it short again wasn't near as daunting, although it was bittersweet.  I had gotten attached to my long hair.  I do think my hair is prettier long (at least I get more compliments from random strangers), but I also think it is fun and easier short. 
I'm glad Autumn was with me when I got my hair cut, otherwise she might not have recognized me.  I still remember her reaction when Andrew came back from India in October (after being away for 6 weeks) with a full beard.  She kept looking at him like "I know you, but I can't quite place you."

On another note, today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  I didn't grow up celebrating Lent, but as I have gotten older it is something I have been drawn to.  I really like the idea of giving up something for a period of time to draw closer to God.  In 2008 I gave up Mexican food.  That was SUPER hard, since I love Mexican food and could eat it EVERY single day.  In retrospect I think giving up Mexican food was a huge blessing because it really helped me in the weight loss journey I was on that year.  (I lost 25 lbs from January 2008 to July 2008.)

This year I have decided to give up going out to eat.  I usually eat out at least 2 days a week for lunch and at least 3 nights a week for dinner, plus I usually get a coffee at Starbucks at least once or twice a week.  I still need to crunch the numbers, but I think I can save quite a bit of money by not eating out during this season.  My plan is to donate the money that I save to an organization that helps the needy - probably one like Living Water International.  I am planning to participate in the traditional fast and feast days of Lent, meaning I will fast from going out to eat on Monday through Saturday and then allow myself to feast (or go out to eat once) on Sundays.  Andrew said this is cheating, but from what I can tell it is standard practice in Lent and it is encouraged in the book I am reading by Chris Seay - A Place at the Table.  In the book Chris says

"Feast days are a time for us to relax our fast and enjoy the extravagant grace of our Father.  On these days especially it is good for us to spend time with friends and family, to enjoy the taste of food in a way we may never have before, and to give thanks to God who provides all we have."

I am excited about this 40 day journey and would appreciate your encouragement.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things I have learned in my first 30 years:

I turn the big 3-0 later this year (November 20th to be exact), so I have decided to post something I have learned in my first 30 years every couple of weeks, so that by my big birthday I will have posted 30 thoughts on turning 30 – or lessons I’ve learned in my first 30 years.  The topics will range from food to spiritual lessons to things I’ve learned from being a Mom, etc.  I’ve jotted down a few topics I want to share, but I don’t have 30 yet.  I figure I will by November.  Anyways, here is numero uno:

1.    Living with less is really living more.

I’ve been on a de-cluttering/minimalism kick this year (of course we’re only a month and a half into this year).  I blogged about this briefly a couple of weeks ago.  I am nowhere near where I want to be with minimalizing /de-cluttering my home and my life, but I am working on it and the progress I have made is encouraging.   Joshua Becker has a great post on “The Heart Impact of Living with Less” today on his blog – Becoming Minimalist.

Here are a few inspiring quotes that motivate me in this new lifestyle of living with less.

·         “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus
·         “Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.”
·         You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran
·         “Minimalism – the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it – requires a conscience choice. It is a counter-cultural lifestyle that begins with the decision to pursue it.” – Joshua Becker

Basically, I feel like amassing less things will help me shift my focus to what really matters in life – faith and family and friends.  People matter – not things. 

I have always been a little bit of a shopaholic.  In high school and college I would spend every dollar I made at Old Navy or Banana Republic or Abercrombie or Starbucks – you name it.  I always thought, if I could just buy that one item I wanted then I would be happy.  I didn’t really think my happiness was dependant on these things, but I lived my life like I did.  I never got myself into debt over shopping, but I did not build up my savings during my early twenties either.  Andrew, on the other hand, saved every dollar he ever made,  Andrew's tendency to save truly served us well in our early years of marriage, because we actually had a rainy day fund, which most young couples don't have. 

Now, I am trying very hard to think through all of my purchases, and to only buy what I need.  I used to go to Target to purchase "groceries" and come out with a few clothing items for myself and Autumn.  I have been pretty good at avoiding unnecessary spending so far except for at the grocery store.  I still buy way too much food at the grocery store.  I plan to clean out my fridge, pantry, and freezer this weekend.  I think if I can clean it out good (throw away everything we don’t/won’t use or that has expired) that I will be reminded of my waste, which will further motivate me to spend less at the grocery store. 

Another reason, I think this lifestyle choice is going to "stick" is that I have "taken over" managing our finances.  In other words - Andrew has delegated the task of paying all of the bills to me.  Seeing exactly how much money comes in and where it goes is motivation for me to spend less.

I feel very committed to making this a lifestyle for my family and to teach my children to live a life with less.  I think Autumn will benefit from this as she grows up.  Of course, Autumn is not exactly living with less now – she has more clothes than any baby I have ever seen.  I plan to go through her closet and dresser another weekend.  A little bit at a time and I will get where I am going eventually.

I hope to post some before and after pictures of my kitchen and Autumn’s room soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stomping Grounds

Not much going on here lately.  Autumn is still on antibiotics for an ear infection that she's had since Christmas.  She is such a trooper, you would never even know she's had an infection.  She usually isn't fussy or cranky.  We go to an ENT next Monday to see if we should put tubes in Autumn's ears to prevent future ear infections.

Last night Autumn had her first real tantrum in a public place - HEB.  We were almost done shopping.  I had all of the items on my grocery list in the basket and Autumn starts screaming.  She had a can of rotel tomatoes and she dropped it and wanted it back, but I wouldn't give it back to her because she just wants to chew on it - gross.  Anyways she started screaming nonstop until we got through the checkout and in the car.  Fun times.

Saturday, was a much better day though.  We went to the Stomping Grounds for an hour or so before Mommy went to lunch and a movie with Tia.  Here are a few videos of Autumn having some fun sliding down the slide and climbing on the play area.  She had a blast and it was relatively cheap, so I definitely see us going back soon.

We are tentatively planning to take Autumn to Sesame Street Live on Sunday, so hopefully I will have some good videos and pictures to update the blog with on Monday.