Hello all! As I mentioned in my last post (back in early May), I made the conscious choice earlier this year to spend less time online, specifically on social media, and have no regrets so far with that decision. Not only is there less drama in my life, but I have more time to do other things, like hang out with my kids and read books while they play in the pool. So far it has been a win-win. And even though I still work online, blogging got thrown into the "social media" pot so I haven't been on here as much either, but today I wanted to jump on to highlight one of the books I just finished up from The Stack. I got sidetracked by several ebooks on my Kindle (currently reading Junkyard Planet by Adam Minter - which has been really interesting), so my progress on the Nightstand Stack has slowed a bit. However, I'm still plugging away, and hoping to make the most of the next 6 months. I'll keep you posted. 😊
As a reminder, here are the list of books that I started out with from the FRONT stack on my nightstand.
Boundaries with Teens- Read the Review
- The Enchanted Hour
Agatha: The real life of Agatha Christie- Read the Review Poirot and Me- Read Review Below 👇 Sugar Changed the World- Read the Review To the Land of Long Lost Friends- Read the Review
- Is God anti-gay?
The Girls of Atomic City- Read Review Below 👇
- How to Raise an Elephant
Dear Mrs. Bird- Read Review Below 👇
- The Feather Thief
- Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs
- What She Ate
- Hank & Jim
- Don't Overthink It
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (the only one I've read before, but not this version)
- The Quotable Tozer
- 7 Men
- Exploring According to Og the Frog - Read my Goodreads Review
- Haffertee's First Easter - Read my Goodreads Review
- Unbroken (Adapted for Young Adults) - Read my Goodreads Review
- The Hobbit (Illustrated by Michael Hague) - Read my Goodreads Review
- Elisabeth Elliot: Do the Next Thing - Read my Goodreads Review
- Where Is the Colosseum? - Read my Goodreads Review
- Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts - Read my Goodreads Review
- Adoniram Judson: Danger on the Streets of Gold - Read my Goodreads Review
Which is why when, earlier this month, I found myself stressing over looming bills and shrinking bank accounts, I was pulled up short when I realized I was right back to where I was in 2011. How did that happen? Well, I'll tell you: old habits and new kids.
Old habits like, "I don't really feel like cooking tonight," (which, even as I was typing that, reminded me that I needed to start the Crock-Pot for dinner) crept back in. Only this time there were seven of us, so Japanese takeout now costs $70, rather than $20. 🙅 The occasional stop for ice cream after a school event takes $30 when you're dishing up six bowls instead of two, and now that some of them are getting older, a stop at Starbucks is often a $15 splurge, rather than a $5 treat. It all adds up.
Although most of the time I'm pretty good about telling myself I don't need the new pair of pants or that cute sweater, it's harder when I'm out and see clothes on sale that would fit my kids. I mean, I'm saving money, right? They're so hard on clothes, and it's nice not to have to pay full-price for something when I have a stash downstairs that I got on clearance. But you know what's NOT a bargain? Hitting up so many sales that I forget what I have and when I finally dig it out...they've outgrown it. True story, I'm embarrassed to admit.
|Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash|
Feeling thus overwhelmed, I signed up to take part in the Uncluttered course (nope, that's not an affiliate link) that minimalist Joshua Becker hosts several times a year. All participants receive a lifetime membership to participate in the course, and also maintain access to the private Facebook group. I can't say that the course itself was particularly life changing for me...but the private group has been a great source of ongoing encouragement. Seeing what others are doing, purging, changing, has been a reminder that I shouldn't give up.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that people were beginning to share their "why" for continuing the clean out. One woman said that her why was becoming debt free, and as soon as I read it, I knew that I needed to get back on the bandwagon. While we're not in debt - outside of a mortgage (yes, we paid it off but, long story short, we once again have a small mortgage on our home) - we're also not exactly rolling in savings. Another woman shared that whenever she thought about buying something, she transferred that same amount into her savings account, which triggered a memory of a time when I was doing the same thing (see: paid off house in 2012). It's just one of many good habits that need to be pulled from the mothballs.
This year, my WHY for minimalizing and simplifying really comes down to the money. It's not just about making multiple trips to donate excess goods, but about stemming the tide coming in as well - not just because it's stuff, but because it represents resources that could be much better spent elsewhere. As I look ahead at current and upcoming expenses, I realize that the not-so-little $40 and $70 expenditures, even if it's "saving" me money, have really added up. It's time to remember that every time I'm saying "yes" to something with my money, I'm saying "no" to something else...something that's probably way more important.
My why for #minimalismsimplified in 2020 is about financial freedom. Or, as Becker put in on a post he shared last week, "Just because it's on sale, doesn't mean I need it." 😏
Hello fellow bookworms and casual readers! The news this week is slim, in that I'm still working my way through several of the books from my stack (and e-reader), but I did manage to finish one of the books I've been reading with the kids, so that will be the focus of today's post. If you don't know who Tony Evans is, keep reading. If you work with kids in any way (parent, teacher, grandparent, church leader, etc.), keep reading. If you've been looking for a way to explain why Ephesians 6 is important, keep reading. If you don't fit into any of those categories, but you'd like to understand more about the armor of God, keep reading!
I can't remember exactly when I picked up his Armor of God book for kids, but I believe it might have been on special during an Amazon Prime day, a few summers back. I recognized his name, and even though I knew the kids weren't ready for all of those concepts yet, I thought I might as well pick it up and put it on the shelf for the day that they were. This past fall, one of our girls was asking me about the armor of God and what that meant, and I immediately thought about Tony's book, still stuffed in a drawer in our library, waiting for the right time to emerge. I sensed that the time was coming, but then Christmas was upon us and all of our Christmas tales took the place of the usual nightly reading, so it would have to wait. But when January rolled around and things got back to normal, I added Dr. Evans book to our reading rotation, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect as our pastor announced that we would be working through the book of Ephesians this year. Well there you go!
A Kid's Guide to the Armor of God is a basic overview of the armor, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18, but simplified. Honestly, if you're an adult who isn't sure how it all works together, or what it even means, or if you know a new Christian who needs a basic overview, this is a good book to get you going, written on a level that makes it palatable, even to those who don't have a full understanding of all the "Christianese" that is often thrown around in other books. Our kids (ages 8-12) particularly liked the questions that are asked throughout the book, because it made them think through what we had just read, and they were often a catalyst for further, deeper, theological discussions. Two thumbs up from this parent!
Also in this series (although I haven't read them yet, but plan to):
* * * * *
What have YOU been reading this week?
|Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash|
Now, I'm sure some of you would argue that you don't have $27.40 to throw away on miscellaneous spending every day, and I get that. I don't typically spend that in a day either, but also keep in mind that number is an average. So let's take a look at a few of the ways that this can add up, and I'll use our family as an example.
- If we take our family of seven for take-out Japanese it costs us around $75. Let's say I do that once a month—that's $900 a year.
- If you've got kids in sports, like we do, the monthly fees can quickly add up. Let's say you spend $400 a month on lessons and gear for two or more kids—that's $4,800 a year.
- You know I like my Starbucks stops. They're like a mini-vacation in a cup on stressful days. But at an average of $5 a pop, estimating a conservative four times a month, buying for only one person—that's $240 a year.
- The kids have done really well at school, so that calls for a celebration and a stop by our local pay-by-the-ounce ice cream shop. Cha-ching! Since we don't usually take the Hubs as he's at work, and I limit the kids to three toppings each, we can typically get out of there for around $25-30. But if we go 5-6 times a year—that's $180 a year.