I went up to the mountain.

[from Patty]

Let’s just jump right in here, shall we?  There’s been a lot of talk about the recession.  Of course.  It’s life-changing.  It’s hard.  It’s multi-faceted.  It’s affects family.  We are fortunate, in this household, to work for a company that is debt-free.  They will ride out the next few years, but not without some serious trimming.  The Boy’s job is stable… but that was yesterday and stranger things have happened.  We will take nothing for granted.  Our neighbors and members of our family, on the other hand, are in trouble.  Our state is at 11% unemployment.  Things are not pretty ’round here. 

in-the-field-006So, I make things.  It’s how I cope with the matters at hand.  I make apple pie and I make skirts and I make rugs and I make dinner.  I clean out our freezer and I buy on sale.  I consolidate trips into town and I make lists so I don’t forget things. I make the bed and I go to the library and I recycle everything I possibly can.  I make change in my tiny little corner of the world… a little bit, but change.  On some way-down-deep level, I think I am making things safe… real… practical for our family, which makes me feel better when straits are dire.

We can’t avoid this recession, so I’m jumping in.  This kind of economic shock, re-evaluation, cut-back, adjusting… I truly believe it’s good for the soul.  A kind of large-scale Winter, if you will.  Start over.  Dig deep.  Clean out the proverbial and literal pantry.  Less excess. Reach out to others.  Plant bigger gardens.  Figure out how to become more efficient.  Make change.   And, while we are laying low here on the farm, we will certainly be taking the time to count our blessings and pray for change.  Change in our hearts.  Change in priorities.  Change for our neighbors.

It will be a great disservice to yourself and those who watch you (like the beauty in the photo above) if you just sit back and give up.  These are hard, hard times. But we must work through it… literally work through it somehow. We’ve been asked to go up to the mountain.  So, go.  Listen.  I know you are tired, but go on again.  I am right behind you.

How are you making change these days?


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

17 responses to “I went up to the mountain.

  • Verna

    Amen, Sister!

  • jim

    So true, we are pushing much faster to buy as much as possible local. We already recycle way more the throw away. I would love to hear other ideas from the rest of the Kate Blog community.

  • Cortney

    Oh, honey, what am I NOT doing? It seems like everything in our lives lately is related to what we can get away with in this economic hiccup. We trimmed our budget like crazy. We don’t go out to eat unless there is a coupon, special, or gift certificate involved, and even that’s a big weekend special treat. I plan our meals to the letter and shop all the bargains. I ransack the pantry and freezer. All Matt’s lunches are leftovers from the night before. I shop at the grocery store that offers “fuel bucks” so my regular groceries result in cheaper gas. I buy what I can at the Dollar General Market. We entertain ourselves at home. I color my own hair and get it cut about once every 4 months. I’m going to start seeds to plant in the garden instead of buying plants. We borrow from our savings for emergencies and then scour the budget for ways to pay it back. We save, save, save every extra drop. We’re probably going to refinance our house. Matt finishes school next week, and he’s searching for new opportunities, even though the job market is pretty dour. He’s considering law school. Or a financial planner certification. And, oh, yes, I’m working a job I don’t really love to make sure that our bills are covered and we can continue to save for the day when I have to quit to have a baby, when and if that day comes. I get down about it, but then I remember that it’s not permanent, that we’re working for a future goal, and that it’s truly opened our eyes even wider to what we were doing with our money and ways we could improve on that. It’s been good, NICE even, to hit that lifestyle “reset” button, and I think in the long run, it will have been good for us all. I’m all about lemons from lemonade, afterall. 😉

  • Margie

    With Hubby not currently employed, I shop the grocery store bargains every week. It’s become a game, refusing to pay retail price for anything. I’ve cut the food budget at least in half. Even so, the economy can’t be too shaken by my little cutbacks; we were already living fairly frugally. But I also find myself purging, cleaning, clearing, getting down to the bare essentials, believing that the clutter of Stuff can mask gratefulness for that which we have.

    And that, Katie, is what our family is doing here in Texas! And I do love your blog.

  • jim

    Seriously, here is another question to ask you o’seer, how can those of us who are somewhat safe help the smaller community of friends, family and neighbors that we touch thru each other and then perhaps even the larger community behond?

  • Becky

    Good encouragement! I have gone back to my old , shopping at the goodwill ways. I am buying more store brand. We have really been trying to cut back around here, so hearing what others are doing is always encouraging. But we are also finding God is taking care of us just like he always has!

  • Annie

    good words katie.
    budget is in everything we say and do around the singletary home now. we are in a pretty safe place financially but know many others that are struggling. it has made me dig deep to get out of my comfort zone and help somebody. it’s nice to remember that we can help people even though we may not have the “money” to help. time is a good way to give, just giving a little time to those in need. what does this look like I’ve wondered?

  • lisahudson

    You are an inspiration!

  • texasnorth

    Y’all are awesome. It is always encouraging to hear others are in the saem boat… and we none of us are exempt from these lean times.

    Jim, Curt and I were JUST TALKING about your question last night.

    So, what do we do for friends that are less-safe than we are? You give. Not just money (Annie- good point). I have an excess of meat in the freezer and chickens in the coop. That translates into some serious grocery money for us and family that need to cut back on the pricey stuff. You give money to programs you know are supporting the community- like Goodwill and Salvation Army and the Kids wrapping paper drive. You help them plant their gardens and you pitch in when their roof needs repairs and they don’t want to hire a super-pro.

    Any more non-cash ways you can think of? Bring it on. I’m gonna make a list and put it on my cork board.

  • ecky

    this recession thing has hit us unfortunately. i lost my job a few weeks ago. it’s ok. it’s actually the kick in the pants that i need to figure out what i am doing with myself. i have big plans – i do.

    as for what we are doing – i am an avid freecycler and craigslister and thrift shopper – always have been – but now i have way more company there : )
    i buy on sale and reuse and reuse and reuse again. we plan to plant a big garden. and as for what to do for others – chris is working on a project to mobilize folks to grow food for their food pantries in our area. they could always use fresh stuff.

  • wende

    I couldn’t agree more. This subject has been on my mind a lot and I’m pretty close to finishing a post on the concept of affordable luxury.

    My sister-in-law said it best when she told me, “You have to be able to say ‘Yes’ to something. Not everything, but something, or life becomes pretty dreary”. And I think that’s the real trick, finding ways to be able to say yes to small things while still maintaining that ever dreaded budget! 😀

  • sunday

    coupons! i have decided to really start using coupons. i joined http://www.grocerygame.com and it has not really helped me much, but encouraged me to use more coupons. it is almost ridiculous to pay full price for anything these days. as weird as this may sound it has encouraged me to follow my dreams and try to start a photo business because, why not? what is there to lose right now? Annie has encouraged us to volunteer and help give back, because we really are fortunate. Tonight I ate a gourmet meal we cooked, I have heat, I will wake up tomorrow and go to the gym, and then travel to Atlanta. pretty fortunate I would say!!! Thanks for making us think.

  • Julie

    Seth is a builder so the recession has hit us like a ton of bricks. What are we doing? Uh, he is doing side jobs and selling everything that we personally own on craigslist. (We were amazed at how much stuff we have that isn’t really ours….furniture mainly)
    We never eat out which suits me and just don’t spend any extra money these days.
    I am not too worried about it cause I don’t feel like we will ever have to go hungry or homeless until our parents lose it all too.

    Plus there will always be soup kitchens.

  • Amy B.

    You articulated so well the exact sentiment I’ve been thinking for months now – cutting back, digging deep, less excess, good for the soul (of our nation, as well as each of us as individuals) – but could never get into words without sounding a bit callous.

    I’ve been shopping grocery ads, really paying attention to how much I pay for things and have started doing my shopping at two different stores a week and it has made a huge difference in how much I spend on groceries. I’m also coming to the decision that the Costco membership is not such a great deal after all. Sure, it’s lots of fun to shop there and eat the samples, but in the end I can get better deals by watching the grocery store sales.

    As far as helping others, I like to make a big pot of soup or stew for dinner and then pack some off to a neighbor, under the guise of just having made too much for us, which is true. That way, I’m not really doing any extra work on my end and it doesn’t really come across as charity to the neighbor. They’re doing me a favor by taking my leftovers.

  • anna

    So many people are reevaluating what it means to do more with less. Do you think this is permanent, like a culture shift for Americans, or do you think that when things turn around, we’ll go back to drowning in stuff? I’ve been wondering, and I honestly don’t know. We still have such an embarrassment of riches, especially compared with other places in the world, but it seems like more people are realizing that and vowing to do with having less just stuff. But I can also see us going on a huge credit card spending spree in a year if the economy ticks up.

  • texasnorth

    You make a good point, Anna.

    I hope, of course, that this would be permanent lesson. But, our generation watched the credit card trollers move onto college campuses and take over… so it is our generation that has no clue what it is like to pay with cash, wait for ANYTHING, or learn long-term lessons.

    I hope it is permanent, but I am not optimistic.
    We are not teaching Rylie the word “credit.”

  • Ellie

    I need to think about my answer to this post – lots of good talking/blogging points in here.

    I guess I would start by climbing up on the Cabin roof and shouting: “People of the land – inform thyselves!!” In addition to watching the Cabin bottom line, I am always asking myself (and looking for things to read/listen to that will inform me): “What creates jobs?” I think everybody really needs to consider this question and act/spend/save/vote accordingly – that’s what we really need. Jobs. I know this is esoteric. But I’m not exactly sure that financial executives or elected representatives of government have been asking themselves this question, so I guess it’s up to John Q. Public now.

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