My reading slump is over. I have been ordering stacks of books from the library and actually reading them. I had a reading goal of 100 books for the year on Goodreads, alas, I have only accomplished 7. And those were all in the last month.
However, besides the wonderful fiction I’ve immersed myself in, I have read two nonfiction books that have influenced me greatly. One was Essentialism by Greg McKweon. The other was Evicted: Poverty and Profit In America, by Matthew Desmond. Both books are, what I like to call, thinking and then life changing books.
Essentialism was based more on a business model or for someone wanting to succeed in todays hectic work place. But I applied the principles to my life as I feel I’m running a few business’s here. It is the emotional equivalent of downsizing or becoming a minimalist in your work and home life. Getting rid of what isn’t all that important and focusing solely on what you want to thrive or go big with. In my case, it’s being spiritually sound, my family, then I need to choose one creative project. I can’t YouTube, write fiction, blog, and God knows what else I get myself into. I need to focus on one thing at a time. Blogging for me is just therapy. It is sharing what would bore my family but others enjoy the conversation. I need to have this conversation now and then for my sanity and emotional growth, it is like keeping a journal but sharing it. Fiction is not working out at all. I have so many great ideas and stories but the follow through is not happening. So, book writing has been laid aside. YouTube, well, I have found a way to do it that takes nothing from our lives. I film short videos that I can whip up in no time. They are fun for me, don’t take time from the family, and everyone seems to enjoy them much more. They are inspirational shorts and that is all I ever wanted to do anyway.
So, I make film shorts and journal. I am content now and no more pressure. That is what creating should be, fun and adding to the life, not draining the life.
The other book that is changing how I do things, Evicted, well, that was a very good book and an inside look at why things are getting worse with homelessness and poverty. Matthew has us follow two slum lords and some individuals, families, and single parents through life in the ghetto and a trashy mobile home park. We walk with them through evictions and explore todays laws, the history of slums and the exploitation of the poor. It will not only open your eyes, but bless you with deep compassion as to the depths of what Matthew calls “grinding poverty”. It gives us the kindness we need to start helping more and judging less. Highly recommend this book. I couldn’t put it down.
What it did for me personally, was to look at how we use money today and the mistakes of the past, only to improve on how we budget in the now. I have discussed this previously on paying off our mortgage and humbly. I am more inspired than ever to be wise with our funds, to economize each pay check to the fullest, and make smart choices to ensure we continue to live comfortably and with ease.
These two books make things clear. Focus, downsize, simplify, get out of debt, live under our means, heal yourself so you can better serve your family and others.
I try to do everything. Housewife, gardener, mother, teacher, wife, writer, YouTuber, blogger, neighbor, friend, family person, dog mother. I felt my ire raised often because I was getting worn thin. I was feeling pressed for time and not having boundaries or time for myself. I was feeling tired just upon rising in the morning. I tend to do most of the parenting and all the home tending and financial. Perhaps I secretly want things this way because I have control issues, but there are times I don’t want the many pulls and responsibilities. I want to sip tea and read a novel quietly and have the husband wash the boys hair and walk the dogs and call the new mortgage company or insurance company to straighten things out.
I sometimes want to send my boys to school because homeschooling was not on my bucket list at all. I would miss them terribly through the day, but I would also have peace and time to think, write, watch a movie with grown up language. I could walk to the town in silence. Shop slowly with out interruption.
Ah, but then again, I adore my boys 98% of the time. It’s just that 2% that feels like the 98% at times.
Before we started our new hard core budget for December and onward, I did order some books I want in my library. One was from Connie Hultquist, her Christmas book. And two Mrs. Sharon White books. I love her writing. Her words teach me to slow way down and that it is ok if I just want to tend to the home and nothing more. I don’t have to become some popular writer or have a big YouTube channel to be worth it. I can just be proud of my house keeping and focus on raising two amazing human beings.
She talks of simple task, her housecleaning, tending to grandchildren. Her pride of accomplishment in deep cleaning a kitchen and satisfaction with cooking good meals sounds so delicious and cozy that I no longer feel like chasing my tail in this world. I just want to scour my sink while my thrift store radio plays Christmas carols.
I want to rise early, as I did today, and have the time by myself to blog and drink a good cup of coffee, watch the sun rise, and then when the boys rise, focus on them. I love nothing more than reading a book in the living room while they watch PBS cartoons. These days will not last. I feel that more than ever. Every day rushes by and their little boy ways will fade. I want to slow down and savoir life with them now.
Every year I have something I get into deeply. First it was writing. I started writing books on being frugal and then fiction. I read, read, read piles of books and wrote like crazy. That is what any author worth their weight will advise. Read and write constantly to hone the skills. Then I started building a YouTube channel. I filmed everything. I studied other channels to learn how to improve and be more interesting. And I continued to write. Aaannndd…I was so into homesteading in town. I was learning to garden and can, make homemade bread and yogurt.
Now we are up here in our mountain home and we have worked so very hard. Plus I tried fostering, and kept doing my writing and filming. Crazy. It was all too much.
But here I am now, realizing that I need to choose a toy and just play with that one toy. I need to slow those days down by being present in my homemaking and hang out with the boys and dogs more. That really is the sweet spot. Being with children and dogs and all their playful innocents. And the kitchen. I love being in the kitchen these days. Thanks to Bri, I found this wonderful Italian woman that makes simple, economical dishes and I just made one of her dishes yesterday. We called them homemade hot pockets but they aren’t. So good, so easy to make and her ingredients are basic.
Here is her channel, Il Rifugio Perfetto (The Perfect Refuge): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6rWB83cxqfb72-HEagGv2Q
It’s a balance of not trying to be a perfect homemaker and then having all these side hustles. That seems to be the thing these days and I fell into the trap. It robs you of your life and you miss out on your children’s precious childhoods. Social media and being online robs us of real life. Trying to be an amazing homemaker. Trying to become some one special on media or with the writing. Doing side jobs. It all takes from your real and true life.
Mrs. Sharon White writes of this in Living On His Income. She talks of her grandmother, mother, aunt, and mother inlaw and how they just focused on the home and family. The husband was the bread winner and they left the money making to him. They did their part and let the man do his part. It used to be ok to be “just” a homemaker. We, who are homemakers, know that that job is many things. You are running an Inn, basically, with a small restaurant attached. If you homeschool, you are the only teacher. You are sometimes therapist, nurse, healer. You are camp cook, laundry lady, dog walker, housekeeping…oh, gardener, shopper, taxi.
Many of us need to be at peace with just being at home and calling ourselves a housewife or homemaker. This new age, stay at home mom, is silly. Almost as if we are ashamed so we try to explain it in a title that we are just home for a bit with kids and then we will be productive again in the work force. If you are raising humans and nurturing a family, you are creating a wonderful community and children that will go out into the world as good people and we need good people. I don’t care if the man wants to stay home. Man or woman, but someone needs to be home and do a good job of it. Keep a nice home, cook nutritious meals, be there to love and comfort children, support the worker, walk the dog. More happy homes would make a better world.
Yesterday I picked up some pallets from town and then I spent the day making those Italian hand held vegetable and cheese pies by hand. This morning I will sit here with my coffee, listen to my coffee jazz channel I found on YouTube, watch the sun rise and read my new Mrs. Sharon White book, then make a hearty breakfast for the boys, make some phone calls to the mortgage company, then the insurance company. Later morning we will all go to a trail to meet with friends and walk and have some fun, then come home and cook in my sunny kitchen (it finally gets sunny in the afternoon and I love being in there at that time). We will eat something hot and filling such as sautéed vegetables and boiled potatoes with gravy. Then TV, more reading, bath time, fold some laundry, talk with husband, and finally a soft, cozy bed. Simple life. The best kind to live.