Living A Simple Life- Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of my series on our life of Simple Living. (You may read Part 1 and Part 2 here.)  I have loved hearing your comments on how you are living simply also!  

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  -James 1:17

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  -Matthew 7:11

Part of our steps to living a Simple Life, has been learning to let God provide for us in His timing; not just the necessities of life, but also the little things.  Our Heavenly Father loves to give his children gifts- when we allow Him to do so!  (What fun is it to give a gift to the person who has everything?!)  We have learned to be content with what we have, while being in a constant conversation with God about life.  He knows our needs and our wants, so we must peacefully leave them in His hands, and remember that He is all we really need.

I have had so much fun being blessed by our Abba (“Daddy”) Father God this week.  There have been a few “little things” that I have mentioned to Him, and it has been so neat to be “Daddy’s little girl,” and watch as He gives good gifts.  

We had been hoping for a fun family night out that wouldn’t break our budget.  We had been keeping our eyes out for a family-friendly event that wouldn’t require a babysitter.  (We do a lot of fun “family nights” at home, but sometimes it’s nice to get out and experience the city we live in.)  On Saturday, we went to a local “Food Cart” event.  We paid $5 apiece (Gen was free), to sample a variety of ethnic foods: tamales, goulash, dal, lumpia, etc., and even gourmet ice cream and cupcakes!  It was so fun!   

The event was located under a bridge in the industrial part of town, but it was set up under a canopy, and filled with strings of lights and tables.  It was such a friendly atmosphere as musicians played, and perfect strangers eliminated all “personal space” while crowding into lines and sharing food.  We put Gen in the stroller, and had a wonderful walk in the blustery evening.  Our walk took us over a bridge overlooking the shipyards and the train tracks.  Gen had fun seeing the “choo-choo” (train) and the “wa-wa” (water)!  I think God smiled.  

I have been keeping my eye out for gifts for upcoming holidays (Mother’s Day and May birthdays).  It has been so fun to see God provide the exact things we were looking for, either on clearance sales, or for free!  (Although, these friends & family may be reading this blog, so I probably shouldn’t tell you what I got!)  Well… ok… I’ll show you how I got the one that’s growing right now as Mom’s giftbut don’t tell her!  I picked it up on Tuesday while getting some needed produce.  I love to give gifts, and I am thankful that God is allowing me to bless others.  

A few weeks ago, in a flurry of running errands, one of our reusable bags was lost (thus, we were down to just one).  We searched through the cars, closets… everywhere… but no sign of it. It is so much easier for me to put library books or grocery bags in a large cloth bag, instead of carrying paper/plastic bags.  I can just put it over my shoulder while carrying Gen up the stairs and across parking lots.  (Plus, they’re more environmentally-friendly!)  I have been missing this bag!  

I mentioned to God that I would love to have another bag, but wasn’t eager to buy one.  So, when I heard about the bag-giveaway Wednesday morning at this event, we stopped by during our errands.  I picked up a few bulk items we were needing, and at the check-out, the cashier gave us a free cloth bag (plus the bag discount)!  Meanwhile, during our shopping, Calvin was thrilled to find lots of free samples of Kettle Chips, salsa, granola bars, fruit, and cheese!  (He had mentioned earlier that Kettle Chips sounded good!)  The green vanilla “health drink” sample was not a favorite, though. :)  

After going to Whole Foods, we headed over to the Goodwill.  Calvin has been needing a new bookbag for school and work.  His medical-type books are large and heavy, and have worn out his current backpack.  He carries his books with him to work (as an EMT), to study during down times of his 12+ hour shifts.  I have seen his frustration at packing his current bag at 3:00 am, as he struggles with broken zippers and torn seams.  But, he has faithfully carried it with him everyday, and not asked for a new one.  

A few weeks ago, I saw a nice, large backpack at a consignment sale, but decided not to buy it, since it still cost $30!  Thankfully, we were able to find a bag at Goodwill for $4.99!  It is a large messenger-style bag with lots of pockets, so I think this one will work well.  It’s a name-brand “women’s” bag, but it’s brown & orange, so it doesn’t look feminine!  

I have also been transitioning my clothing from the office attire of the past to modest, feminine clothing as a keeper of our home.  I have been reading Stacy McDonald’s writings (among others) on modesty, and have been awakened to the necessity of making this a priority in my life.  Not only is it important to clothe my daughter appropriately, I actually need to stop and take a look at what I’m wearing!  

I realized that part of living a Simple Life would involve taking the time to evaluate my clothing, and to clothe myself suitably (instead of ignoring the issue or just haphazardly cramming clothing into our shared closet, and then later worrying about what to wear).  

I’ve realized that much of the “non-office” clothes I own have shrunk, worn out, or are just no longer acceptable as I’m bending over a toddler, instead of sitting at a desk.  I also have detested wearing pants for years, but have not acquired casual long skirts or dresses to wear instead.  Shopping for clothing has always been a difficult task for me, as it is often difficult to find my size.  (That’s why some of my clothing ended up becoming slightly immodest in the first place- it just didn’t fit right!)  My goal to maintain/gain a healthy weight should help some with this, too.  

After reading this interview with Stacy McDonald, I browsed through her list of recommended modest clothing sites.  I loved the April Cornell site (and had seen their ads in my favorite Victoria magazine), but knew I would likely not be able to purchase much at once.  I had been mulling over the idea of sewing some clothes, but since Gen is still terrified of the sewing machine (and the vacuum!), machine sewing has not happened much.  (I do most mending by hand.) I shared my heart about this issue with God, and asked that He would help provide for this desire to honor Him with modesty- and He did!  

After we found Calvin a bag at the Goodwill, he turned to me and said, “Now, what do you need?”  We browsed through the dress racks, and I found a handful of dresses to try on.  (Yes, I actually took the time to try them on!)  We headed to the “family” changing room, so that I could get my husband’s honest opinion on the dresses.  (Gen amused herself in front of the large mirror, and read books.)  We found three long, sturdy (but lightweight) jumpers/dresses for $5 – $7 each, that will work well for summer (and spring/fall with a cardigan sweater)… and they were all April Cornell brand!  “Daddy” certainly cares about the little things, doesn’t He?  :)  Here’s a photo of the dresses (the color is a bit off, though):
To be continued…Join me next week for Part 4!
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