Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Perfectly simple.

Did you know that we Americans live in three times the amount of space that we did fifty years ago?
That's 3 times the space!!

Americans in the 50s had one bathroom, which they all shared.

Wow.  Sharing.
There's a new concept.

Kids even shared bedrooms!

The average family size hasn't changed much.
In fact, it's less than it was back then.
In the 50s it was 3.67 children.
(Not sure where the rest of that "almost" fourth kid went.)

houses have 2.5 bathrooms, kids don't dare share a room together, and the average family is 2.6 children.
(Again, where is the rest of that kid?)

The average house size is 2,359 square feet.

If you do the math, the average house in the 50s was only 786.3 square feet!

And you know what else?
The bigger the house, the bigger the debt.

Today's average family is in a total household debt for at least $100,000.00!

(If you haven't noticed...our country is in a little bit of a debt crisis here.)

Why am I throwing out all of this information?

I'll tell you.

I've been following a blog called Jumping Tandem for the past few weeks.

The author, Mrs. Deidra Griggs, is writing a 31 day blogging series on smaller living.

I couldn't help but be intrigued by her series, since I too have begun to live smaller.

Much smaller.

Our income...decreased by half.

Our house...dropped in size by 1220 square feet.

We went from 2400 square feet to 1280 square feet!

We went from 2 1/2 baths, 4 bedrooms, 2 dining rooms, a huge linen closet and an office, to 1 1/2 baths, 3 bedrooms, 1/2 dining room/kitchen combo and...well, there is no linen closet or office.

When the decision was made to move into our smaller house that we had for sale, I thought I might lose my mind.

I had so much stuff, and no where to put it.

So, we had to begin saling alot of things that we thought we couldn't live without.
We had to let go of part of our life.

We sold furniture, clothes, bedding, you name it...we put a price tag on it.
Our garage looked like a flea market for about six weeks straight!

We did whatever we had to do to downsize, to be able to fit comfortably in our new smaller house.

I remember many days of crying, watching as person after person, pulled out of the driveway with our stuff loaded in the back of their truck.

Oh yeah, speaking of truck, we even sold my husband's truck to downsize to a more fuel efficient one.

We had to do what was needed to adjust to our new way of life...simple smaller living.

We had to edit some things out.
Get rid of the less important, to keep the most important.

And you know what?

We are better for it!

I don't miss any of those things that were so hard to let go of at the time.

And believe it or not,
my stress level is way down!

My husband,
hasn't had high blood pressure since we moved!

Things just seem to flow easier now.

We've found a freedom that we haven't had in a long time.
There is peace in our home again.

Was it an adjustment?
Of course it was.

But, as a family, we worked together.
  I am so proud to say that my three kids never complained once about sharing one, shower-operating bathroom.

Not even my teenage daughters!

I remember standing at the doorway of my empty office, the day that we moved, with tears streaming down my face thinking I was losing a part of myself.
I had just gotten my office redone for my birthday just a few months before.
My family worked for three days straight painting, putting in new floors and redecorating it for me.
Just for me.
It was my special little haven.
My Mom cave!
A place for me to write in peace.
Think in solitude.
A place for me to sit in my comfy rocker recliner and read, pray and have my quiet time with the Lord.
It was hard letting go of it.
I even had to sale my comfy rocker recliner!
I was heartbroken.

But then,
we moved to our new smaller simpler living space.

I found my peace.
It's actually right in the middle of the busiest part of the house.

The living room.

It's at 6:30 every morning, when the kids are asleep and my husband has already left for work.
There is nothing like reading and praying in the light of the glowing, morning sun as it welcomes the new day.
It's in a new cozy rocker recliner that was given to me by someone very special right after we moved.
It's in the solitude of a warm cup of coffee embraced within my two hands as I breathe in the peaceful morning.
It's in the quiet of a moment, just me and God.

It wasn't at all about the space I needed.
It was about making the most of the moments I was given.

It was about realizing that the peace I longed for so much, wasn't in a room, or a certain area. 
It was within me.
Within my heart.
 Within relationship and dependance on my Father.

And even though I had that big office, perfectly decorated just for me, I rarely got to use it.
I rarely made time to find that peace within.

Being at home again, in our smaller simpler space, I have found more time for those moments.
I read more.  I pray more.  I write more.  I live more.

My husband made a comment the other day that has stuck with me ever since.
We had just lit our fire place for the first time, and he was helping the kids make some hot cocoa at the stove.

He took a deep breath in and said,
"Ya know, I don't miss our other place at all.  We may not have all that space, but we are all closer together now.  There is a warm feeling here in this little space.  It's peaceful and cozy. This is the way it's supposed to be. Perfectly simple."

Perfectly simple.

Mrs. Deidra Griggs, author of Jumping Tandem wrote this a couple of weeks ago about "editing" our lives for smaller living.

"It's not always easy.

Editing means giving up something. Letting it go. Leaving it on the cutting room floor. Hitting the delete button. And then hitting it again. Sometimes, someone else has to do it for you. It can be tough. But the end result can be stunning. It can reveal details that were missed when we only used a wide angle lens."

Our decision to down size was not all of our idea.
God gets all of the praise for it!
It was a tough move, but the end result has been stunning!
God had to make the decision for us and I am thankful that He did.
We had begun to worship the "stuff" we had.
We had begun to worship our works, instead of God's.
We were only seeing our lives through that wide angle lens.
We were missing the little things, the most important things.
We were missing God.
God saw all of it, and He didn't want us to miss out on anything, especially Him!
God had been moving us in many different ways, adjusting our lives to further fit His purpose within it.
In our obedience to Him, we have never once gone without!

Sometimes, He will call us to lose something, to gain much more.
He will ask us to let go, to become free.

And that we have.

That we have!

What is it that you might need to edit from your life or let go of, to find that freedom in smaller living?

Please take a moment to watch a video about the significance of smaller living.
Click on name below to watch the video in the post Room for the Good Stuff.
Graham Hill

If you'd like to visit Deidra at her blog and check out her 31 days of Living Smaller, just click on the picture below.

Phillippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

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