Well, Christmas is over and once again we are left with the aftermath of plastic wrappers and gluttonous appetites. In our family we really do endeavor to focus on the meaning of the Christmas season every year but somehow we too get caught up in the materialistic aspects of giving more. There is nothing like hearing your child say “THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!” unfortunately that statement is rarely prompted by copious amounts of time spent with family and is, instead, usually expounded upon after opening a more expensive and more lavish gift than last year.
We really did par down this year, Fred and I put a limit on each other’s gifts and did use the gift money wisely, to buy things we could use but that were still somewhat luxuries. I bought Fred the new pocket knife he had wanted and he bought me a starter kit for harvesting our beeswax into bath and body products. Fred also made me a lovely braided copper bracelet from copper wire he repurposed. The bracelet is especially meaningful to me because he did not wait until the last minute and rush to the store trying to figure out how much to spend to prove his love. I look at my bracelet as a token of how the lessons learned in our greener lifestyle are actually beginning to sink into our daily lives, much like “devotions” sink into the spiritual realm of a person who daily studies the Word.
When I was a child I never understood the purpose of the ten or fifteen minutes my dad spent in the mornings studying the scriptures and talking to God. I was haphazard in my study and prayed when I needed something or felt guilty. I did not realize those few precious and deliberate minutes my dad spends in study of God’s word and in communion with God every day actually arm him to face the trials and tribulations of daily life. Instead of scrambling for scriptures and hastily praying from a fox-hole, my dad has made the Bible part of the fiber of his existence. As I got older I began to see the merit in his behavior, as Fred and I push our way into a changed lifestyle I not only see the merit in it, I see the necessity.
It is the same with homesteading and green living. One must daily practice what one preaches or we quickly find ourselves slipping off into the drive-thru lane or the take-out line of life. I will not lie. In this hectic season of Christmas, rushing from practice to play, from house to house, throwing decorations and wrapping in every available space, we found ourselves standing in the line at Taco Bell on several occasions and I believe I personally financed the new Abercrombie jacket my favorite waitress at the local Chinese restaurant was spotted wearing. Being green and doing things from scratch takes time and, unfortunately, that is something in our culture we always seem to lack.
All I can say is: we did better this year than last and with our eyes to the future we will only continue to improve. As you can see by the scarcity of blog entries some things just had to be cut in this hectic season. In the interest of time and of finishing handmade Christmas presents the blog just kind of got lost in the tide. I am not really into New Year’s resolutions, mainly because we have been resolving things in our life all year, but I will say that as we look forward into 2011 we are happier, healthier, more wholly satisfied people as we have shaved off the unnecessary clutter of our lives, focused in on what is important and done more for ourselves. We as a family intend to continue on along this path expanding our endeavors at self-sufficiency and improving our homestead.
As many of you know, I stay home and Fred works a factory job to finance our lives. Although the chickens, bees and other homestead duties keep me busy I do find time to crochet, knit, quilt and create other crafty extras. As I slammed through the creation of my last few Christmas gifts this year it was commented upon several times that people would pay for the hats/scarves/tree-skirts etc. that I create. I actually had several people request to purchase hats just based on photos I had taken of gifts I made and posted on Facebook.
Fred and I have talked many times of opening an Ebay store to sell the extra stuff we make or no longer use but Ebay is expensive with lots of fees and commissions and whatnot. Similarly, we have purchased things on Etsy and had fantasized about putting up our own craft goods to earn a little extra. Etsy, like Ebay, has per piece fees and listing costs. Then a friend suggested Artfire. I perused the Artfire site on several occasions and finally was enticed to open a store when they offered a fixed low monthly fee. If you look at the top widget on the right side of the blog you will see a link to my Artfire store.
Please do not read this and think the blog is going to become one giant marketing tool for my merchandise. It is not. I may occasionally mention if we add a new type of product but for now I just want to make blog readers aware of it and that it is there if you are interested. For now, it is small and only contains a couple of my handmade hats but my vision for the future will include beeswax based products and maybe even artisan soaps, jams or jellies. Who knows? For now, like everything in this adventure, we are starting small. Baby steps. Two little hats may lead to great things or two little hats may fizzle out and leave us back at square one. Either way, we are trying to leave ourselves open for God’s direction and do not want to find ourselves caught back up in the materialism that consumes so much of today’s society.
I want to thank everyone for supporting us in prayer, in kind words of encouragement and by silently clicking on this blog to read our adventures. If we have disappointed you or let you down, I am truly sorry. We do not mean for this blog or our lives to be a stumbling block for anyone. Instead we wish to encourage and to be encouraged to commune with our fellow homesteaders (if only on the internet) and to share our joys and struggles. We are making progress and we are sure you are too! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may peace and joy abound in your life.
With our heartfelt thanks & much love,