Though my husband was not home for "Thanksgiving", I am thankful for such a wonderful man. He works hard to support his family, even when he has to miss holidays, so that we can have our needs met. He worries and frets, which is something we are all doing, in this economy. I am now finding out that even at Yule, I may not have him home. This is not something I am happy about, but I am thankful that he worries enough to know when not to stop his truck, so that his family is taken care of. We are not getting expensive gifts at all, instead, we are making gifts. This is a homemade Yule for us, and that is more important.
In moving to the farm, we have returned to the more basic of ways of life. I no longer use a microwave. I cook from scratch. I am hand sewing the curtains for the house. I am making quilts that match those curtains. and I am designing new clothes for us, as well. We have returned to the simpler things in life, and that is beginning to matter, so very much.
In reading more of the news, I am finding that many, especially the elderly, are having to use food banks more, relying on food stamps, food pantries, and such, just as those who are struggling throughout our Nation right now. We have had to do the same, using the local food bank, when things have gotten too hard, and the money has not come in as needed. Most of us across this nation are having to shove one bill or two, sometimes more, off, until we are better able to pay them. By returning to the simpler things, we are able to cover more of our bills, and afford to keep away from the food pantry. Because I bargain hunt, even with the groceries, we are able to eat well, while saving money. I am back to baking my own bread, making soups and stews that will take us through the week. I found wonderful little steaks on sale, for a 1.25 each, which right now, actually is cheaper than hamburger. Those were a find!!! Instead of buying koolaid, I have wonderful teas that are better than koolaid, and cheaper to make. When we eat, we make sure to only make what will be eaten, nothing more.
In the Great Depression, our elders learned to scrimp and make things last longer, and now, we are having to do the same. My own mother was born in 1933, so those mindsets were set into her at a very young age, and it was something she taught my siblings and I as we grew up, often not having food at home, and having to rely on friends to feed us. We learned that used was just as good as new, and I have instilled that into my own children. They know that even though they have some great new technologies, that we are also having to severely cut back, and saving things like tin cans, and such, to make holiday gifts, is needed right now. I am even saving our milk containers, as they make great starter pots for plants inside, or covers for the early planting in the spring, from winds and hail. We are not hoarders, in fact, in our move, we have rid ourselves of so much, trying to thin down our belongings, so that what we actually use and need, are what we have. By going through our things, we have found other possessions that can be "upcycled" and reused. We are living like they did in the Great Depression, so that we can make it, instead of falling flat on our faces.
Through all of this, I am thankful. I am thankful that I was taught at a young age, to be creative and resourceful. I am thankful that I have skills that allow me to make something beautiful, out of something broken or old. I am thankful that I learned how to cook, and to stretch a dollar, making sure that we purchase only what we need. I use coupons, I use sales, and I consolidate my trips to make them all at once, instead of several trips that waste not only fuel, but time. I am thankful for a husband who wants me home to take care of not only my son, but the house, and to ensure that he is taught the right lessons, preparing him for a smarter future. Today, life is about sacrifices, and what is truly needed. I don't have cable, instead, we watch the movies we already own. We also watch what we can online. Because I homeschool, I keep the internet, it is the one luxury we do afford ourselves, along with our cell phones, as winter brings dangerous roads, and long trips to the VA can turn deadly if you are not prepared. Other than that, we have cut back so much, that there is no more room to cut back. I am well stocked, from the good years that we had, in fabric and beads, so I have plenty to keep busy with for crafting and making special gifts for those I love. That fabric allows me to make clothes as we need them, also, so does the old clothing that is ready to be tossed, as it can be cut up for quilts, or taken apart as a pattern and remade into something new and exciting to wear. Old blankets can be used to fill a new quilt, or to build squares for a new quilt. I am thankful for all we have, and was blessed to be taught at such a young age, how to survive times like this.
Though this recession has hit us hard, I am thankful that my family is still together, that I have a house for my teens to live in, and learn, about renting and paying bills. I am thankful that I am now in a farm, where I have the growing room I need, for all the gardening I love to do. My family is solid, strong, and together, what more could I ask for?? We have weathered the worst of times, and had grand times when things were great. Through it all, we learned that love was the most important thing we do have, and we share that with each other daily. Not a day goes by without us telling each other how much we love each other, and how much we respect each other for the skills that we do share, and the things we do for each other. Other families are learning this, as times turn tough, and they must find new ways to cope, move forward, and appreciate what it is they do have. It is something we have known all along, and I pray that this recession brings families together again, to really appreciate the ones you love, to share in the simple joys, instead of keeping up with the Joneses.
This is a season of thanks giving...yet we should be thankful all year round for what we have, what we can do, and what we experience. For those are the important things, not the things we wish we had, but the things we already have.
Blessings to all, for friendship is more powerful a gift than anything monetary. Rhea