January 29, 2010

stuff

In 1985, I was perfectly happy living in an 8′ x 12′ concrete-walled dorm room. I was thrilled to have a single in a dorm full of wonderful people. I didn’t care that the bathroom was down the hall, or that I didn’t own a car. I had a decent bike, a comfortable bed, adequate food, and was learning and having fun with terrific people.

Twenty-five years later, I enjoy living with my family in a nice house in a safe town with wonderful schools. I appreciate all the comforts life has brought me, but I also recognize how my material comforts have also brought an added level of stress, as my husband and I need to work hard to make mortgage payments, save for college for the kids, and meet expenses. I often tell my husband that I’d be happy living in a much smaller house, as long as I have my computer, a fast internet connection, and a secure yard for our dog. Clearly, the list would be longer if I thought about it…I’d also want great schools, a safe community, my printer, my purse, our couch, my gloves, my boots, my fleece jacket, my special pajamas, my pillows and a few more items and services. But as I sit here and scan the interior horizon, there truly aren’t very many items I’d consider to be that important to me.

In his recent column, “What Could You Live Without?“, Nicholas Kristof tells of an Atlanta family whose daughter challenged them to sell their house and buy a smaller one, and donate the net proceeds to charity. Even as it inspired some people, it evoked the wrath of others who complained that they shouldn’t donate to people overseas when there are Americans in need. I’m in the former category, and am impressed that a modern American family that has so much could sacrifice it and make a difference in the world.

The unexpected dividend in this case was that the family found that downsizing brought them closer together:

Mr. Salwen and his wife, Joan, had always assumed that their kids would be better off in a bigger house. But after they downsized, there was much less space to retreat to, so the family members spent more time around each other. A smaller house unexpectedly turned out to be a more family-friendly house.

“We essentially traded stuff for togetherness and connectedness,” Mr. Salwen told me, adding, “I can’t figure out why everybody wouldn’t want that deal.”

I look forward to reading the book they wrote about their experiences, The Power of Half. I don’t think my family wants to downsize, but if they did, I’d be all for it. I wouldn’t mind slowing down the treadmill and enjoying life and my relationships more. In the meantime, if I ever find the time, I am going to get rid of a lot of extra stuff we have around here. The Sport Chalet shoes were just a start…

What Can We Live Without?

In 1968 Preachers Wife and I were perfectly happy to live in a one room apartment. We had just returned from our honeymoon in Dallas to settle down in our first little humble abode. The place was called Davenport Courts. It basically was a hotel room with a small kitchen that could be rented by the day, the week or the month. The cash wedding presents had allowed us to rent it for a whole month. We were so excited. We didn't have many earthly belongings and we really didn't see a need for them, because we were in love. We were just two young kids happy to be building a life together. That was 41 years ago. Since then we've received an education, picked up 3 children, 6 wonderful grandchildren and acquired many friends. We also have accumulated a lot of "stuff" and most of "my stuff" is referred to by her as "junk." So what does one do when you go from having nothing to almost everything and you decide to downsize and simplify your life. In the days, weeks and months ahead I am going to take you on a journey with us as we downsize to a smaller home and a more simple lifestyle. This should be very interesting especially if I choose to give detailed conversations of Preachers Wife and me.

January 21, 2010

We love our house but we are moving...

Preacher's Wife and I moved to San Antonio in 2002. We have lived in the same house we bought when we first moved to town. We loved it then and we still do, but we have decided to move. We have just about totally remodeled it little by little. We put tile and hardwood floors throughout the house. We added a 1000 square feet self-contain, private entrance apartment. I could go on and on about all we have done to the inside. I also took great pride with my green thumb making the back yard a paradise. Did I say we were moving? Yes! Why? Because we want to downsize and simplify our life. Therefore, we are moving to the Del Webb Hill Country Retreat in west San Antonio. Some people call it a retirement village but I call it having less work to do around the house. We have signed the papers for them to begin our new home and the realtor puts a sign in the front yard on Monday. We are praying and believing for a quick sale.

January 13, 2010

Call it old age or choosing to live a less adventurous lifestyle. Call it whatever you want but I decided to sell my motorcycle and buy a pool table. I would have really enjoyed having both but Preacher's Wife suggested I choose one or the other. You know how that goes. Since I haven't ridden in quite a while and all my old buddies are not riding as much. I decided I would go with pool table.






January 11, 2010

Fun In Denver...

Since our Denver children and grandchildren were unable to make it home this Christmas, Anne and I flew to Denver this past weekend. We had not seen them since last January and my had they grown. They met us at the hotel after school and did one of their favorite things when we visit, swim in the heated pool. We shopped, ate, did some sight seeing and then ate some more. Today is our last day with them so we are going to Mr. Biggs family fun center. We are sure going to miss them but are looking forward to getting back to sea level so we can breath again . I thought I would post pictures of three more of our beautiful grandchildren.

January 7, 2010

Two up and coming musicians...

I just got around to transferring some of the pictures we took in McAllen while spending Christmas with our son and his family. Our granddaughters Lauren and Lenzy are into music big time and each one has their own particular instrument of choice. They performed for us on Christmas morning and I must say I was quite impressed. Lauren sings and plays the guitar and Lenzy loves playing the bass.

January 4, 2010

Seeing in the New Year...

We just got home from spending New Year's weekend with our friends the Magees. We decided back in the early fall that we would camp together in some state park over the new year holidays. We agreed this year it would be Choke Canyon State Park at Three Rivers, Texas. Having read, reviewed and visited several state parks in Texas we really enjoyed Choke Canyon. If one likes large spacious sites, covered gazebo, picnic table, fire pit and cooking grill and alot of wildlife you would enjoy camping at Choke Canyon. We arrived on Wednesday and stayed through Sunday. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing time. While there we did some walking and birding as well as cooking out and watching College Bowl games. I could recommend Choke Canyon to all our camping friends.