August 28, 2010

On my hair, on being a minimalist, and there is a whole lot on my mind.

I haven't had a haircut since the end of January, I think. I'm not for sure but I'm pretty sure it's been that long. And if you saw my hair you'd actually think I took a nap under a tree for a few hundred years. (Or however that fable goes.)

Usually haircuts and colors matter a lot to me, but they aren't cheap, they cost a lot of money really. And I've seen my hairstylist for, almost 15 years? I can't go to someone else, so if I can't pay for her services then I'll wait until I can.

Sometimes if I really need color, like the greys are trying to escape in large parties, then I'll use something out of a box to temporarily cover & hope it holds me over for a while. But I glanced at myself in the mirror yesterday and saw the greys (to be honest, they are more of a silver) and I didn't cringe or feel sad that I need a hair makeover.

I actually felt comfortable. And not in the way that I've just "given up" but in the way that, HELLO IT'S HAIR and it's kind of beautiful au naturel this way.

Kind of how when I don't wear much makeup and I see the lines by my eyes in a photograph, where I'm smiling so big. Those things make me happy.

Maybe going simple is the new going green and I'm just all trendy, or what not, but it just makes sense in my heart. Not only responsibly- because obviously I can not justify spending money on getting my hair done if there are bills over due, but it makes me step back when I sometimes forget to take that step (or two, or three) back.

It makes me sad when you might look at someone and think, they need a makeover. Well, maybe you're (finger pointing at me) the one that needs the true makeover. In your brain.

Why do we have to have sooo much? And, not only so much, but new stuff. What if the old stuff still works fine, it's just outdated, or needs a little cleaning? And what are my kids learning from this always wanting more way of thinking? And why do I feel so duped because I thought I was better at this "stuff" stuff, yet I've gone along with it for so long... and I know better?


My kids won't be going shopping for back to school clothes. This does not make me sad. The same tees and shorts they've worn all summer long still fit and will work great until the cold weather comes. Then we'll see what doesn't fit from last year and we'll most likely buy second hand, or ask on Freecycle, or ask for Christmas gifts. They don't need much. We don't even have very many drawers in our house to fit a lot, anyway. And I'm always doing laundry, so what if Ivy wears the same dress several times a week? She happens to love that dress. And so do I.


And same with me. I have a couple skirts and tees that I feel really good in. Why do I need more than that... to satisfy a need for belonging? For looking like more than what I really have, or really am on the inside? Am I contributing to the big huge myth that I am okay because I have a nice appearance but I'm really one big fat faker on the inside?

This is the stuff that tugs at my thinker in the night and wrestles me into my pillows.

I've really become thankful for our cloth diapers in the recent tight times. Not having to buy diapers is wonderful. I really hadn't noticed the payoff so much until now, when I need it the most.

We already ate pretty healthy, but bypassing convenience foods for homemade really does lighten the grocery bill. "Fruit snacks" to my kids are: fresh grapes, kiwi, orange slices, apples... you know, fruit as a snack.

Eating out at restaurants or via drive thru isn't even an option.

But how excess and short cuts have stolen from fulfillment in my life in the past. I notice it every time I peel an egg, snap green bean, pour the batter, something in my soul is awakened, is set afire.

Saying this is right for you.

With four kids we already sought out cheap or free activities, so local parks, the beach, libraries (why buy books when you can check them out for free??), our own back yard (literally), they are our favorite.

Sure, to many this stuff is booo-ring. And requires PATIENCE: we might have to wait for the book or movie we want, we might have to save up for a while until we go to the zoo, we might have to slow the heck down,

but why in my heart do I think my kids see that as a bad, undesirable thing? Someday they will for sure find out that no matter how fast-food this life is, not everything can be had or bought or worked for in an instant.

I want them to have time to appreciate, to know how to appreciate without being told, to marvel, to delight in the moon and not the image of a moon on a computer screen, but the real-live moon outside on our lawn!

I want them to be able to speak, or put pencil to paper, or even fingers to keyboard and communicate and share thoughts that are their very own, with people that can receive them. And to those people that can't hear it, or won't, may their words leave them asking questions and a desire to know more.


There will always be something new, to temporarily cover- and we'll hope it holds us over for a while...

but how much longer do we really have?

89 comments:

  1. patience is good. slowing down is good. life is GOOD.

    xo

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  2. Good for you Stephanie. Thanks for sharing this process...
    Mary

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  3. we do life on a very very tight budget also and strangely enough i love it!

    Ps aging is a beautiful thing, you are gorgeous inside and out!!!!

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  4. I was feeling similarly last night. It was hub's birthday, and we were at home, eating homemade spaghetti and meatballs (I made my own sauce yesterday for the first time.) We had garlic bread made on hamburger rolls, because that's what was is the house. My son insisted we needed party hats...so we made them. We had a small cake, and took some pictures. And you know what? It was the best birthday in a while. :)

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  5. It IS so hard to not get swept up into the material machine that is American consumerism. Because whether we like it or not, it's been ingrained in us that happiness = new, fun, money-sucking things. And deprogramming that instinct takes work. But Steph, you're doing an amazing job at raising your family in an appreciative, free-spirited, organic way....WAY better than I'm doing. It's ongoing, and the fact that you recognize the importance of limiting our voracious consumption of THINGS, shows you're aware and changing and that is freeing. I gotta admit....you've kinda become a moral compass for me, in a way: everytime you express these feelings, they awaken that need in me. I realize that I, too, need to move in that direction. Instead of just SAYING I'm a green life advocate...there needs to be much more doing. Awesome post...as always.

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  6. I get this. I really do. I don't have kids, but for me and my husband, I get this. We, just recently, have come to the realization that we're never going to acheive the goals we have... kids, a safe home in a safer neighborhood, until we get our finances under-control and get out of debt. So we've cut back. Hugely. And I'm proud of me because in the last two weeks there've been like 3 times that I have thought, "I want..." but then I take just a moment and think about what "I want..." more. A child... a REAL home. Those things are what are important to me. More than the shirt I think I need or the curtains I "have to have". So I get this... I'm there.

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  8. I just box colored my hair this morning. I have a goal to be prosperous enough some day to pay someone to color it for me. Until then $3.88 from CVS will have to do. I've been all grey since mid-20's, so I'm not giving in until I'm 2x age. :) That said, there is something really relaxing about being comfy with our bodies as they age. Reading your post brought down my anxiety level and just let me...breathe. Thanks!

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  9. Love this post, it's beautiful to know we are all working on this together!

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  10. THANK YOU for this post! This is what our world needs to hear.

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  11. You sound good, Steph. It's difficult to figure out what's important and retain that knowledge. Yes, it's nice to treat ourselves from time to time, but the world tells us that it's ALL about the treats and that we shouldn't feel bad about wanting all the new things. We need to remember that the world just wants our cash, and doesn't really care about our hearts and souls.

    Hope you can hold onto this feeling...

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  12. While out today The Chicken and I had this very conversation. It seems lately that she has become very materialistic, I know that mostly it is because of her friends and the stuff that they are getting and the stores that their parents let them shop in and she is nearly a teenager who thinks that stuff will make her happy.

    When you aren't happy you should look inside yourself because the outward things won't matter and maybe they will make you feel better for a bit but true happiness and love comes from within. As long as you have everything you need then you don't need anything else. Don't think of it as wanting think of it as hoping and dreaming of things, but don't let those things consume you. Let your heart be free and happy. Enjoy what you have and love much is what I told her.

    (Not that you need to hear this but I am sure that someone will glean something from that.)

    xo

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  13. We live on a tight budget and even when it is looser I feel more calm and happy when we are spending less and living more simply. It is hard to resist the urge to try and buy a moment of happiness (indulge Ace in the newest Lego set like I did over and over again this summer) but I'm learning it is so much more rewarding to look around and realize I already have a million moments of happiness at my fingertips if I reach out and grap them. And I can give my children a much more lasting gift if I stop and hold them for 10 minutes, read them a book, or even build an old lego set together with Ace.
    Thank you for reminding me with this perfect post.

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  14. oh mama, you are in my head. this was a lovely post to read! i cut my own hair last night. well, just bangs actually but still... and cloth diapering and breastfeeding- i can't even imagine paying for the alternative right now.

    simple living is simply wonderful, i think. take care and enjoy.

    xo,
    erika

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  15. YES!
    This was exactly what I needed to read. It's all been on my mind so much... and this was so good.
    Thanks, Steph.

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  16. I could have written these things today, Stephanie. I have been having these same thoughts (drowning in them, really)for a few weeks. I have let it get me down at times but I'm realizing more and more that this way is good. I want my kids to know what is really important.

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  17. i was just thinking today, "what does it mean to live more simply?" and i mean REALLY live more simply...sounds like you've summed it up right here.

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  18. Wonderfully said - we subscribe much to that same frame of mind. Old is more than wonderful (said from a woman using an almost 40 year old waffle-maker) and box-color is one more thing in the home-made, hand-created thing I do for myself. I like giving myself manicures, I like getting my girls together and we have a nail-painting party. Heck, when we soak our feet we even get the boys together and they do it, too. (Why not? It feels good!)

    I don't think our children are missing out on anything by not having new all the time, or always having the newest, next-best thing. They're learning contentment with what they have, and avoiding the anxiety of not keeping up with the Joneses. :)

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  19. My family asked for a wish list from the boys for their birthdays, and it was the strangest thing for them to look online at "things" they wanted. We never shop, never buy new things. They have so much, and really if they had nothing but the forest and the lizards they would still have enough. They didn't even know how to add things to a wishlist...


    Henna is super cheap and lovely to color hair with... (I buy from Lush)

    <3

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  20. I love this. Really really love this.

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  21. A bunch of studies have been done about the relationship between money and happiness, and they've found that money can buy happiness, but only to the point of meeting your basic needs (enough food, safe place to live, reliable transportation, health care). After that the correlation falls apart and people become less happy. Perhaps it's because they're too busy chasing after more or perhaps it's because shiny new things don't stay shiny and new for long.

    Yes, I'm a nerd.

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  22. I cut my own hair sometime back in the spring or early summer because I had horrible split ends but just couldn't see spending $20+ on a haircut. Surprisingly, I thought it went well! I am 26 and have like 10 or less gray hairs, but when I go gray, I'm going gray. I've never dyed my hair and the idea of chemicals all over my head sort of grosses me out, and the thought of spending all the money it'd cost to maintain it just blows my mind! Maybe I'd consider henna someday.

    We have gotten more and more frugal after having kids, mostly out of necessity since I've become a stay-at-home mom. There's not a whole lot we're missing, but it's obvious looking back how much we were wasting. I think you're right about not needing a bunch of clothes, especially new ones. What bugs me most is hearing phrases such as "last season's" or "last year's" in reference to clothing and accessories. I don't know who buys a brand new wardrobe every year but it's definitely not us! (Although I am glad some people do because then I get to buy their perfectly good stuff at the thrift store.)

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  23. love. this.

    i read somewhere that the buzz is in the anticipating of new things (not the actual having), so that stuff always leaves us feeling unsatisfied--if that is where we are looking for fulfillment.

    so much truth here. love that you're going against the tide of back-to-school overconsumption. i worked at the housing authority where people could apply for help with late rent, and the demand in september was unreal, from parents giving in to the pressure to outfit kids in brand new stuff. kids had new backpacks, but their actual housing was in jeopardy.

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  24. This was good for me to read. On many levels (you hit on a lot here). I know I'm too hard on myself when I peer closely in the mirror in the morning. I dread wrinkles and sagging skin, when there's no point in that. But it's still hard.

    I have an easier time with the kid stuff. We don't do shopping/new stuff much at all. Lots of hand-me-downs, it's really all they know. But sometimes even that is hard. Seeing friends who get the newest, latest, greenest, most-developmentally appropriate things and I think, 'oh, I could be doing this differently.'

    but you're right that it's good to step back (waay back sometimes) and then it's easier to see again. Posts like this help.

    (i love your heart, steph.)

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  25. thank you for this. i'm on a similar journey... it's nice to know i'm not alone. :)

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  26. Amen sister. It's all about the journey, not what you wore or how many highlights you had on your way there. Glad you are slowing down and enjoying every step of the way.

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  27. Beautifully said. These times are nudging my family into a more contented space- and it feels so free and right. Its amazing what we can do "without."
    :)

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  28. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful journey with us <3

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  30. Thank you for this post - it was an excellent reminder for me. :)

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  31. This post is inspiring and convicting and I really needed to hear it today. :-)

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  32. Thanks for this!

    We live like this, too, which isn't usually a problem... in fact, the opposite, it's freeing!

    Sometimes, though, I start to look too closely at "other" people, our friends who have so much, who live in huge houses, eat out all the time, buy the newest, don't worry about $1000 car repairs, etc.

    Then I remember the gift of simplicity I'm giving my daughter. She won't grow up feeling like her life doesn't add up to the extravagance of her youth :). She'll be happy even if she marries an educator (like me) because she won't come to expect the best and newest of the material things in life!

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  33. Stephanie: This is such a great post. I agree 100%! And your kids will grow up with WONDERFUL memories. Friday I took my children shopping ... the local thrift store had 50% off day. My children were all happy (even the teens) with their fabulous finds and for under $50 everyone in my family of eight got several items!!! We also had fun, with many laughs and just an all around great time.

    Our society (for some reason) believes that wealth and happiness is measured by materialistic things... and I for one can tell you that is not true from my point of view!

    Thanks for another great post, I read your blog everyday in my email. I do not comment often (I am just bad like that) but I love what you write!

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  34. Fantastic post! I struggle with this, too, in a way... I don't have trouble not buying for ME... it's other people, like my kids and friends and spouse. When realistically? I'm sure they'd be happy with the experience of being together, instead.

    In tandem with that... for gifts, we've started asking for experiences instead of things. Last year, my mom and stepdad got my husband, me, and the 3 kids a membership to the local science center. At $150, it was cheaper than finding something material for each of us, and it definitely wasn't something we could buy on our own. Now we get to hang out together in an environment that the kids adore.

    Kids, (young kids at least), amaze me. It's the whole, "they got this awesome toy and look! they're sitting there playing with the box!" Seems that they know the best things in life are free, (like hugs, and dirt, music and sunshine).

    Thanks for making me think this sunday morning.

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  35. So true. Why do our kids need things NOW? Patience is a virtue that I often lack. So what better way to improve myself than to start as an example for my kids?

    Thanks for the insight =0)

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  36. This is a wonderful post about taking more time for the little things....Beautifully written Steph.

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  37. It's so amazing to me what a mental game this is too. DH came home from work and told me that he'd had a meeting about the financial future (he works for the county so $=taxes). Very long story short, the bottom line is that he described his employer's financial position as "bleak." We'll see no raises for many years, insurance and retirement will go up. I've been fretting because I know the kids will eat more and I want to go on vacations and I want to get a smart phone (still using my 4 year old $19.99 Tracfone and sometimes I feel like I'd like to be like my friends and have internet on my phone!) and...worry,worry, worry. Then my brother called. They are truly, truly tight and he called to say that my SIL got a job and they were so excited and wanted to celebrate but have nothing. I teased him about lighting a candle while eating their Ramen and he said he doesn't have a candle. Just in that moment my world shifted and I felt immensely rich. I have enough food - and good food - and I have an abundance of stuff in my cupboards (candles, even!). I have SO MUCH. I've been really robbing myself by letting myself think of what I WANT instead of how much I have. I am so, so rich.

    My kids wear hand-me-downs and thrift store clothes, exclusively. DH is an attorney and attorney's seem to be exorbitantly image-oriented so I often feel awkward about how my kids are dressed. But we'll take any hand-me-downs offered and the good news is that his co-workers kids' have good clothes, right!? ;) So your kids are not alone in not going back-to-school-shopping!

    Last year my son got teased in 1st grade about his hand-me-down coat. I sat down with him and discussed the options (take the Thomas patch off his coat or wear it proudly) and he thought long and hard about it and decided to wear it proudly (and I called the teacher and she talked w/ kids too!). It made me realize that hand-me-downs are teaching my kids good lessons. But it's not always easy getting to that realization!

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  38. The other day I was with a friend who mentioned spending $80 she "didn't have" on some lotions at one of those parties.

    I got all wah-wah whoa is me because there is no such thing as a splurge in my world. Every penny has a specific purpose that is, more often than not, already spent before we even see it.

    I'd LOVE to be able to run to the store and grab a new shirt or lamp or some make-up but right now it just can't happen. And it's hard.

    I need to look around and appreciate the things that I do have, though.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  39. Fabulous post!!! I so get your ideas in stuff - we are pretty minimalist with clothes and toys and seeking out the "free" around here... sometimes out of necessity but mostly because its just the right thing to do. It helps to live in a place where my kids can see poverty on the doorstep and realize that they might not have much compared to some but they sure have heaps compared to others. I think our kids will grow up more aware of their needs vs their desires... and hopefully they will do the right thing too.

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  40. Awesome post. I've been feeling like this a lot lately and am struggling to cut back. Thanks for putting it all into words.

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  41. I've read this several times now- I don't even know what to say. I just so appreciate you putting these thoughts out there like this. Letting go of stuff and the feeling of NEEDING stuff- it's so freeing and transforming.

    (oh, but I wish I was where you are about my grays. I'm so very gray. I wish I didn't care.)
    jil

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  42. Great post. We try to live minimally also. It's something we work at daily.

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  43. I'm not a stuff person. Or a money spending person. Really, it might be to the extreme. My only splurges would be on books. Maybe I should cut back on that...maybe!

    Nell

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  44. I love this post, Steph! You always seem to echo what I am feeling in my heart. This year I am going to try to whittle down what we have more and be more thoughtful and purposeful with our money. Adding this post to my notebook for the week- everyone should read it! ;)

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  45. I loved this post. One of the best things I took home from EVO was from Brene Brown's closing talk with Karen Walrond. They were talking about authenticity and personal image. What really struck a chord with me was the concept that we've been conditioned, as a culture, to expect the extraordinary and dismiss the ordinary. It's so easy to overlook the beauty in the everyday but I am so impressed at how well your family savors every moment.

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  46. you know, conversations just like this come up a lot with my friends when we talk about "how many kids we want to have." i usually say 3-4 and they say 2 because they "want to be able to afford to do things with their kids." and i just sigh and think about all the great things i will be doing with my 3-4 kids (maybe more who knows) that are just like the things you do- park, backyard, library, plus, i consider myself a smartie, i can come up with cool things that are cheap. :)

    so my point? i totally get this post. as each year passes i am becoming quite the minimalist.

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  47. Thank you times a million for your words! Needing more and wanting more are two different things and I'm grateful for your post.

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  48. I think learning to wait is good for kids. I even think being bored sometimes is good for kids. That's when they have to tap into their creativity and really see the world around them.

    At least, this is what I tell them as they whine to me. ;)

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  49. The "live simple" philosophy has been forced on me over the past year and a half (I'd be lying if I said it was my choice initially). And one thing I have found is that it's kind of easier if you just literally CAN'T afford something. Other options cease to exist. Even if at first you feel a bit deprived or that your children will be deprived. That feeling can evolve. Example- We currently have no credit cards- a forced situation, not by choice- and I am amazed all the time at how many things I DON'T miss...how many things we DON'T need. And if I had lived this way to begin with, perhaps I wouldn't be living this financial trainwreck, right? My hair is usually my one indulgence & that's a tough one for me to let go of. I love me but I don't love the gray strands! But sometimes the salon isn't an option & I just make it work. And it DOES work...and some days I can treat myself and it is just that- a treat, not an entitlement. Living more simply is a work in progress for me...but the longer I do it, the more I think I might just choose it, even when there are other options available. This is a great post- it got me thinking!

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  50. We too have had to REALLY cut back in the last year. Buying diapers put a huge dent in our budget. I too am thankful for the cloth we have.
    I love how when we are forced to spend less and shop at Goodwill how much we end up realizing that most people buy WAY WAY too much and for no reason.
    I watched a YouTube video on th garbage dump in the middle of the pacific ocean and I was disgusted at the purchases we make without realizing the consequences. It has made me rethink a lot of things.
    thank you for being you. you often put in words what I have been thinking, and you do it with great eloquence.

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  51. Cutting back and take it slow even if you are not in great need should always looked upon as kids lesson to enjoy what they have. Thankfully in Malta we have uniforms at school and as for the rest wellteaching kids to help in every little thing is wonderful- I am starting asking my toddler to help with light housework now and am excited at the many new things I have in mind to hrelp him develop into a wonderful man (or at least in my eyes)

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  52. I couldn't agree more. I wrote about the same thing a couple months ago. I thin more people need to consider the effect that having everything has on kids.

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  53. love this post!! thanks steph, you inspire

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  54. I think you are right too many of us are ALL consumed with NEW things. I recently pulled a bag of last years clothes out of my daughters closet and was SO happy to see that most of it was 4t which means ANOTHER fall/winter worth of clothes. Bless her and her high metabolism!

    xo
    Amy

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  55. There is so much I want to say here becuase, even without kids, I SO GET THIS. And, I, too, have very shaggy hair. Someday, you and I should have a cup of coffee and chat for real. :-)

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  56. This is the most refreshing post I've read in while :) What is life without contentment?

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  57. we were downtown this weekend where they do this free outdoor movie night on the square thing and sitting across the plaza from us was this big family with kids the same age as yours, clearly so happy to just be together, hanging out, and i though of you.

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  58. Hmmm..I've had to read this twice. Contentment and simplicity are beautiful things. I can't type more now, but I'm proud of you.

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  59. We do the is this a need, want, or something you can borrow technique...As we pulled into the grocery parking lot recently I said without thinking "I need..." My 13 yr. old said, "isn't that something you can borrow?!" :)

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  60. Stephanie, what an inspiring post {as usual}. As a family, we are trying to be happy with the "stuff" that we have and slow down a bit. We have even made the decision to sell our house that we built with our own two hands only a couple of years ago. Life is about so much more than all of that "stuff", but I always get so caught up in it, so thanks for the reminder! Oh, and I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's not quite sure when they got their last hair cut. I was quite surprised that it's been that long for you, b/c in any pics of yourself, your hair always looks gorgeous. You must be blessed with some good strands. :) Have a great day!
    Erin
    www.frundy.com

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  61. "your brain needs a makeover"...made me chuckle b/c it reminded me of that line from Tommy Boy where he's like, "well yeah, your brain has a candy shell!" (or something like that, but maybe you don't even know what I'm talking about!) : )

    lovely post. I agree completely that it's so important to teach children that instant gratification doesn't pay off in the long run, and that more "stuff" doesn't equal more happiness.

    the appearance issues are trickier to me. outward beauty doesn't buy you inner peace. but I waffle between feeling that way and feeling like there are valid reasons to care a little more about how I look.

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  62. I absolutely loved this post! Thank you for saying what's on your mind. I fully agree that we get caught up in our "things". It really makes you think about what your teaching your children. Good thoughts!

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  63. I love you, Stephanie. Thank you for putting your brain on paper for us to hear your priceless perspective! You have it right. Posting this for my readers to enjoy.

    HUGS! (I haven't had a cut or color since December... it's okay.)

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  64. I always read from googlereader and never click over to comment. But - you are such a fantastic writer and I love, love, love your words. You are real, inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for this blog and for all the encouragement you bring to so many.

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  65. I love this post. It helps me feel like we're in this together. After growing up in a home where we stopped looking at price tags and going out to eat stopped being a treat and became an every day thing, getting married to a downwardly mobile mountain man put an abrupt (and rather painful) halt to my way of doing life. But it turned out to be really good for me - even when it's 6 p.m. and I still don't have a clue what to do for dinner and would like to just run down the hill to order something. Slowly, I'm learning how to simplify, how to declutter, how to grow in contentment and not be in "buy" mode every time I turn on the computer or step out of the house. People around us think we're a little crazy and missing out. BUt it turns out that we're pretty happy after all.....even when I haven't bought new make-up in over a year or had anyone do my hair in longer than that. Who knew? I'm glad to know we're not alone in this pursuit.

    The funny thing is that we went to the Vancouver Aquarium the other day as a family. My folks got us passes to celebrate me finally doing the paperwork to get dual citizenship for our little guy. So we planned to treat ourselves to their cafe instead of taking a picnic. And you know what? Next time we are totally making a picnic made from my kitchen. It's way better. Now if I can just remember that on days when my creativity fails me in the kitchen......=)

    What if enough of us started to do this and life slowed down everywhere and people valued the simple and homemade and natural? Wouldn't that be amazing?!

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  66. I've been reading your blog for awhile, Stephanie, but this is definitely my new favorite post. I love your honesty, and that you're unafraid to wrap your arms around deep thoughts and let God do His work.

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  67. I know I already commented, but I've still been thinking about this every day. The honest truth is that I want to live my life more like you.

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  68. great post. as the oldest of five, i was brought up this way--second hand clothes, cloth diapers, *never* getting to eat out. but it's ok. i want to simplify for our kids, help them to be low maintenance and more thankful for what we DO have!

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  69. I totally agree. We have so little "stuff" in our house. It is very freeing. And my hair hasn't been cut and styled since May of 09. I did color twice with a box since then but only twice. We look for free activities as well. Our library has passes to different places like the Arboretum and such plus the books and movies. We haven't gone on a vacation in a year and aren't going to until Dec, but that is Ok with me!

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  70. Great post. For years my husband and I saved where we could and spent when we needed to. Now, 38 years later, we are enjoying paying off bills without worry, traveling without worry, enjoying life, without worry. I love to create and at first it was a MUST to cook instead of eating out. Now I love it and enjoy it a lot more. We do go out for breakfast every once in a while, but again its without worry! Slow down is great advice. Thanks.

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  71. Thank you so much for this post...you and I have a lot in common in this area. I, too, feel the tug of the "I want more, I want it new, I want it now" mentality.

    But, it gets easier to fight everyday.

    And my grays? They're silver too, and I don't plan on coloring them. Ever. :-)

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  72. We're the same way about clothes in our family. We wear the same clothes over and over and over again. They're comfortable. They fit. We like them. We don't need more...and maybe we don't really want more either.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  73. I admit, I don't know your whole story from reading your blog. But if I guess you are in our same situation.
    Its wonderful not to have satelite now (cable isn't and option and we don't have the money for any tv services right now, not even netflix)

    The kids actually play! Right now they love my old school NES and were donated a 2nd one so that there is one in the girls and boys rooms. So much cheaper than new Wii games!

    We have VHS players too, do you know just how many good classics people give away because they don't own a VHS player!?!

    I'll write a post linking to you today, and listing more things like this.

    The economy has really changed the way we think...and hubby has an job interview today! It may change a bit more, but not much after we have a little more income...maybe :)

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  74. i so appreciate this right now. we are in the midst of some hard life lessons. we did it ourselves, making poor decisions. getting caught up in the "need" for "stuff". we are in the process of foreclosing on a house, i haven't paid a credit card bill since last december. there is no money. it's hard to admit that to a stranger.:) but this post resonated with me because i wouldn't change a thing right now. i needed these things to happen to learn the bigger lesson. simple is better. i will never "borrow" money again. i cannot wait to get out of this situation and we are working hard towards that. but i'm so glad it happened. i feel like, because of this, we will be able to teach our kids what is really important. i want a different life for them.

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  75. so inspiring! thank you! my husband, young daughter and i love living simply in our snug little duplex with no cable and driving a 1985 station wagon.
    i cannot lie, though, i do like buying new things. but i am very selective and prefer things that have a great design and are made to last.
    anyway, i think your kids will learn to value money, but more importantly, to value life and be thankful for what they have.

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  76. I keep coming back to read this post Stephanie...so much of what I have been thinking about lately is so similar to what you wrote here. I am probably going to link this post to my own that I have yet to write if you don't mind. Thanks for sharing!

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  77. bravo! Thank you for sharing such a profound post!

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  78. Love this and my thoughts exactly.....Our circumstances have changed over the last 2 years and I was kinda forced to look at my life and my 'things' differently. But now I am so thankful. The thought of going "back to school" shopping just because...made me feel a little ill. so we didn't. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!! :)

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  79. I applaud you for being so honest. It's hard to say out loud "That's not in the budget". I've had to say it out loud before to justify going without this or that. But after the fact, it's liberating. You realize you don't HAVE to have things and you make do with what you have. And making do is just fine.

    We didn't go school clothes shopping either - there was no need. And if you can get to a place where you distinguish want from need, I think you're way ahead in the game.

    Jamie

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  80. Love this, post! I have been working to simplify for years. The journey has not always been easy but definitely rewarding. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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  81. Thank you for this convicting reminder. My husband and I don't have children yet and we are fortunately comfortable in our finances at present; as a result, it almost feels like we have little reason to watch our attitudes toward "stuff" (not like any little ones are looking to us to be good examples, and we don't censor our spending out of necessity right now...). Of course, we should be mindful of our attitudes to possessions for other reasons, and I really struggle to remember that. Thank you for your beautiful attitude and for sharing about your life and your family.

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  82. *this* is how desperately behind I am in my reader . . . just now seeing this.

    I have to say, Stephanie, we are united in our souls in this. I've been peeling back stuff, cutting away spending, and just doing it myself. And as you feel, "this is right for you," I feel, "I was made for this."

    I wish there were words to say how much I relate to you in this. As my children play in clothes they were wearing last spring, as the gray pops from the brown every day (you've seen the pictures, you know I don't mind sharing), as the Make Do replaces Must Have.

    My heart + your heart = in this.

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  83. I am linking to this on my Saturday Post.

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  84. This is almost verbatim my life - 4 kids, simple living, a year between haircuts for mama! Hand me down or second hand clothes. Its GOOD to live this way, and your children aren't suffering one bit!

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