Saturday, May 3, 2014

Laine's Letters And Paying Off Debt, Part 4

In March of 2004, Laine wrote a letter titled Fifty Ways We Paid Off Our House On One Income and her husband never made more than $29,000 in a year! I am continuing on in this series. If you have missed any, you can begin HERE.

17 ~ I've learned to be very thankful and content. They're both infectious, you know. "Be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5).  I lived for three months when I was seventeen in a Muslim household in Tunisia, North Africa without a place to bathe in the house, without a washer and dryer, without a car, without a refrigerator, without a phone, without screens on the windows {flies everywhere}, without a flushing toilet or toilet paper, without a dishwasher or even a nice sink. The cooking was done on a little hot plate. The weather was hot, hot, hot. The milk came in a horse drawn cart with flies all around it. If we needed some tomato paste, we bought it in tablespoon increments. Nothing was wasted, because money was scarce. 

In America, we would considered this family so very poor. But in their country they were middle class. I think about my living conditions there a lot. Especially when I am taking a nice, hot bath. I have so much to be thankful for. So much to be content about. It was the hardest summer of my life. But it was one summer that I learned the most, which has served me well in marriage. My husband says I'm one of the most contented women he knows. I only have to think of my stay in Tunisia, and I am totally content. "Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.' So that we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me."

18 ~ I often tell my kids, "it's not the amount of money that comes in, rather how it goes out that counts." So many people think that if they have more money, they would be better off. When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?  (Ecclesiastes 5:11) Rather: "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (I Timothy 6:6).

I have lived in this house with holes in my flooring, carpeting that's ripping up or has holes in it, sinks that are in rough shape, a tub with slight cracks in it, windows that are foggy because the panes are permanently damaged, the same couches for 16 years {and they were used when we bought them}, and numerous other things. Our house is hot, hot in the summer and cold, cold in the winter due to poor insulation. But I've learned to live with all of it, and to be so thankful. I keep two rooms warm in the winter with a kerosene heater and a fireplace. A curtain keeps the heat in our kitchen in the winter. It's my "winter look." The fireplace keeps the living room warm. It's so cozy in there. I can keep the house cool in the summer by running our whole house fan early in the morning with all the windows open, then shutting everything up and draping cooling shades over the main windows. The fans do the rest. It's amazing how you learn to work with an old house over the years

I really enjoy fixing this home up. I love my flooring, holes and all. I have throw rugs all over my ripped up carpet. And I paint, patch, and design the rest with quilts, tea cups and tea pots, family photos that I took antiques bought at the thrift shop, doilies, lots of lace, beautiful smelling candles, a fire going in the fireplace, and keeping my home clean and fresh smelling. It doesn't cost a lot to do that. I try to take the load off my husband by making his home as welcoming and comforting as I can on a dime. We sleep 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night so I try to have all our beds nice and cozy. Likewise, we eat three times a day. So this is another area that I try to spend our money wisely. It is for health, comfort, and economy. Not easy, but the Lord shows me the way. I love learning from Him! It's really the simple things that bring so much pleasure.