I'm guessing Formspring has been around for awhile, but I am just now learning about it. It seems like fun. I can't promise I will answer all questions submitted...in fact, I know I won't. But I will do my best! Some questions may morph into new blog posts :) All I ask is that you be respectful and kind.
Here is round two of the Q & A..thanks to all of you for the great questions! Molly asked: “Now that you are living “larger” than before (though still not “large” by any means), how do you resist the temptation to over accumulate?”
The one thing that keeps my desires to buy, buy, buy in check...is staying on a cash budget. I mentioned this in the last Q & A post, but it's worth saying again! When I have an exact amount of cash that I can spend that week, I turn into the most frugal girl around! :) I take out cash for 3 things: groceries, dining out/coffee (we go out once a week after church as a family tradition), and misc. expenses. The rest is automatically debited from our checking (all bills, etc.). I write checks for a few things...like rent and tithing. I also try to stay out of places that I know are tempting for me...Target, Pier 1, World Market...ETSY! :) I still love pretty things...and believe that it's my job as a wife and mother to create an inviting and warm home for my family. It's just a matter of planning, budgeting, buying used, etc. It also helps that I seem to have gotten a lot of my "spend" mentality out of my system in my early college years. I racked up a crazy amount of credit card debt on silly things and it was very difficult to pay off. I never want to have to go through that again! We don't have any credit cards at all...and if we do take out a loan for something, it's with great deliberation and prayer.
We also believe that everything we have is God's...and that it's just on loan to us. That includes our paychecks! It's a much different way of thinking when you are just taking care of God's resources for Him...that they were never yours to begin with.
Lindsay asked: “I would love to hear about how you and Matt are able to have such a good relationship.”
I attribute our healthy relationship to three things:
- Our love of God and our desire to glorify Him by following a scriptural view of marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33) For us, this means that Matt is the head of the household and I am his helper. He is ultimately responsible to God for the spiritual, financial, and emotional health of our family...and I release him into that role by submitting to him. When I say submitting, it doesn't mean that we aren't a team. We have mutual respect for each other, but when it comes down to it, I will always defer to him. In any decision that we make, we will discuss it together and hear each others views and go from there. If we are still having trouble deciding, HE is the one who will have to make the decision and be accountable for it. This is not always easy...because I have a more "dominant" personality ... compared to Matt's easy-going demeanor :) But it is absolutely the best way for us...when there are "two bosses" , life gets rather difficult!
- We spend A LOT of time together. Matt and I are best friends...and it's been that way since we met 10 years ago. I LOVE being with him...he's funny, charming, generous, and resourceful. We have lived in very small spaces together...which helps you to either love or hate someone! Obviously, we came out on the love side. :) We know each others quirks and rhythms like we know our own. And most importantly, we never go to bed angry! I can't even remember a time when we've stayed upset at each other for more than 5 minutes. So...we talk, we laugh, we plan, we dream...TOGETHER.
- We kiss...and stuff. Physical touch is extremely important to a marriage and it is THE WAY that men feel valued and loved. For women, it's usually different. Talking and connection emotionally is more important than touch. I try very hard to be available to Matt whenever he wants to be physical with me, because I know that is so important to his self-esteem and also his perception of our relationship. It's also biblical! See 1 Corinthians 7:5. This is a topic that I could go on and on about...but just know this: when we aren't making love on a regular basis for whatever reason, we don't have a very happy home life. God created us for intimacy with our spouse and it's an amazing gift...not one that we use to manipulate with, but one that we can enjoy together.
Sarah D. asked: “What do you do for health insurance?"
The last time we had health insurance was when we were working full time in the corporate world (2006). Since then, we haven't had any. To some, this may be foolish...but for us, it's the right decision. We have looked into several options for "catastrophic" insurance...the kind that would cover you if you had a huge medical bill, but for nothing else. But even that monthly payment was more than we wanted to spend. We have a chosen a more pro-active approach to our health care...eating a clean vegetarian diet, being active, chiropractic care, sleeping :) , washing our hands a lot, etc ... all things that help a person stay out of the doctor's office. And it's worked for now. I don't even remember the last time we went to the doctor for an illness. Of course, we know that doing these things is not a guarantee that we will avoid a serious car accident or some other unforeseen chronic or terminal illness...but if something like that happened, we would deal with it. I just have a real problem paying thousands of dollars a year to a corrupt insurance system...just IN CASE something might happen. Consider these findings from a 2005 Harvard study on bankruptcies related to medical bills:
The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children. Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.
Today's health insurance policies -- with high deductibles, co-pays, and many exclusions -- offer little protection during a serious illness. The paradox is that the costliest health system in the world performs so poorly. We waste one-third of every health care dollar on insurance bureaucracy and profits while two million people go bankrupt annually and we leave 45 million uninsured. said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.
After reading about these types of findings...I don't put too much confidence in having insurance for preventative measures. I do realize that we are very blessed to not have any serious health issues that we need to take daily medications for...something that like that would obviously change how we would handle this issue. But for now, we will continue to pay out of pocket for any needs that arise (i.e. homebirth, etc.). On another note...we DO have pretty substantial life insurance for both of us and have had that since we got married.
A big thanks to everyone who contributed ideas for blog posts in 2009...I'm excited to talk to you more about homebirth, unschooling, cloth diapering, my faith, and living green! :) Here is the first round of Q & A...there will be several more in the coming weeks. Sheri asked: “What does your typical day look like?”
We don't really have a "typical" day around our house, but we do have a loose rhythm that we follow. We are blessed in that Matt runs his own business and I work from home (20-25 hrs a week), so we are able to have a pretty flexible schedule. One thing that I am working on changing is my bedtime lately...I tend to stay up late to get stuff done that I didn't have a chance to do during the day, and end up staying up too late. Which affects my mood in the morning :) My goal right now is to get to bed early and rise early (as in around 5am)...but it's an ongoing battle!
7:30-8:00 am: We all wake up...Matt usually goes to start the fire while Bella and I snuggle in bed. 8:00-9:00 am: Breakfast together, read Bible, read newspaper, check email. 9:00-10:00 am: Getting dressed and ready for the day. 10:00-1:00pm: Depending on what day it is, we have ballet lessons, women's Bible study, story time, prenatal yoga class, etc. 1:00-5:00 pm: Home time...Matt might take care of Bella while I work if he's between job sites, we might do some arts and crafts, work on reading skills, watch cartoons or a movie, have a tea party, play outside, etc. 5:00-7:00 pm: Supper prep, family supper, clean up. On Tues. we have small group Bible study at our house. 7:00 pm: Bella takes a bath and gets her pajamas on. 7:30-8:00 pm: Matt and I take turns putting Bella to bed each night. 8:00-10:00pm: Alone time with Matt...usually hanging out in bed with our computers, watching a movie or TV. 10:00-11:00pm: Goodnight!
LaLibertad asked: “Were you raised in a religious household and how has your faith changed over time?”
I was definitely raised in a "religious" household...but it was mostly just a Sunday thing and not a relationship with living Savior. I grew up and was confirmed in a Methodist church and went to youth group, etc. mostly to socialize, see the boys, etc :) It wasn't until the 8th grade that I really started to "get it". We moved to a new town and my best friend, Heather (some of you might know her from The Laundry Pile), went to this "weird church" where they put their hands up in the air when they sang and everyone had TONS of kids :) There was just something so different about their family and their community of friends and I loved being around it. I started going there with her (even though my own family stayed at the Methodist church), and slowly, I came into a more authentic relationship with Christ. We moved again when I was in 10th grade, and my faith wavered a bit. I stopped following wholeheartedly and tended to look to PEOPLE and THINGS to fulfill my needs instead of Jesus. That continued into college...I dated some non-Christian guys and really got off the right path for awhile. But then I met Matt and everything changed. With him, it was so easy to be who Christ had created me to be. He is an incredible man of God and encourages me daily. After that point 10 years ago, I've never looked back. This is not to say that I don't have highs and lows in my faith...I absolutely do. I am not perfect by any means. But God is faithful and is also full of mercy...he sees my faults, but loves me unconditionally, as a father loves his child. I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus...it's a source of daily joy and a shelter in the storms of life.
Jeannine asked: “How did you began your “green” path?”
You can read about my "story" here.
Cassandra asked: “How are you and your family going to deal with the economic crisis and how do you budget, etc??”
I guess I don't feel like there is much to "deal" with ... we don't own a home, we don't have any stocks, and we have a somewhat stable income. We have been living frugally for so long now, it's just second nature to buy everything used, budget, meal plan, etc. Those things would probably seem like "cutting back" to some, but they are common for us. As far as budgeting, we follow Dave Ramsey's methods. We LOVE the cash budgeting system and find this is the only way for us to stay on track. I will be doing a post about that in the coming months. God is still sovereign...He is still in control of all things, including the economy. And my hope is not in the economy...it's in a coming Savior! Times are hard, but God is good and will not leave us in times of trouble. Even if we lost everything...we still have hope and the joy of our salvation.
Heather asked: “What does your family think of your chosen lifestyle?”
My family and Matt's family are super supportive of us in everything that we do (which is a blessing!). They will ask the hard questions when we are dreaming up something new (like when we decided to sell everything and travel the country)...but they have been nothing but wonderful throughout this process. When I first decided to have a homebirth with Bella, there were lots of questions...but after I explained the process, etc...they understood my reasoning and were behind it 100%. I do have 3 younger brothers who like to pick on me about not eating meat...which can be annoying at times...but it's usually just playful bantering back and forth. They all know their sister is a "crazy hippie" (their own words) and they're cool with that. :) I guess I don't even remember most of the time that how we live is different than anyone else :) It's just normal life for us.
Elizabeth asked: “Are you still eating mostly raw…now that you are in such cold country?”
I talk a little about that here. But no...for the time being, I am not eating "mostly raw". During the first trimester of this pregnancy, it was physically impossible for me to do green smoothies...but now I have been working it back in. They are sooooo cold though! It's hard to motivate myself to make one when I wake up in a cold house (waiting for the fire to get going). Plus, my midwife has recommend that I gravitate towards "warming foods"...which doesn't always mean hot foods, but I'm sticking mostly with warm soups, eggs, sandwiches, hot teas, etc. I usually eat the raw kale avocado salad several times a week. I am obsessed with it. The problem is that it tends to give me heartburn while pregnant, but most of the time I just don't care! :) We eats lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and eat homemade, whole foods as a general rule. I avoid caffeine, high fructose corn syrups, trans fats, food dyes, preservatives, etc. We still have a very clean diet, it's just not completely raw anymore and we're ok with that :) Eating raw tends to be more expensive as well, and we're trying to work within a pretty tight budget. I'm looking forward to the summer months, when I can sit down and eat an entire (in season) watermelon! I LOVE the raw diet and believe that it's the optimal diet for me, but right now in this season of life, it's been modified a bit.
And EVERYONE asked: "When do we get to see photos of your new place?!"
Soon...soon...soon! :) This week we've finally gotten some stuff on the walls and are making some steps towards completion. I still have a lot of little projects to do, but I won't make you wait until those happen...because it could be awhile! I will try to have some photos up in a few weeks, if not sooner.