Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Death of Etiquette

Does no one teach proper etiquette anymore? I used to find it amusing to read through my mom's old ettiquette books when I was little. I'm so glad she took the time to teach me social graces; if you are a parent and are reading this: invest in teaching your kids these things and it will serve them for a lifetime!
While etiquette seems to have died in many areas, including table manners, letting the man be a gentleman, and respect for our soldiers and President, the main area I will address today is sympathy etiquette. I recently lost my Grandpa and while he was very old and in a bad condition, it was a very real loss of a great man nevertheless. In the week since this occurred, I have been surprised by the lack of manners displayed by some folks I consider friends regarding my loss. When told about his death, two friends merely said, "Oh" and moved right on to the next topic without so much as an "I'm sorry." Others that do know of the death haven't mentioned it at all.
My friends here in my hometown have been WONDERFUL about it and I applaud each of them for having great tact and willingness to do what they can to help in the situation, as well as one of my dear e-mail buddies and my Grandma (on the other side of the family). Folks I hardly even know who read of it in the paper have been heartfelt in expressing sympathy to me when I run into them around town. I'm not looking for cards and casseroles and bouquets. But a heartfelt "I'm sorry for your loss" is appropriate.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Frugal Fridays

Frugalness with Time:

Sometimes I get so caught up in looking for frugal solutions that I forget about the reality of life and my many committments. So, my tip for today is: Weigh the costs of being frugal in a certain area and decide for you what truly makes frugal sense in the areas of TIME as well as money.

For example: I tried making my own baby wipes a few years ago and found that not only was it more work for me, but I had to use 2-3 times as many wipes since they were thinner and fell apart more easily so I had to double them up when wiping. Trying to saw through the roll of paper towels made a paper-fuzzies mess everywhere and so I ended up pulling all the towels off the roll individually and then cutting them into thirds so they'd fit in my wipe box! I discovered that it's easier for me to just buy the cheapest Wal-Mart brand wipes in bulk. In reality, I'm saving much time and effort and the cost is about the same since the Wal-Mart wipes are more durable and I only need 1/3 as many per diaper change. Especially since my babies won't always use up enough wipes in a week before the homemade wipes "spoil." Some people have success with making them, but I'm not one of them!

It may be more expensive to go to the salon every few months, but I know from experience it is worth it if you want a short or layered cut that actually looks nice! It took a year for me to grow out my "mistakes" in this area! Frozen pizzas may not taste nearly as good as homemade, but if they are on a very good sale we will buy them once in a while and spend less than we would have for homemade pizzas and will have saved a lot of time too! Cloth diapers can be wonderful but only if you feel that the time spent doing extra changes, more soaking and laundry, hanging, and folding, etc. is worth the money saved. For those of us who have to purchase water for a cistern or share a community laundry room, it makes more sense to go with the Wal-Mart brand of diapers for $5 a week.

Because I live in a remote state, I have very little shopping options around. I shop the sales at the two grocery stores in town, shop the Family Dollar and thrift store and make-do until I can get to the nearest Wal-Mart (2 times per month). It was hard to pass up a Walgreen's deal last week that could have saved me $10 on cereals we love, but my husband decided that it wasn't worth the $8 in gas money to drive to Wal-Greens and the 3-4 hours worth of dragging two little kids on a long car ride and shopping trip just to save a couple bucks. So I stayed here and had an enjoyable day and bought some cereal here with a coupon. (You gals in the city are so blessed with all your stores!)

If you love to sew, then by all means, do it! But realize that buying a 30 cent shirt from the thrift store or finding clothes in the free boxes at yard sales or clearance racks in stores can be infinitely cheaper than sewing because of the time you need to take to shop for fabric, wash it, iron it, cut it, sew it, deal with sewing machine malfunctions, etc. and if you're not a great seamstress your product may turn out to be awful anyway and something you just turn into rags! Sewing is a great hobby of mine but I'm mindful that it's not "time-effective" unless I'm making something that is very simple and can't be purchased for less.

My main point is, since our time is eaten up constantly by so many things these days (husband's needs, small children's endless demands, church activities, relationships, home-keeping, errands, etc.) we should not only be concerned with where every penny is going, but also how much time we are spending on things, even things that could potentially save us money. If I can save both TIME and MONEY by doing it myself it's best! But if I want to save time, sometimes I need to splurge a little and if I want to save money sometimes I have to sacrifice a lot of time.

Some quick examples of things that save both time and money:

*automatic bill pay saves a stamp and saves you from having to remember to mail the bill, fill out the check, etc. every month (You need to be very responsible and careful if you use automatic bill pay!)

*Spending more time planning your shopping list and rearranging it according to the stores you are going to and the layout of the store so you can shop faster and save money (it's a proven fact that the longer you browse the more you spend).

*Bulk cooking-Whether you make a months worth at a time or just cook 5 lbs. of hamburger and freeze it in 1 lb. portions, bulk cooking can save you time in the kitchen and money too since a lot of bulk foods are cheaper. You're also saving energy if you re-heat using a microwave.

Pics of Family

A Family Pic (minus Dad since we couldn't find him)

Uncle Goo-Goo holds Little Man

It sure was tough trying to get one pic of these two even looking remotely in the same direction--forget about smiles!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One Last Letter

Grant, Colter, Jer and I at the funeral

A photo board of Grandpa's life I helped design

Dear Grandpa C.,

If I could write you one last letter to you, this is what it would say:

It was my priviledge to be your granddaughter. Cousin after cousin stood up and said this in the eulogy today and I, too, feel it with all my heart. When Jason stood up and said you were a Hero Grandfather it resonated deep within me. You were definitely a hero to me and the very definition of what a Grandfather and a Hero is. When Raine talked about all the memories of us at the cabin, it brought the best things to mind. She said she will always see "Wyoming" as Grandpa. How fitting for a rugged, but gentle, outdoorsman/cowboy/soldier/builder/fisherman.

I know it was your time to go and I am so glad you no longer have to sit looking out the window, wishing you were independent and active again. I'm glad you are reunited with Grandma after 21 years apart and the many loved ones who have gone before you. Even though I hated seeing your pain, I will miss bringing the kids to see you and your presence in our lives which has been a rock throughout my entire life. Even when you could no longer do much the last few months of your life, you could still love us, and smile, and enjoy our company, and tease the kids with your remote control dog! You loved Alathia's big brown eyes and always commented on them and you often held little Jeremiah, pleased that he would smile up at you. You were very positive and never complained in any situation. You had a mind as sharp as a tack until nearly the end of your life and I just know I got my love for reading from you (as well as my stubborness and my love for dessert!)

I was never in doubt how you felt about me or anyone else in your family, because you weren't afraid to tell us that you loved us. I loved you so much and will cherish your memory throughout my lifetime. I will always be thankful that I had this time with you where we were back in Wyoming and you lived close enough for us to visit you often. In the blink of an eye, I'll be there at the Heavenly Hoedown. So build me a mansion right next to yours!

"Lindsey Linds"

Until we meet again!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Goodbye Grandpa

Yesterday one of the neatest men I have ever known left this earthly life. My Grandpa, Don Campbell, almost 92 years of age, is now at peace in Heaven after being in a nursing home for 4 or 5 months watching his body decline. I prayed that he would go soon because it hurt me to see him suffering and struggling to breathe and be inactive and lethargic when I've always known him as one of the most indepent and industrious of people. But it's still difficult to know that we can't go visit him "one last time" and that he won't smile and chuckle watching Ali and Jeremiah play with him anymore. I thank the Lord that we had some special time together where I was able to visit him often. I thank the Lord that we have some confirmation (though he was very private about his faith) that he was a believer and knew where he was going.

Thank you Grandpa for spoiling me rotten all those years and showing me an example of what a gentleman should be. You used to feed me green grapes in my high chair and let me dig in your pockets for Doublemint gum. You let us watch your John Wayne movies and cartoons, but you also taught us to work in the garden with you and play outside. You always made us lovely breakfasts at the cabin and you helped us cut down a Christmas Tree each Christmas eve up until 10 years ago. You bought me my first horse, a little Shetland named Justin Joseph, when I was only 5. You were a wonderful carpenter and made many of the churches and businesses in this county, including wooden handicrafts and gifts for all your family. You gave a lot of down-and-outers a chance and were generous to a fault. You served your country to preserve our freedom in WWII and you raised a young son and daughter alone when your first wife deserted you. You touched the lives of many, many people and you will be greatly, greatly missed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Home of our Own (Someday!)

Sometimes I get to thinking about a home of our own. I can't wait to plant a fancy garden with all kinds of herbs, vegetables and fruits (if they'll grow!) I can't wait to decorate and paint and make my home a haven of beauty and rest. A place where the children can run freely outside and have plenty of room in the house to stay out from under my feet. It gets tiring to share one washer and dryer among 17 people, even though I have the advantage being the only stay-home adult here. It gets tiring to always be the only one raking and doing yard work only to see the neighbor kids constantly littering garbage all over and using our outdoor chairs and swing roughly. It does get difficult with the noise and lack of privacy in these close quarters. At times I get very, very claustrophobic since we only have one window in our whole apartment that leads to the outside (the rest show into the pantry or breezeway in front) and our A/C unit is in it!
When I'm starting to get discontent I have to remember the little farm house we first lived in when we moved here a couple of years back. There were mice (my deathliest thing I'm afraid of!) and it was ice cold in the winter and oh so lonely out there with only the cows and a long drive into town. We had much more work to do with chopping wood and stoking fires for heat and we had to ration water. Living in a clean, warm, mice-free apartment that's only 2 blocks from our bank and grocery store isn't so bad! While my neighbors can be overly "present" in our lives, I am thrilled when they come over bearing tamales or flautas or the latest thing they've cooked. I have gotten them to babysit on a moment's notice in a pinch and their company and their culture is refreshing. Who else's neighbors in America today have time to sit outside in the evenings and chat?

I have learned to be very disciplined about getting my laundry done at a certain time when the facilities aren't in use and I have learned to set boundaries and be strict with the neighbor kids which I know they respect me for. While we are outgrowing this tiny place, I think if I succeed at keeping this place clean and homey I can do it just about anywhere! I'm thankful that we have a space of our own, however humble, because it is more than most people have. We don't have to pay when the water heater breaks down or the plumbing goes awry, and we can use as much water as we want since it comes free with the rent. We have lived in a dark, dank, cold, and strangely decorated basement in a very rough town durning our summer as missionary interns and nothing could be more depressing than that! So, I will cheerfully enjoy these days here until God leads us to the next dwelling. I rejoice in the friendships I've made here that might make an eternal difference in my Mexican neighbor's lives and I am thankful to be sheltered from the hot western sun!

Life at Home

Here are a few pics that showcase life at our house. My one beautiful pot of flowers, which has really thrived this summer, mainly because Ali and the neighbor kids can't reach it! Thank you Mom for potting it and giving it to me as a gift at the beginning of the summer! I made a cake last week for my neighbor Isa, and it is by no means fancy as I was in a rush, watching 3 kids at the time I made it and had only 2 colors of frosting. However, I would like to continue to practice and become a great cake decorater like my grandma! I babysat Fernanda and Frida, my Mexican neighbors so their folks could go out on their anniversary. I found some old balloons which we had fun making balloon animals out of, which I hadn't done in a long time since my Kids Ministry days!

Life here is good, but exhausting. I have those days where I feel joyful and hopeful about everything, and then those "reality days" where things are so hard and parenting feels like work I don't have the energy for. Jeremiah screamed and fussed a lot today with his cold and cutting teeth and Ali was quite a handful. I honestly don't know how those moms with tons of kids that are very young do it without having a mental breakdown. But through it all, I know that God is using these tough days to build character in me and strengthen me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Frugal Fridays

My Frugal Friday (for Crystal's blog on Biblical Womanhood) tips for today are:

Barter with friends! Here is a pic of how I was blessed yesterday by a good friend. Her baby girl is almost a year and on whole milk now and she had about 7 cans of un-opened formula which she gave to me for my baby boy since my breastmilk is starting to dry up (he's 9 months). I was wondering how I was going to squeeze the budget enough to start buying formula since it's SO EXPENSIVE! God is sooooo good to provide for our every little need! My friend received some of these cans of formula last year from our other friend who no longer needed them when her twins turned one. If I don't end up needing them all before my son is a year, I plan to pass them on to another Christian mom who could benefit from the. They're good until 2009! Since my friend was so willing to bless me with $110 worth of formula for free, I plan to bless her by not charging her for the month of August for the babysitting I do for her son once a week (since she's a working mom).
My parents taught me to barter because my dad often did it in his self-owned furniture business. He'd trade a log bed for a half a beef from a rancher friend. They even traded furniture to the orthodontist for my brother's braces!

My friends and I also have clothing swaps where we all bring clothes/toys/baby gear we don't want or are willing to loan out and we swap things around. This is a great since it's absolutely free, which is even better than garage sale-ing (though I do love yard sales!!!) I've also traded baby-sitting for my exercise bike.

My final tip is: Swap your books at a used bookstore for credit. My brother is leaving for Argentina as a missionary and gave me his entire enormous library of books. I took in those that I didn't want for myself or my church library and got tons of credit. In turn, I got these great books pictured and still have $20 to spend there!

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