We are in a really paradoxical place right now as a family(it is so exciting that we are a fmily, not just a couple). While we are still stuck in Brownwood for another 9-14 months, welcoming our child is an amazing opportunity to move ahead into the simpler life we feel called to. Every step is a baby step, but hopefully we aren't taking any backward. I read and read, soaking up knowledge of how to live responsibly, and deliberately, prayerfully, seek the best balance for us.
Some decisions are clear, although not always easy, such as homebirth and cloth diapering. Others like energy consumption are more tricky. While it is very important to me to minimize our waste of materials, it is a lot harder for me to measure everything's "cost" in terms of energy footprint. Just minimizing waste is a monumental task. Our main sources of waste are food packaging, and paper cleaning materials. I would like to start with the food packaging, because paper towels, facial tissues, and toilet paper are very highly biodegradable.
I am sure it would be beneficial for us to have a combined effort to decrease our food packaging disposal and also make an effort at recycling. Recycling is difficult because I am not certain that Brownwood has a center. I have heard both that there is and isn't one from various sources. Those who say there is say that is is on an outside edge of town down a very long dirt road. Even if this is so I know that the effort is worth it, and it is time to stop making excuses.
The other front at this point is to decrease our possessions. I need to make a detailed sweep of the house, and also we need to adopt a zero gain policy-meaning that while we minimize our consumption we do not buy anything new without giving the old away, we maintain, rather than increase our store of possessions. This is of course difficult while we are waiting on a baby, but since we are due for a major purge, I hope the balance will turn out favorably. We would like to have a garage sale with a lot of our possessions. Since we are going to be increasingly tight financially in the coming months, it is important to use what we can for income.
I haven't decided yet whether the best way to go about this is to plan very carefully ahead of time what we will keep and what we will let go of, or just to dig in and let my intuition guide me. My main idea would be to make a list of purposes for our family, things we want and need to accomplish, and keep only things that serve those purposes. I have been very careful with our Baby Wish List to keep things to a minimum, and choose only good quality things that we really need.
These physical things are of course what we get cought up in. It is easy to focus on what we can see. The big questions are; where does our ministry flow out of this? How do we simplify our time? How do we find a balance between frugality and nutrition? The biggest questions are; where are we going from here? how do we minister and support our family? how do we devote the right amount of time to each of the different things that are important to us?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.