Sustainable Living: Tough Lifestyle Decisions

Our former wall unit/entertainment center

Last week we did one of the toughest things yet in the journey to become sustainable.  At least for me it was the toughest.  I had inwardly resisted the sale of the beautiful wall unit we had acquired years ago for a bargain price at a thrift shop.  After the purchase we discovered it was solid cherry made by Harden Furniture Co and the actual retail value had been around $18k!  It definitely outclassed us, but I always admired its beauty in our living room.

When we moved to our new off-grid homestead and tiny house I knew this was one set of furniture we may not be able to keep, but still hoped we could work something out.  I was willing to sell if we got enough to make it feel worth the loss.  As it turned out it was accidentally listed too low on Craigslist, and someone (who saw the incorrect ad) wanted to buy it when we were extremely tight financially.  I felt completely forced into the deal, and it was a grievous way to see my much-loved furniture go.

I know furniture has no eternal value and earthly possessions are only temporal, but the way this happened made me feel completely depressed for two days.  I felt trapped and angry.  It didn’t help that Silver Oak was actually happy about the sale because we could pay bills that were weighing heavily on him.  So at first he didn’t share my keen sense of loss or feeling robbed! 

Until the big blow-out.  It came to a head that Sunday afternoon, and I spilled my guts (and not in the nicest way).  As it turned out he had not fully realized how attached I was to that furniture, and how helpless the whole deal was making me feel.  It was a rocky part of the journey, and just in time for our 20th wedding anniversary!!  Imagine!  That made it feel even worse.

Now, I’m sharing this to be honest.  You may admire my ability to live like we do (which, by the way, I LOVE for the most part), and think I’m some angel or something.  Now you know for sure that I’m not.  🙂  Things were a bit spicy for a little while.  It took both of us time and prayer to look past our own hurts and care about the other one. 

I’m so thankful for things the Lord has taught us about resolving conflict and caring about each other.  And I’m also thankful for the hours and hours we spent over eight years ago cleaning up past bitterness and hurts we’d brought into our marriage unknowingly.  Back then, as we methodically went back through many past failures and hurts, taking them to Jesus and letting Him heal and forgive, it seemed like we would never be done.  But eventually we came to a sense of peace and freedom to love each other in depths we never had before.

20 years!

That doesn’t mean it’s all rosy now, but we are equipped with tools to resolve root issues when conflict arises.  A side benefit is being able to lead our kiddos in prayer for healing from Jesus when they are struggling.  Adding half-grown children to our home brings even more issues than children born and raised under our roof.  So, when something comes up, we are glad for past struggles that now aid us in understanding and helping our precious children.  I’m thankful for their forgiveness for tense moments they felt as we worked through things last week, and for a godly husband who humbles himself to care about me when I’m struggling.

This week the wound of losing that furniture is no longer raw.  We learned some good lessons and I would still give it up for the lifestyle God has led us to.  It bothered me that it was so hard for me, and I’m thinking the Lord maybe needed to remove something that was too important.  At any rate, I will always remember that furniture fondly and possibly with a bit of sadness.

Two people make it go faster

On our anniversary Silver Oak and I went away for the day and visited nearby historical sites.  We enjoyed learning more about the “old ways” (for a later post) and having un-interrupted talk time. 

We also spent a few days on projects, and the old now has a brand new metal roof, using more metal given us last year. 

Our tiny 800 watt generator ($89 on sale from Harbor Freight) powered the circular saw for cutting the metal (our big generator was not on), but it kept throwing the breaker because it only has a 900 watt surge capacity.  Silver Oak said, “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” pulled his truck up, connected our small 750 watt inverter ($40 on sale, also from Harbor Frieght, but with 1500 watt surge capacity) to the battery, plugged the saw into the inverter, and powered it using the truck engine.  Off course long term that wouldn’t be efficient, but part of homesteading is learning to adapt and improvise.  When one thing doesn’t work, try another.

Notice I don't get higher than absolutely necessary!

The inverter on the left and tiny generator in the center

Roof completed! Now wait for the paint!

We cleaned out the camper enough to host a family of ten overnight Saturday!  We were honored to have the Rick Grubbs family stay here after sharing his message “Redeeming the Time” at our small house church gathering.  It was so enjoyable we are hoping we can host more families in the future.


The Barn Raising

P.S. Our gratitude to Bill Gothard of Institute in Basic Life Principles and John Regier of Caring for the Heart Ministries for their tremendous life-changing teaching and counseling which have greatly influenced our lives and ability to deal with relationship conflicts.

Linked w/Frugally Sustainable , Barn Hop, Growing Home, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives ThursdayFarmgirl Friday!, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.