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.

Blessings,

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.

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28 thoughts on “Sustainable Living: Tough Lifestyle Decisions

  1. I am always awed by your graciousness. I don’t know that I would ever be able to give up heirloom furniture; and if I had to, that I would ever be forgiving about it, though I hope I would be.

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  2. Nice post….I can relate to you on the furniture….we once had a beautiful dining room set that we no longer had room for and we sold it at a yard sale dirt cheap! I often think about how I let it go for next to nothing!!! Oh well it’s only furniture and there is way more to life then that! I admire you for living your life as simple as possible….in this crazy world we live in we all need to slow down n not rely so much on convienence!!! Happy Anniversary!

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Janis. I guess when we have to let things go at bargain prices we are allowing someone else the privilege of getting a good deal. I *love* good deals, so I guess it’s a way to bless someone.

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  3. What a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing and glad things are better this week for you in regards to the furniture. Too bad you couldn’t sell it for the value you listed. The barn roof looks great. Mostly: Happy Anniversary to both of you. Sounds like you had a great day.

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    • Thanks for visiting from Romania. I have good and sad memories of visiting Romania before I was married. It’s a beautiful country! The people so hungry for Hope and Truth. And the first adoption we attempted was of a little boy in Romania. They closed their doors to adoption just weeks before we were to travel to get him. As far as we know he is still in a mental institution because he is blind.

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  4. Loved Reading this!!!! You have Always had a way of making me Admire who you are, and what you do in life!!!
    Congratulations on your 20 year Wedding Anniversary!!! I Hope you have MANY MANY MANY More together!!!
    I am Always so Encouraged by the things you post…and although I rarely Comment…I just had to let you know how you Inspire me to be a Better Godly Lady, Mom, Daughter, and Friend!!! Much Love to you and Yours!!! 🙂

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    • You are so kind B.J. I’m grateful for the righteous upbringing my parents gave me, a husband who is coming after my heart, and a Father who is so merciful when I fail. If the Lord can use my failings to bless you, I’m glad. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your encouragement.

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  5. Some times God takes things we’re holding onto and uses them in a ways we do NOT understand. What a mighty God we serve. I’m so glad to see He is doing a mighty work in You, Silver Oak and the children…I don’t think the furniture was so much of a hindrance–as it was a tool, used as a lesson brought about by the Lord.
    Nice to read this story.
    I too struggle with being married to our things– I wonder what the Lord will take away in order to teach me!

    have a wonderful weekend.

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  6. This post made me choke up. It’s a lovely tribute to and memorial for your beloved furniture. {{Hugs}} for the loss and thank you for sharing the gracious way in which you worked through the loss with your husband.

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  7. When we made the move from Florida to Georgia, I had to leave behind the formal dining room set we had bought just before we got married. I was heartbroken but I like to think that the people who bought our house have enjoyed it. Sometimes our possessions seem to “possess” us! Isn’t it wonderful how God gives us everything we need to “get over ourselves”?!
    We are also fans of Institute in Basic Life Principles. Hubby and I used IBLP’s Financial Freedom seminar presented by Jim Sammons and just loved it. Learned so much from them.
    Happy anniversary to you and Silver Oak. Praying you have many, many more!

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    • Oh, that muat have been so hard! Especially with all the memories, getting married, first years together, and such. But you’re right, God helps us get over ourselves. 🙂

      We love Jim Sammons as well. Some of his practical teaching has greatly influenced our lifestyle.

      Thanks so much for your good wishes!

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  8. Rosepetal I posted that in order to save money I had to get rid of my beautiful modern fireplace with glass doors and a hearth for an older clunkier woodstove. I have been thankful many times over for its warmth and the savings but I still miss sitting on my hearth Christmas morning the only time I ever sat on it…..silly and I of course am so thankful for my talented husband but I love that you share that marriage does take having to resolve issues sometimes. My husband and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary this summer and its so true.

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    • I can see why you would be sad about losing your hearth. I would be too.

      We can choose to resolve issues or walk away from each other. The first is painful, but the latter is devastating. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Wow, Pamela! Losing all in a fire would definitely put things in perspective, it seems. And your comment reminds me that the loss of one beautiful set of furniture is nothing. To think that I have my family and my little home…what a lot to be thankful for every day!! It makes my struggle about selling the furniture seem silly. Thank you for sharing!

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