Wednesday, January 28, 2009

more values


I think Dina made a good point in her comment on the previous post that you can't always make judgements on what people value based on your outsider's view of their lives. "For man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart."


Though I said this yesterday in a comment, I want to reiterate that I do not negatively judge people who own large homes, new cars, and clothing from fancy stores. I know wealthy people who own nice things and they also use their wealth and time to serve others. They seem very happy and I'm happy for them. What I would judge as not effective in achieving happiness would be racking up debt or working long hours at a job you don't like to pay for such things. I reject the idea that the pursuit of these things makes us happy. I worry that sometimes I am like the rich young man who wouldn't give up his wealth for something far sweeter: the opportunity to learn at the feet of the Savior.


Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on simplicity, specifically the General Conference address by L. Tom Perry on that topic. I was really excited about this topic as I've been on a simplicity kick since the beginning of this month. It turned out that many other women in our class were excited about it too. They had so much to say the teacher could hardly get a word in edgewise. I'm adopting a simple way of applying simplicity to my life. I'm making room for the things I really care about by eliminating from my busy life the things I don't. Doesn't that sound simple? It is, but there is nothing easy about it.


Confronting spending habits is scary and hard. It gives me anxiety. However, I need to summon the courage to do this if I'm going to become more efficient and more passionate about how I use my resources. I'm sad to say that tracking my spending habits and following a budget is not something I'm in the habit of doing. Though we do pay tithing and other contributions, sometimes other opportunities come up to help people. I would love to be able to say, "Yes! I can help and here's how much." Because I don't keep track of my spending, I'm often unsure how much is available. And I overspend, too.


Reading the examples of other women in the Money and Happiness book as well as looking at my family and friends' values has helped me realize what it is I really do value. sometimes by discovering what I don't. I despise shopping, so I'm not going to do much of it to find a good deal and save money that way. Instead I will shop at places where I can consistently find low prices when I force myself to go out and shop. I value health but not enough to pay through the nose for organic or drive downtown to buy local. (I do buy local at my neighborhood grocer when it's there.) I might have my own garden some day.


I do not like large houses, mostly because I do not like spending my time cleaning them and I dislike wasted space. We have three bathrooms plus a half, and I would prefer just two. We have a separate formal dining room and I would prefer an office--preferably very small. Besides a living room on the main level we also have a family room and then a large basement rec room. Instead, I'd like one "quiet" room for reading or visiting with quiet friends and then one "loud" room for t.v. and loud friends. Our bedrooms are much bigger than necessary. I think I could easily remove 500 square feet from our living space and not feel much difference in our quality of life. Maybe even close to 1000.
P.S.--The above photo is not my house.

14 comments:

Dina said...

I think your house is bigger than my house, so I think I'll pipe down now.

I dislike shopping too, and I think it's a good thing. No, I don't run all over and find the best deal, but at this stage of life, I value my time more.

I would love to hear how you are simplifying. Robert and I had a chat the other night about how to do this because our lives are on high speed right now. We realized that much of our discretionary time is spent doing church work. He is in a very busy Bishopric that has to meet often due to the many many needs of our ward members. I am in the primary presidency and often have to pick up the slack from others (scouting this week!) that aren't doing what they agreed to do. In the past week alone, we've had stake activities for our children, stake training meetings, pack meeting, baptism preview (presidency planned), impromptu presidency meetings for both of us, home teaching visits (our home), and home and visiting teaching visits (we went.) We will also be at the temple this Saturday.

While I value my religion and all of the blessings it brings to my family, that doesn't leave a lot of time to "value" much else.

Any thoughts?

Mallory said...

My mum hates shopping, unless it's for groceries. I like shopping (for clothes) for about 45 minutes, and only when I know I have money I can just blow (which means I haven't actually enjoyed shopping for about 5 years). Past that 45 minutes, my feet hurt, my legs hurt. I'm tired of trying things on and not having the person I'm with RIGHT THERE to critique the outfit, and I hate feeling like I need the person I'm with to critique the outfit.

Houses like the one in the picture are very, very typical in the temple-regions of Idaho (the southside of Rexburg, etc.). In fact, as big as they are, the architecture is getting so much the same (and ALL the colors are the same) that I'm hardly impressed by them anymore.

Gabriela said...

Interesting topic (as always!). Living overseas the last while has taught me a lot about what I want when we finally get back. I don't want a huge house-I don't want to have to clean a huge house and I don't want to have help! I want a well-layed out house that is easy to keep organized (lots of closets, shelving, etc.). Although I love all the bathrooms in Latin American homes (we have 7 right now), I would never want to have to keep up with them.

I am not a pack rack-I am constantly giving away stuff. We move every 1-3 years, so it's really helped me to keep our stuff from growing out of control.

Dina's comment scares me a bit. My life is pretty much not like that with regard to church even though we have the same callings (bishopric and primary presidecy)-I am afraid to move back to the States and lose our mostly peaceful family life to church activites and kids' athletic teams.

Dina said...

Not trying to scare you, Gabriela! :) It's just the reality of where we are in our life right now. We also have 2 of our 4 kids in piano lessons, and they each take 1 sport, but at their age, that equals 3 times per week. What scares me is that I don't have my 6 yr. old twins going yet, so half our family! What happens when we double all of this? Yikes!

But for Robert and I, it's definitely church service that takes the time. I have been an auxiliary president or in a presidency since we got married 8 years ago, so I don't know anything different. I dream about it, though.....

I think it depends on a lot of factors. Our ward has a group of homes and then 7 apartment complexes around that. We are very busy with the needs that creates.

Ave said...

Don't worry Gabriela, if you move to the outskirts of the mission field and have a small branch like we do, you only do what you can. Nobody expects any more. Or, you could move to a really highly populated Mormon area and not have to worry about it because there are like 250 more adults to pick from for callings. It is those moderately populated Mormon areas that you have to watch out for! In the end it doesn't really matter, because you get what you get, right?

yesweareonmars said...

That house in the picture is downright ugly! You would think if someone has the money to build a large house they would put a little design in it.

I hate shopping to. To me its just a waste of time. Like I have nothing better to do?

ML said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ML said...

I think Jacob (BofM Jacob)hit it right on the head when he told us to seek first the kingdom of God and once we obtain that we can obtain riches--riches that we will seek with the intent to do good to our fellow men. There are a lot of people that fall into that category I think. Probably many more than we know.
(BTW--Have a little sympathy for the rich young man--maligned all these years, yet it doesn't say that he didn't give away all his things, but only that on that day he went away sad. Maybe he was sad because he knew what he was going to have to do was going to be hard.)

Gabriela said...

Thanks Dina and Ave! :) I'm sure it'll be fine-I'll have Target to console me at least. :)

Calandria said...

Dina, to me your church service sounds very out-of-proportion to what it should be. That's just my opinion. When I was Primary president I spent many hours each week on that calling and it was disasterous to our family. I will never do that again. I don't think it's what God wants me to do. The poor are always with us, as the Savior said. Our children, however, grow up and leave.

Elder Ballard: "As a result of their focusing too much time and energy on their Church service, eternal family relationships can deteriorate. Employment performance can suffer. This is not healthy, spiritually or otherwise. While there may be times when our Church callings require more intense effort and unusual focus, we need to strive to keep things in proper balance. We should never allow our service to replace the attention needed by other important priorities in our lives. Remember King Benjamin's counsel: 'And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength' (Mosiah 4:27)."

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

We didn't get a big house until after child #5 was born. We went from a 1,000 sq ft home to a 3,500 sq ft. home. I loved/hated it. We felt like we needed to fill every room so we accumulated too much stuff that just had to be cleaned and took too much time to care for. Many times I yearn for the smaller house with less junk until I realize if I was disciplined enough I could just get rid of all the junk we have now and really simplify our home - decoraitng wise and cleaning wise.

I love shopping but I think that's because I can only actually do real shopping about twice a year. Living out in the boonies does have it advantages sometimes!

As for the church calling discussion going on here in the comments, in our stake they will not allow wives of bishopric members to be in any auxillary presidencies because they want to make sure families are not being asked to do too much. I first thought it strange but now, after living here for three years, I can see the families here are much stronger, closer together than they were in our old stake. I believe this rule has contributed to that a great deal. And on a side note - I love our stake president. He told Mr. FR a month ago that he had to take me out on a date every Friday. I've only been telling him that for years but now he actually does it. :D

Dina said...

I passed those comments on to my husband. :) I think a nice low key calling should be in my future....

Michelle said...

Have you looked at Sara Susanka's Not So Big House book? Your quiet area/loud area reminds me of some of her suggestions for smart and practical, but downsized living. I feel the same way about our house. There is enough space, but I just don't like the ways it's used.

Calandria said...

Cocoa, I think having seven children justifies a big house. :) But I know what you're saying about thinking you have to fill it up with stuff, and then resenting the stuff, etc.

Michelle, I read those books a few years ago-- I love them. Very practical.