Spring seems to fnally have arrived! Although I guess were supposed to have some cooler weather the beginning of next week it's still warmer than winter, the sun stays up longer in the evenings, the birds are singing merrily and we've begun to transition to our outside work. Thursday, after supper, Jon and I went out and dug some spots for flower beds, gave them a good layer of goat manure, replaced the dirt and happily admired our work and the beautiful sunset. Friday, Jonathan set out for the field with a plastic lifter for the black plastic "mulch" we use to help keep weeds down. I brough him lunch around 12 and then spent some time working with him. By the time he was home for supper he was covered head to foot with a good layer of dirt-but he was one happy man to be labouring outdoors again :-)
What does all this have to do with cooking potatoes? Not much, actually this post has precious little to do with actually 'cooking potatoes' but rather it concerns something I have been seeking to better understand and apply: living frugally.
My dad often stressed to me the importance of realizing that my financial standard of living would probably change when I married. After all, by the time I married, Dad had been in the work force for 30 years whereas my husband had only been working full time for 2 years. Because I was aware of this ahead of time and because I hadn't really developed any bad spending habits I thought I was well prepared for living on a tight budget. In many ways I was, but I still spent a lot of time pondering the question, "How do I wisely manage the resources God has given us?" I borrowed books from friends and family, racked my brain for lessons I had learned from my mom, tried to learn from the stories Jon told me about his mother making do when he was growing up, and chatted with my man about what was important to him in regards to finances, as well as begging the Lord for wisdom on how to make due with what we had while wondering what I was going to do about clothing as the pregnancy progressed. Often my reading proved to be frustrating as there was all kinds of recommendations on how to save money that I already knew/practiced : Don't go out to eat often-not a problem, we have been out to eat four times in 7 months of marriage and I've gotten 1 coffee, and frankly, neither of us were dying to eat out anyway. Shop at thrift stores - already doing that and I grocery shop at a major discount food store. Hang your laundry to dry in order to save on your electric bill - electric is included in our rent and I hang my clothes anyway. And so on and so forth. In the end I came to the following conclusion: while it is important to learn self-control in spending, wisdom in purchases, how to live with less, etc I am convinced that one of the main elements of frugal living is trust.
Trust God. Believe that He is faithful to His promise to provide for our needs (Matt. 6:25-32) And secondly, obey. He tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness;" and then promises that, "all these things will be added unto (us)" Matt. 6:33. So, I sat down and made a list of all the things that God has provided for us and frankly I was blown away by how much He has not only met our needs but gone even beyond that. He has truly taken care of us. In my journal I made a note: "practical application #1: Seek first the kingdom and trust in God's provision". I truly believe that even if you are very careful tracking your money and you are discerning with your purchases, if you aren't trusting God for His provision of your needs, you're going to be miserable always worrying about how you are going to make it work tomorrow or next month.
So, why does the title include potatoes? If you really want to know, it's because one of our staples right now is potatoes and as you can probably imagine, I am trying to be creative with how many different ways I can serve potatoes and still have an appetizing dish :-)