Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can we stretch it???

Fall is here!! I LOVE this time of year. I am not big on cold weather, but the cool mornings and warm afternoons are just about perfect to me. I do very much enjoy the summer months too, but there is just something about fall that make me feel so much like a kid again.

Along with the start of the fall, we started a new book as a whole church, "Radical" by David Platt. It has been a very exciting journey for Colin and me to read through this book. It has stirred up things in our hearts that will forever change the way we think and view the world. I won't go into too much about the book because that is not was I wanted to write about today, but I will touch on one of the chapters he wrote and how we are letting it change our life.

Before I start though, I want to state that I am very proud to live in America. Very. I know that I am so blessed to have been born in this great country and I am also very aware of all the sacrifices that were made in order for me to have such freedom. Also, keep in mind that these things I will write about are just personal convictions that both Colin and I feel effect our lives. You may not agree and you have every right. But if there is one thing I have learned its that God will convict each person as he sees fit.

Now, in order to get the full effect of the book you just need to read it! But I am going to jump to chapter 6. It is titled "How Much is Enough". I feel like I am living in a world of excess. We can jumbo size, biggie size, king size and super size any meal that we can get our hands on! And I am guilty of always getting more than I need on a regular basis. Chapter 6 deals with how "wealthy" Colin and I are as we live in a world that is stricken with poverty. One of the staggering numbers that Platt puts down on paper is that in the time that it takes for me to sit through a church service, close to 1000 children die from starvation. 1000!! Ok, now I know that it is just a number, so think of it this way - I went to a school were there were 450 +/- in grades k through 12 --- in thirty minutes all those children would be gone.

Hunger and starvation are two things that I have never known. Again I thank the Lord for allowing me to be born in such a great country where I live among the wealthiest. But I had to wonder, "What would it be like?" In most third world countries people can feed their families for $2.00 a day. Colin looked up a TIME article where it showed one American family of 4 that spent close to $350.00 a week on just food! Now it would take that same family that was living on $2.00 a day three years to spend that much money on food.

As Colin read through the chapter he turned to me and said, "I wonder if I could live on just $2.00 a day worth of food for 30 days?" To which I replied, "I wonder if we both could live on $2.00 a day?" We want to do this so we can have some understanding as to what it is like to live on less. To "walk a mile in someone elses shoes" type thing. We might have to go hungry for a meal or two...we might figure out a way to make it the full 30 days. Keep in mind that as we attempt to get by on less, it is only because we have been blessed with so much that we are in a place where we can conduct this social experiment. The point is to experience, if even a tiny bit, what it is like to have to go without or to have to live on less than a dollar a day per person. We are not trying to see how frugal we can get or to see how low our food bill can get and then pat ourselves on the back because we saved so much money. Although, saving money and eating less are things that everyone in America should probably practice anyway. We get to do this voluntarily, but over 3 billion of the world's population are forced to survive on a dollar a day - and that dollar probably includes a lot more than just food. We might experience slight discomfort because we have to cut a few things out of our diet or cut back on portions whereas in many parts of the world it is survival, maintenance, and just trying to reduce the hunger pangs that never seem to go away.

Our current grocery bill runs anywhere between $200.00 and month to $250.00. We cut out most junk foods and started buying the house brands and found that we were saving a bunch of money and we weren't giving up quality. So now we are faced with another challenge. How do we cut back to even less when we have already cut out so much? Well, you get creative!

Colin took our shopping list and came back with what we hope is 30 days worth of food, and he spent about $110.00 total. We are only eating three meals a day, which means no snacks! Also we are only having one serving of whatever our meal is. No seconds or thirds. I make homemade bread that cost only pennies to make and we eat that with every meal as well.

Our first week we ate three meals a day for 7 days and only used $12.00 worth of food. I have yet to sit down and figure out how much this last 7 days has cost us, but I am going to guess that we are sitting around the same amount. Once I was able to figure out how much each item cost and about how much each meal cost to make, it is pretty easy to stay under the set goal.

This whole experience has really started to open our eyes and our minds.

(To be continued.....)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some more of our Summer!

Just some other pictures from our fast summer!!!

This is what our sidewalk looked like after the two lady bugs got done with it!! Too bad it got wet! Just one of the MANY springs at the 700 Springs Ranch north of Rocksprings. (In order to see the springs really well in this picture just click on it and make it bigger!)
These are two slides at Camp Eagle. I saw my life flash before my eyes as I went down it, but I now know I can exit a building this way, or a Southwest Airlines plain! Although, I didn't have a cold drink in my hand...I may have to practice that one. :-)
Colin and my running partner's husband, Cam, watching Erika swim for the XTERRA race.
I went through a few pairs of shoes this summer, and these are my newest pair. I like them the best so far.
Me and Marcy getting in a good ride early on in the summer. I had 10 seconds to set the timer, run up the hill, keep Ranger still, get on, and smile. It took us a few times to get a good picture. But it was fun!!
Erika and I took a trip to Camp Eagle to see what it was going to be like. 15 minutes into our ride we all ready needed to cool off! Lucky for us at the top of one of the hills there was a stock tank swimming pool!! In we went then off we went to finish the day!
Our garden was great this year, until it got so hot that all the plants burned up! But we did get to make pickles for the first time ever! I remember my mom making them as a kid, but it has been years. So this was a whole new deal for Colin and me.
William and I at our first team race!! William did great for his first ever tri! We did another one in August, but he ran over a nail and had to stop. The kicker was he was on his way back and had the hardest part over with!!!!!!! But I am still so very proud of him and all his hard work!
Some people have guard dogs...We have this little guy! When the girls were here Colin and the two of them found him. He just hangs out under our little Post Oak tree. My cat found him the other day so I had to move him to a safer place. I wasn't too worried that she would play with him too much, I was just worried that she was going to lay on him and squish him! She is the fattest cat ya know.
Well these are just a few moment from our summer fun!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer came...Summer went

Summer started with out us knowing, so why was it such a big surprise that it ended without us knowing. I sat down and started to look through all of the pictures that we took this summer and have tried to sum up what we did.

We burned things up! Our business was only affected slightly by all the great summer rains. In fact we were able to get most all of our jobs in and save some for next year! This burning season was great! I just love it. I love the hard work that goes hand in hand with this job. I love the people that we burn with most often. I love seeing the before and afters of the land and hearing the land owners' overwhelming awe over what the pastures looks like when it is all done. In the above picture, the landowner was unable to even ride his horse in much of this pasture due to the thickness of the brush. Now, there is no place he cannot go! He was so tickled that he was now able to even drive a truck on the south line of this area, something that he has never seen done in his whole life time!

These two lady bugs, Jaylynn and Ally, were with us for 16 days while thier parents were in Africa on a mission trip. We took many trips to the library and the town pool. Covered our sidewalk with more chalk then I thought possible, and fed a baby deer.

This was my little vacation. Colin and I got to meet with the owner of the 700 Springs Ranch just north of Rocksprings, and for me it was two days off while Colin drove around the huge place. This picture is of the South Llano. It is at a place that not too many people know about. I was able to see it only because I put in the river in a kayak a few miles up in a private little spot. I spent the day before on the same river where the headwater springs are. Yes, springs. They just castcade right out of the rocks and flow into the river. 20 million gallons a day per spring! Just the art work of the Lord.

I spent all summer getting ready for this race with Erika (in the sunglasses) and it was a BLAST! We took a trip to Camp Eagle earlier on in the summer and from that trip we both thought it would be a better idea to compete in the XTERRA as a team rather than as individuals. The race was a 1000 meter swim in the river, and 10 mile mountain bike ride, and a 4+ mile trail run. Erika was the swimmer, and she was awesome!! Chelsey Lou (pink hat) was our runner, whose time was only four minutes behind a national trail running champ. And I was the mountain biker. I guess I did ok...I did make it out alive! We were hoping to finish the whole thing in 3 hours, and when Chelsey Lou crossed the finish line, we were done in 2 hours and 30 minutes!! That time was good enough to put us in first place for the 3 person relay! This was one of three triathalons that I did this summer. I also did one 10k race and I am working on a half marathon in October. My goal is to do a full marathon next year.

AND...I rode! As much as I could, when it wasn't 100+ degrees outside. My faithful mount and I have a great relationship. At the start of the summer I took him to a dressage clinic and we both came back different! Now there is nothing dressage about both horse or rider, but the trainer we worked with was great! I am so loooking forward to another clinic that should be happening some time this fall. I also made some really great friends at said clinic! It is just amazing how God can put such great people in your life when you least expect it!
So thats pretty much it. Our summer in one short blog. It was a great one for sure and I give it all back to God. Without Him in our lives, none of this would have been possible!
I am now looking forward to this fall and seeing whats in store for us!