Last Saturday the women of our church had an afternoon event focusing on green cleaning products. I’ve kind of dabbled with the idea before, I use baking soda for a lot of things, I’ve used vinegar to get up some incredibly stubborn hair spray build up on my bathroom floor, I clean with a commercially packaged ‘green’ cleaner most of the time. But I’ve never really fully made the jump over to making my own cleaning products. Despite reading again and again that it’s SO easy I just felt that it MUST be complicated. Guess what? It isn’t! In a matter of minutes I had mixed up a soft scrub cleaner which I have been using all week. Baking soda and an eco-friendly liquid soap. I used it on my shower. Sparkly! I used it in my sink. Shiny! And then I tackled my glass casserole dish that was filmy and spotty from years of use. I soaked it in water with vinegar and then used my scrub on the handles. Wow! I am a convert. On Thursday I mixed up an anti-bacterial spray with water, some peppermint Dr. Bronners and some tea tree oil. I would happily make my house smell like peppermint all the time; much better than commercial cleaners, even better than the green cleaner I’ve been using which smells like lemon verbena. I have no idea what verbena is, but I hate the smell. I’m looking forward to continuing to get rid of the toxic chemicals in my house for a healthier alternative.
The idea of living a healthier lifestyle is one I’ve been kicking around for awhile. First of all, because I believe the Bible calls us to good stewardship of ALL aspects of our life, as an individual and as it affects the people and the world around us. I’ve also been reading David Wann’s book “Simple Prosperity – Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle”. Sustainability draws me. It’s one of the reasons I left my job, it’s why I started a garden, it’s why I try to support small businesses when I can. It’s kind of eerie to read Wann’s book (published in 2007) and see some of his predictions already coming true in the current state of our economy. I’m not very far into the book yet, so far I’m still in the gloom and doom chapters, but I’m looking forward to learning more about how to live a sustainable lifestyle.
Part of the sustainable lifestyle and good stewardship is being a good steward of my health. This is probably contrary to my intense chocolate addiction that I’ve been going through the past few weeks. I can’t be in a store without buying SOME form of chocolate, and, like a true addict I’ve been hiding my secret vice from my husband. Yes my dear, I’ve been sneaking chocolate on the sly. And so I have decided that I must quit cold turkey. No chocolate. Not even one lovely little Lindor truffle with its creamy hazelnut goodness in the center. Because if I have the Lindor truffle, the next time I’m out I have to try the Godiva, and the next time the Starbucks chocolates (which really aren’t that good) and the next time that odd brand with the pretty package that intrigues me. Yes, they are small packages, a piece or two here and there. But it adds up and feeds my cravings. And the next thing I know I’m staring at my cupboards trying to convince myself that if I just stare at them long enough when I open them chocolate will have magically appeared in them. Cold turkey. Sigh.
Sleep. That’s the other part of a healthy lifestyle that I fail miserably on. And seriously, how hard is it to fail at sleeping? A lot of us do it though. I’m not looking up statistics (because these are supposed to be QUICK takes) but the average American is operating on a sleep deficit. And I’m not sure if it really counts as sleep if I fall asleep in front of the TV, with my body twisted into odd positions on the couch (thus contributing to back pain), waking up every now and then to think “I really should move to my bed”. I know that the nights I make an effort to get myself to bed as soon as I realize “Yep, I’m done for the day” are the precursors to days when I feel much more rested and ready to tackle the day.
While we’re talking about stewardship, we can’t really leave out the money part, can we? Most of the time I think I do pretty well on this, but if I’m totally honest there is still room for growth. One of the best things that I have ever done was to read a copy of a financial guide for couples while I was house-sitting for friends YEARS ago. I went home and set up a budget on my meager salary (I’m not sure I was even working full time at that point) and I have stuck with it for twenty years. The numbers and the categories have changed, and there have been times we’ve drifted off of it and times that unexpected expenses have put a dent in it, but overall it has helped us to keep a clear head when making financial decisions. Now I just need to get a better handle on those little expenses (like chocolate) that keep creeping in.
OK, and then there’s the issue of time management. Do I spend my time reading fluff (and I happen to LIKE reading fluff), browsing the internet, blogging, watching TV and a host of other time wasters, or do I spend it focusing on relationships with God, my family and community?
And in that vein, I’m calling this post done for the day, because Indy wants to play air hockey.
For more 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.