Tuesday, January 5, 2010
One of the things I do my way that other people (i.e. my children) think is sort of out there is to keep track of our electricity usage on an excel spreadsheet. I've been at it for four years now. I can tell you how much we paid each month and what our usage of kilowatt hours was. I'm concerned about that for lots of reasons - 1. we all need to use less electricity because it adds pollution; 2. we all need to use less electricity because it's expensive and I'd rather spend my money on other stuff; 3. we all need to use less electricity because we need to break our dependence on things that might not always be around; 4. God made us stewards of this earth and we need to be stewarding better; 5. we all need to be less wasteful.
I've found that a lot of things I am concerned about have two common elements - 1. I like to save money wherever I can so I can retire when I want to and live how I want to and so I can bless others as the Lord leads and 2. God made me a steward of everything around me and I need to recognize that (i.e. ecology, recycling, energy savings, etc.). The electric bill is a good example of how those two elements dovetail. Right now there is a fire in our fireplace insert that is warming my house instead of the electric heat, burning wood from a tree that fell in our yard. Bless Mr. Roy's heart for all the chainsaw work he put in last year to get that big stack of wood in the backyard!
I also don't do a lot of shopping for shopping sake, I love finding bargains at the second-hand store and I recycle as much as possible. Speaking of recycling, I've been doing it for over 20 years now; I got to thinking about that the other day and realized that's a bunch of paper, plastic and aluminum that's been diverted. Our community just started a single stream recycling program that lets us recycle more than ever before and I'm so glad. I know the recycling people aren't making much money right now but those markets will come back around. I just hope our local governments don't try to pinch pennies in the wrong direction and cut back on the recycling programs.
Have any of you heard of the Compact? A group of people out in California started it a few years ago, trying not to buy anything new for a whole year. Lots of people have picked up the challenge since then. It's good to at least think about all the new things we buy and how we might be better off finding a used whatever.
And finally, how does God expect me to use the blessings He has given me? Not just money but time and talents, too. Have you ever considered that God wants you to tithe 10% of your money, 10% of your time and 10% of your talent? How does that translate in your life? The money part is simple math and the time is also. The talent part may take a little thinking.
These are the things I think about and try to incorporate into my life. We'll talk about it more as we go along, I guess.