Thursday, June 3, 2021

Humble Beginnings and a Simple Life

 Yep - that title explains me!  Began life very simply and still maintain that kind of lifestyle.  
I have relayed many a story about my childhood to you all.  It was simple, it was humble, it was poor (not poverty), it was good in my eyes.

I know there were many of my school mates that probably thought we lived lesser lives than them.  No I didn't have name brands - no I didn't have many store bought clothes - no our house wasn't fancy - no my parents didn't make a lot of money - no we didn't go on vacations - no we didn't have a lot of 'junk' from the stores.
Shoot I remember getting a REAL bathtub put in the house (not just a washtub!).  I remember the first TV we got.  I remember the old ringer washer - used into my teens.  I remember the first drier in the house - I was in upper teens.  We never had AC - except a window unit in the kitchen after I left home.
BUT I DO remember things were good.  I was loved.  I had a roof and food and clothes.

This is still how I feel today.  These things make us richer than a huge part of the people in this world.  What else do we really NEED?

This is the house I grew up in - it looks lovely.  It wasn't always that way.  My folks said when they first moved in (way before me) that it had no paint and no landscaping, super run down  - and no real grass.  But they could afford the payment.  They ended up buying the house on contract and the total sum paid was $4,800.  They paid it off when I was little.  Lots of love, cleaning, upkeep and work went into it.
It had a living room, dining room, eat in kitchen and small bath on the main floor and 2 attic rooms (no doors) upstairs.  My folks had 6 children and got to raise 5 of them all in this house (had a baby that died at birth).  All those people and 2 bedrooms (for a while the dining room was used as a bedroom)!!!!!  I slept on a daybed type of thing at the foot of Mom & Daddies bed for several years.  Guess that explains no more kids after me - LOL!!!!!
We had an indoor toilet and an outhouse - then got a tub when I was around 8 or 9.  It was like a swimming pool to me!!!  I was a child when they got a furnace put in - the house was heated with a coal stove up till then.

All grown up - I got married and moved away and was swayed to spend, spend, spend for a few years due to the example my ex gave (as well as his parents).  I soon learned that just having tons of  things wasn't what I wanted and debt SUCKED!  I would much rather have less and no debt and happiness.

Then I met my love and a new life began.  He had purchased this home just about the time we met.  We were very early 30's and he had decided he needed stability and to quit wasting money. 
The home was stuck in the 60's/70's inside - but a little work and it was transformed.
We did gutters, siding, windows and doors, fencing, a new kitchen and mostly new bath - we even finished half of the basement.  We did all the remodeling inside ourselves.
Those pretty kitchen cabinets I have shown you - were stock from of all places K-Mart.  They had a home dept. back in the day.  We waited till I got bonuses from my job - to do new projects.  We were very prudent with how we spent our precious dollars.  We shopped deals.
The only time we bought brand new furniture wasn't until 2002 - we married in 1986.  I still have that furniture.
Before that we had hand me downs, yard sale finds, and a couple things parents gifted us new.
We both drove older used vehicles.
We didn't buy a new car until after the house was paid in full - it was the only new vehicle either of us ever had.  We paid payments for 2 years - then paid it off.

We worked hard to pay the house off as soon as possible, as we knew there was a good chance that Glen would become disabled at some point and not be able to work.  We saved and invested as much as possible.
We never took vacations - our vacations was camping with friends.  Simple but fun.  We took drives for fun as well.
Our very first major purchase as a married couple - were cemetery plots!!!  LOL  How romantic.  It was actually a buy one - get one deal and we purchased the marker as well.  We made payments on that.
I think that was about the only thing other than the house that we ever put on a payment plan. (until car for 2 years)

        My front walk this spring.  Some may think over grown - I love it.  That is what matters.

My home was built in 1947 - just 7 years older than me!  (yep, we are both old).  2 bedroom and one small bath.  It cost us less money than our Blazer did!!!   Only one bedroom is actually a bedroom - the other is overstock pantry, office and kitty room.  Small is the word (less than 1000 sq. ft.).  Nothing is fancy or new.  Many things are off kilter, need replaced, worn, need painted, etc. (on my list)
This WAS a very nice up and coming neighborhood in it's day.  Probably considered the modern middle class area.  Now it is getting tired and a little run down (we have more renters than owners around).  Houses are close together.  Most houses are similar.  There are some questionable characters around. May be considered lower middle class or lower class neighborhood now.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?  Mine is paid for and it is mine.  Taxes are low.  I can afford to maintain.  I try to keep a little 'nature' in my world.

I have people ask me all the time when I am moving away from here.  I could move to a nicer neighborhood or to the country - I can afford that.  Maybe I may have to at some point - I aint getting any younger you know!
But until I have to, well I am more than content.  I don't have a lot of material stuff - but I am good with that.  I love what I DO have.  My folks would be proud of what we did financially.  As hard as they worked (they even had their own business for years) - they never accumulated what we did.  Of course they had children - but I know they would be proud!
We worked hard at what we have and to be financially stable.  I am so thankful we were of the same mindset and I am thankful we planned.
Stability was more important than stuff to both of us.

So if you want to be impressed with a fancy home and fancy neighborhood or a fancy zip code - my house isn't where you want to go.  I live a simple, low cost, but BLESSED life!!!
I don't need new and fancy to be happy.  I don't need modern and high tech.  I don't need a lot of stuff to burden me.  I don't need a lot of room.
I just need a home that HUGS me when I walk in.  

There is much to be said for simple living.  There is much to be said about being prudent.
There is much to be said about just being YOU and not trying to impress others.
IMPRESSING others is my least concern and never enters my mind.  I am me - like it or leave it.

Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.
Stay humble and live simply!


  1. Love this post. My heart of hearts.

  2. I can identify with a lot of this. Was raised frugal. Love this post. Blessings

    1. I know there are many. There are so many things that mean so much more than stuff.

  3. Cheryl, I loved reading this blog post. We are definitely blessed to have all that we have. :)

    1. Thank you Belinda. Yes we are ALL blessed beyond measure

  4. "A home that hugs you when you walk in" wonderful. Well said. In the crazy, mixed-up world we live in, our homes should be our havens, sanctuaries. I always heave a sigh of relief when I come home.
    Great post, Cheryl.

    1. Thanks. Yes mam, it is a sanctuary. Where we eat, love, laugh, live and pray.

  5. That was a lovely insight into your world and what shaped who you are.If everyone could have your ethics and be content with enough, what a world it would be.

  6. Excellent post! I can tell by your words that you wouldn't want to live any other way. Actually you and Glen were very smart to live within or even beneath your means. No worries about answering phone calls from creditors, threatening letters or repossession. When my husband was a home inspector people would whine about the appliances not being stainless or not having enough bathroom. Seriously, does each child have to have her own bathroom?

    My youngest sister-in-law who had Alzheimer's died last night. This makes four in our family since December. This is the mother of my niece who lost her son to a drug overdose. Praying for peace in her heart.

    1. Peace of mind is everything. I absolutely cringe when I watch those home and garden shows. AND shake my head.

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Her body and mind are healed now. Saying prayers for you all for comfort. HUGS!

  7. I was raised on a farm - we had no running water in the house until I was 15 or 16. Before that we ran and got it! I still miss that old well that we used for drinking water; it was always so cold and tasted so good.

    I do buy on payments, especially when I can purchase something interest free and pay it off over time. I continue to earn interest on my savings while I'm paying off the purchase. A mortgage is far better than paying rent and paying someone else's mortgage too. I call this sort of debt good debt and ensure I use it wisely.

    Enjoy your yard - the flowers a lovely!

    1. Nothing like good cold well water.
      That makes sense. I know people who have rented the same home for over 30 years then move away with nothing to show. It makes no sense to me either. Good definition - good debt.

      Thank you!

  8. Your post gives me such a sense of peace. I am working hard toward having that sense of peace with me at all times. Just to be happy and satisfied. You do so much good with this blog!

    1. I really never felt the peace I have now before. I guess just knowing I am OK and cared for and have the Lord - is what I need. Fretting and moaning gets us no where.
      Thank you.

  9. Thats so sensible. I hate debt. Like you I am content with what I have and very thankful for it. My kids are the same thankfully.

    1. I hate debt as well. Sounds like you raised your children well. Good job.

  10. I love this post! So much misery in the world from debt. I don't own anything new,not furniture,not dishes,decor. Every thing came from estate sales,yard sales.
    I adore repurposing older things.
    I love shabby chic and cottage style,
    Pre loved things.
    I love my gardens,watching the birds, growing our own food. Simple life is the best life.
    Oh, I'm sitting here drinking ice cold well water in a mason jar right now! Contentment can not be purchased!!!

    1. I love this! Love that you buy everything second hand. I love gently used items. Why not re-love and re-home things. I bet your place is great.
      Love that - contentment can not be purchased! TRUTH

    2. Pre loved things. I love that and I often feel the love in the second hand things we have. Forty years ago I bought a turkey roaster from an elderly lady who was going into assisted living. She told me how she had made all the holiday turkeys for her family in that pan. She said it made the best turkeys and she was right and it is still cooking turkeys 40 years later. I often wish she could know that when I get it out to use it.

    3. Isn't that neat. I often say that and people laugh at me. I have Mom's old turkey roaster, cookbook (older than me), rolling pin and cookware (almost as old as me). I always say that everything I use them for comes out wonderfully - because Mom is still here helping!
      Wouldn't that lady be proud. Maybe she is watching from above!

  11. I love this post!! I always say that there's much more to life than just money or things. I was born & raised in South Africa and like Europeans, we live simpler lives. We weren't poor, but we didn't have many luxuries (most people didn't, due to Apartheid/segregation), but that doesn't mean we weren't happy. I have many wonderful memories of time spent with my family. My parents both came from large families & we always had family get togethers (potluck, bbq, camping etc). Those are the things I treasure most. The time spent with my family.

    I wish more people thought like you do. I often say that we are more blessed than those who keep chasing more things and money, because we know what's REALLY important in life.

    I love your front walk. I'm a sucker for fresh flowers :)

    1. I love hearing where everyone is from. Simple lives are more relaxing, more fun and more frugal.
      Those people are always chasing for something - once they catch it they start on something new. They never seem content.
      I love flowers and I am not one for organized and contour!!! I like it all wild looking.

  12. Loved this. Definitely shows that things are not what matters.

    God bless.

    1. Thanks - that was what I was trying to show. Much more to this life than money and stuff

  13. Just beautiful, Cheryl. Wish we were neighbors!!

  14. Hi Cheryl, I love this post! Nothing beats living a simple life and the contentment it brings. I had to get "older" to fully appreciate that. Your plants and yard are just beautiful. Take care.

    1. Thanks. I lived it young - then got out of it. I wasn't happy then - so I slipped back into it. It makes for a good life.

  15. Yes!! All of this!! ❤️❤️❤️

  16. I loved reading this post and I agree, a simple life is best. My husband is one of six, two older sisters, a twin sister and twin brothers, all born within 6 years. My father in law worked on a farm when they were young and they lived in a small cottage, inside toilet but a tin bath in front of the fire, filled with hot water. No washing machine.
    I remember growing up with no central heating until the age of seven when my sister was born. Ice patterns on the windows and coats on the beds in the winter.
    Our home has 3 bedrooms (we have 3 grown up children) and we have lived here 32 years. It's average size for the UK. Our daughter loves painting old furniture so we have a mix of shabby chic and bought furniture. Our home is no show house, but comfortable and a happy home.

    1. Comfortable and happy is what it is all about - nothing more. I for one wouldn't want a show house.
      Tin bath by the fire - yes indeedy and by the back screen door in the summer!
      Your furniture sounds lovely to me and how cool that it is made with love!!

  17. I grew up very much like you. We had a big front porch and it is very much where a lot of my memories are centered. In the summer is was where life was lived without A/C. I remember husking crates of corn to be frozen and always being sent to the porch to eat watermelon. Every week after Mom mopped the kitchen floor she would go out and pour the mop water on the porch floor and scrub it with a broom and then sweep the water off. Our house was a 2/1 too but my parents always had room for as many friends as we could pack in the house.

    We have lived in our neighbor hood for 27 years and it is getting somewhat worn too but everyone in the neighborhood knows each other and crime is nonexistent. We raised 5 kids and were blessed with a big house that went on the market way below it's value because the previous owner was going to lose it to foreclosure. For years we tried to downsize and God shut that door and we stood outside of it and banged our head on it. So here we are, just two, rattling around in this big house and too much land. Now we realize that we still have work to do here in this neighborhood and I am thankful that we don't have to pack up and move. Our family is now 18 so we need the room when they come home.

    1. Oh my gosh I had forgotten about mop water on the porch and cleaning it off. Mom did that too. That is where we snapped many a bean. Had a lot of little 'picnics' out there with PBJ sammies and Kool-Aid. Played riddley-riddley ree!

      You sound like you lucked out with your home. At least you have room for family to come back and visit. That is neat.
      I have much to do as well, but we will all get there eventually.
      Love these stories.

    2. My Mom sent us out to sit on the milk box if we needed a time out. Did your Mom do that too? I forgot about those lunches the on the porch! I remember egg salad sandwiches. Good memories!

    3. No I didn't have that happen - but do remember the milk box. I used to get so excited when the milkman was to come. I always asked for treats but usually didn't get any - too expensive!!
      Yes mam - good memories for sure.

  18. I absolutely love this post Cheryl! Yes, it is all yours and you and Glen worked hard to build a beautiful life there together. It is because of both of your prudent planning that you are not having to worry about finances now that Glen is no longer with you. ((((((HUGS))))) What a gift you both gave to each other.

    1. It really was a gift. We shared everything and we had a plan. That is what marriage is all about in my book.
      I have been blessed beyond measure in my life.

  19. Cheryl, I love this post. I wanted to share a story with you. When I was 18 I worked at a corporate job in data processing with 10 other girls around my age or a little older. I was and always will be plain jane. I invited everyone to my house (still lived with my parents), to a cook out in our backyard. 7 of the girls came... we cooked out and sit around a fire that my dad had set up for me. He also set up some outside lights and we had the best time sitting around, grilling and talking. That Monday all the girls could talk about was the wonderful time they had at my house and how they had been embarrassed to have it at their house .... afraid theirs wasnt good enough. Boy, I got an eye opener that year as each girl hosted a month at her house and definitely everyone's house was bigger and some cases prettier than mine. But, everyone always said they had the best time at mine, it was cozy and no one felt like I was putting on for anyone and i had made them feel comfortable and they loved it. So, really it's what you make of what you have that matters.
    Thanks for letting me share. Cindy Jane

    1. I love this story!! Bravo to you and bravo to those ladies.
      You hit it on the head - it is not about what we have - it is about attitude and what we do with what we have.
      If someone wants to REALLY impress others - just be yourself.
      Thank you for sharing and showing us all what a great life is about.

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