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The best things in life can be FREE!

After spending a month SpiritZapping, I think my next focus will be: “What great things in life are FREE?”

With the zapping, a profound thread emerged. How can we maintain a quality of life on a shoestring budget? I surely did not invent thriftiness, but I will continue to share what I can :).

I also want to mention that you are not alone out there. I did receive several private emails during the month, and thank you all for sending them :). It warms my heart to know that I can support you on this journey, and that my posts may have made a difference, or just opened a door to new thoughts!

One of the recent emails, published with permission, although I changed the names to protect the Lovelies :)…

“I love your new spirit-zappers postings!

Welcome to my world! We pay cash for everything and it’s really difficult when you need things like new tires or any kind of extra expense. It SUCKS! We have no credit cards and probably couldn’t afford the payments if we did. Credit cards can become a crutch and then people end up paying monthly on them and don’t have cash so they have to keep using the cards. I’m glad we don’t have credit card debt but sometimes I wish we had them so that we could use them in an emergancy like when we need new tires (my tires are bald and could pop anytime) or to pay for dental work. I recently broke two of my molars and don’t have dental insurance so I am really worried. Even getting a hair cut is such a luxury. It cost me $40 for XXX to cut my hair which might as well be $400 with our current budget. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) LOL! I can just imagine that John would flip out too if you paid $40 to get a hair cut. Maybe I could go every two or three months. We’ll see. I can totally understand that she has to earn a living so I don’t begrudge her at all and she does a fantastic job and is worth every penny.

Most of the time I’m just grateful that we have a roof over our heads. This economy has really taken it’s toll on us. Luckily XXX was able to get some handyman work and painting/building some cabinets on the side for some extra cash which helped a lot. He still has not found a job. My sister was laid off from her job last week. She had been with the company for 10 years.

We don’t have cell phones because that was the first luxuries to go when XXX was laid off. XXX always wonders how teenagers and people on welfare manage to have fancy cell phones. That’s a pet peeve of his. Our luxuries lie in distraction through TV and Internet. We have a comcast package that includes phone, internet and cable for $100/month and my internet is high on my priority list because it offers a gateway into so much information and keeps me connected with friends and family. I would go bananas without it! Recently I splurged on Netflix, though I don’t know for how long. I feel guilty spending $9/month on it even though it isn’t that much, it is when you live on a shoe string. I LOVE Netflix though. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) I get the sale ads from Safeway and SaveMart and buy ONLY what’s on sale. Haven’t bought new clothes in over a year. I guess I spend my clothing budget on my internet. Thrift shops don’t usually carry anything I would want to wear in my size.

When I watch the news on TV I get depressed hearing about unemployment and state budget crisis…etc. When I saw what was going on in Iran, I did feel very fortunate that we are not it that kind of crisis and I felt sorry for those people. I think we have taken for granted so much that we were accustomed to enjoying in life. Having the rug pulled out from under me has been a real eye opener as to being grateful for the little things. There was a time in my life when I could not even fathem living the way I am now. I expected more, perhaps I still do. I know I do. Even when I thought I didn’t have a lot, I really had more than I imagined and even now, when I am living on less, it’s more than some people have. I just wish it would get better and soon. Universe?!? Are you listening?!?

One of the things I admire about you is that you live simply and you do it with style. Your home is warm and cozy and you make not having a dishwasher seem tre~chic. LOL! You find things to do that are free or low cost and it’s fun to be around you. We have some other friends who keep asking us to go camping and stuff but I told XXX that as much as I love these people, they are likely to want to go out to a nice resturant for dinner or something that would cost $$$ and we wouldn’t be able to afford it and I wouldn’t want to be a damper on their fun or even have them pay for us. You know what I mean? If I went camping it would be very simple and we’d be eating what we brought, no fancy stuff. No stopping at the casinos or anything like that. When we say we are on a tight budget we mean it. What we have is what we got and if it’s gone, it’s gone…. There ain’t no money tree growing in my back yard. Hell! I don’t even have a yard right now!

It takes everything I can muster to stay positive and focus on moving forward with hope and determination that this time in our lives will get better. Somedays I just have to take a xanex and try to block it out. =)”

I am sharing this with you, because I think it is important to see that no one is alone in this. ONE of my responses is that when you decide to live your authentic life, those around you will respect you for it, and those that do not will fade away. It takes a certain amount of courage to be authentic :)…

So now I am enjoying this beautiful Sunday! My men are off on a fishing trip on the search for the GIANT carp :), and my daughter and I are preparing for a day of making Goddesses and girly stuff.

P.S. The picture above is one we took on our recent Blackberry adventure…complete with scars and spirits :)…you can read more at Green Sub Mama.

Enjoy your Authenticity!

What I am reading: “Voyager”. Finally! Drawn back in, feeling a connection with the Highlanders….
What I am grateful for: The simple things in life that me happy.
What I am manifesting: Sales….

SpiritZapping in a Nutshell

After 30 days of SpiritZapping, I have some thoughts:

1. I am still not quite used to paying cash for groceries and “extracurricular” activities. The first week I had $17.82 left over, the second week I ended up with $1.73 at the end of the week. Today, I bought $35.00 worth of fruit under the amused eye of German lady at our newly found fruit stand. That is alot of fruit, but my kids have already eaten half of it. They both had the “effects” of lots of stone fruit, LOL, so $17.50 virtually went down the toilet…

Wlth that said, paying cash is really opening our eyes, and making me say “NO” to quick fast food meals or other little extras that slurp our money.

Once we are over the shock, we will venture into paying cash for everything.

2. Taking each SpiritZapper area individually, and making it my day’s mission to blast it, made things much easier. It is much less overwhelming this way, and the sense of accomplishment is FABULOUS! Now the challenge is to keep them clean. It also made me realize how much unnecessary junk we have, and how that zaps my energy every day :(.

3. 30 days is not enough.

4. One of my days was commissioned for “deleting” SpiritZapping people from my life. That is truly empowering. Cutting those ties. It does not mean I don’t love them, or that I am deleting my history with them. I am just letting them go because they do not make me happy.

5. See Nr. 1. I do believe if more people would look at their spending, not only in time of need or economic disaster, they would get back the basics and stop being spenders, consumers, trashers. I love that my posts made some people re-evaluate, and that they empowered them to take the first step. 🙂

6. My kids are keeping their rooms clean. They are awesome. Once I gave them the base, they were able to go in and FEEL the good vibes :). Now they are doing it on their own. They are also helping keep the other parts clean, they are taking responsibily.

I am going to do this again, but am taking a break from it now. I think zapping “publicly” was a challenge on it’s own, since I felt obligated not just to myself, but to the “public” :).

Thank you for following along with me, I hope I have inspired you to Blast your own SpiritZappers!

Much love,

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 23 – Catch Up

Today is “officially” day 23 of my Blasting, and I am catching up with all the past projects. I am mainly concentrating on my Junior’s room, as she is coming home from camp tomorrow :). We put up her new fan (with a light, finally she does not have to be a cave dweller anymore!), hopefully that will let her “see the light” of a nice, neat room :).

But a girl can’t be all about work and no play! This morning I took my boys on an adventure. We keep driving by this park entrance, an itty bitty one that connects to the American River Bike trail. So this morning we donned our adventure hats went to check it out :). Super cool…you can see a few more pics at Sub Green Mama .

I am scrounging with my cash budget for groceries, and have a whopping $7.53 left until Sunday. I will fill you in more at the end of the month with my SpiritZapping synopsis.

Much love,

P.S. Every time I turn on the radio, I hear this sappy song “Live your life like there is no tomorrow” by ???. I think it is a sign, and I am hanging loose a little…..

What I am grateful for: Wide open spaces in my back yard that fascinate me. Getting back to my roots….
What I am manifesting: Sales

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 20 – You will be quickly and safely removed.

Today I tandem-tackled the kid’s rooms :).

After perusing the online stores for the perfect long, but not too high, and not too wide bookshelf, I realized that none of them were in my $5 budget. Then it hit me, I jumped into my car, raced to Home Depot. I bought a few concrete blocks and 10ft board, and Voilà!, the perfect shelf was born. And guess what? It has magic powers….it made B WANT to clean his room!!

On to the older child. There is a challenge that will take me at least 2 days.

She is tucked away safely at camp :), in the woods, singing “Kumbayah”. She will be SO HAPPY when she comes home to a clean, fabulously scented (all natural, of course. Who am I??) room. And she will never know what fueled the bonfire that is going to make my marshmallows tomorrow night. And no, I do not want to hear any opinions on privacy. That died when I walked in there the other day and just about wilted. That room is mine.

What I am reading: Still “Dragonfly in Amber”. I don’t know, not grabbing me as much as the first one. Also “Teaching our kids responsibility”.. 🙂
What I am grateful for: Going to the river with my family.
What I am manifesting: SALES, still.

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 19 = Surviving the Recession, it’s really nothing new…..

Today my SpiritZapper is this issue I have to get off my chest:


last night 20/20 was showing the first of the series “New Normal”. They were showing how people are now surviving the Recession. Again, just like Oprah, they showed people who are “over-consumers”, people who wanted to keep up with the Joneses, Nouveau Riche who were friviously spending money on unimportant, material things. All of these people were making a ridiculous amount of money before, and still were over spending.

My friend Brandy and I were discussing this show on Facebook, commenting if WE were now “normal”…here is my response:

I am always amused at these shows (Oprah did it too). I guess I was just considered “dirt poor” before it was considered “nooveau chic” to reuse, shop at the thrift store, walk your dog instead of walking on a treadmill at the gym, etc. They always act as if these once big spenders have invented a way to “survive the recession”. Newsflash: there are people living like this every day because they would rather “LIVE” than than live for the money for the rest of their lives. Or maybe they aren’t paid a ridiculous amount of money for sitting on their asses, compared to those who work hard for their little money.
Can you tell this subject gets me a little riled up???”

Yes, this subject is close to my heart, and even though I commend these very mainstream, informative shows on their vigor to educate the masses who seem used buying everything on credit, it would be nice if they would venture out and find out how we “normal” people are surviving this recession.

You see, our houses are worth nothing also, yet we manage to stay in them. My husband’s salary, already too low to make strides with, was also cut “due to the economic recession”. We have always bought junkie, used cars so that we would not have a car note, and it has been getting us from point A to point B safely for years. We even sold one and are now using one car and making it work. We haven’t had a real family vacation in years, and must say that the camping trips and family day trips to the beach, the ones Richies seem to think are a demeaning alternative to a “real” vacation, are a blast. I have been baking my own bread and growing my own food, or trading work for food at the organic farm for years to make organic food happen for my family. Five days a week, my husband works 2 jobs so that I can raise our kids, and if I did work and put my kids in daycare or “activities”, I would have to work two also. We made the choice years ago to cut back and sacrifice so that we could do this. We Freecycle, shop garage sales, and all our clothes, except underwear and shoes, come from the thrift store. My kids, and I, are constantly asked where our “cool” clothes come from, and they PROUDLY say: “From the thrift store!”.

You see, we have been living like this for years. The working poor. My kids know the value of money, and are proud of it. They are not suffering because their parents won’t buy them designer clothes or an iPhone anymore. And though it is harder and harder to survive with less and less, it does not hurt us so bad because we are used to making due and being grateful for what we DO have.

I feel a bit sorry for all those who are now in this recession shock, but I think America is learning a lesson. A lesson in Gratitude, Compassion (you see, now being rich enough to go a “good” school is no longer a guarantee of a good life. Maybe now those who are blessed to have a degree from a “good” school will no longer look down on those working hard for their money because they could not afford to go to a “good”, or any college.), Humbleness, Patience, Thrift (don’t buy it unless you can pay for it). Hopefully it will also contribute to more family time, and all those “de-tached” kids everyone complains about will find their families again. Mom and Dad won’t be so busy paying for the numerous cars, Wii’s, designer clothes, etc, and can spend some time with their kids. Kid’s might learn responsibility, both to their families, and to themselves, by being held responsible for more than just getting primped for school or sports.

Maybe this is all a Divine Plan?

I for one, am willing to apprentice anyone on how to survive the recession, without any judgment :). I am grateful that I am able to have the life I lead, however poor it may look on the outside, LOL.

Much love,
P.S. I just got a nasty little message, saying I am jealous, and that I should have “gotten an education”. 🙂 I do have an education, and I had a dream job that paid me well…Sweetie, I CHOSE this life. I am not jealous, and am happy for anyone who has lots of money to make their dreams reality. Good for them! I still play the Lottery in the hopes that we will win one day…BUT…I will not sacrifice the short time my children are growing up, I will not sacrifice my whole day and life, I will not sacrifice every ounce of energy I have, nor will I sacrifice my Spirit for money. I have what I need.

This post was not written because I am “MAD” at rich people. That is so small-minded. This post is because I am frustrated that the world should feel sorry for those who have sold their souls, and now they don’t know how to handle the heat.

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 17 & 18 = Procrastination

Well, another double duty day!

Today, I am tackling what I call the vault. This space seems to either hold, or gobble up all important papers or receipts in this house.

It is a catch-all, this picture is from a mild day, and unfortunately, it is in my bedroom. Now that I have cleared off the dresser, the “everyday crap” that comes from the rest of the house and from my husband’s pockets, lands here. Under, over, behind that are important bills, checks, receipts, and other miscellaneous data that should be saved. I have already sorted these piles about 6 times, I just have not filed them, and then new things seem attracted to them AND THEY MAKE BABIES…I swear!

So, I am putting on some 80’s music, Little Man is playing detective with Nancy Drew on the other computer, and I am off…..

What I am reading: Dragonfly in Amber (does not seem to read as intense as number one of the series)
What I am grateful for: Time
What I am manifesting: SALES!

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 15 & 16

Don’t give up on me yet!


I am not falling behind, but cleaning up behind myself. I have spent the last two days one miscellaneous zapping. Funny, once things are a bit in order, others seem so much more URGENT.

Yesterday, I went into my daughter’s room to drop off some clothes. I almost killed myself tripping over something. I will not embarrass her SHAMELESSLY (because she reads my blog daily) by posting a picture of what I saw when I opened her closet….but…between the rubbish on the floor and the closet crime scene, her room was deemed a SpiritZapper.

Yessiree. First of all, she has the best and biggest room in the house, she better damn well respect that I took the TINY room with no decent closet so she can stretch her wings. She couldn’t stretch her wings in there, even she were a flea!

I love her :)….and vacuumed. No worries, I am not one of those moms that tears through her child’s room in a rampage.

I am one of those moms that will put everything in one little convenient pile and give you a day to deal with it before I make a big bonfire…..

Love, Me

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 14

We recently had a garage sale, and my family insisted I keep this stupid Floormate to clean the floor. It was up in the attic for about 2 years because it is big, I have no where to store it out of the way, and it kept harnessing all the dog hair into one giant PLUG that was hard as concrete and a pain in my ass to clean out. I can do better with a mop….

Well, to make a long story short, we kept it, it is in my way, and when I recently did try to use it, the brushes did not work.

So today, my SpiritZapper Blasting entailed getting rid of all “tools” that do not work properly and take up my Spirit space. When Benjamin asked me why I was giving away the cleaner, I told him the brushed don’t work.

His little eyes lit up.

“Mama, let ME try to fix it!”.

Sure. Go for it. Why not, I am getting rid of it anyways, and just got the “Best Mama in the World” award.

He took it apart. Put it back together.

The brushes work!! He is a genius! Now we just have to try it with water……

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 12 & 13

Yes, I am combining two days :).

Technically, I blasted the SpiritZapper of isolation yesterday, by spending an evening with my girlfriends. We made rice noodle rolls, had lots of dessert, and laughed ourselves to tears. Then I got to have a slumber party :)…..

Today, I tackled the SpiritZapper of “no money”. You know, the one who shows up when you look into your account and you have $1.22 to your name, but your bills are going off the next day???

My other half and I have dissected our budget today, and have found that after allotting money for food, utilities, and other miscellaneous things we HAVE to pay for, we have less than a good dinner and a beer of play money per week.

Is this depressing? No? 🙂 No, because surprisingly, we still have this bit extra. I am going CASH now, and it will be interesting to see if we can manage to stay in our allotted cash budget. The only one who will be depressed is my network of local thrift stores….maybe they will send me a “PLEASE come back!!” coupon?? Our budget did not include any of my sales, mainly because they are so sporadic. My next project will be marketing…..

Happy Sunday!

What I am reading: Everything About Your Tween, and Dragonfly in Amber
What I am grateful for: My girlfriends. Gawd, I would just wilt without them! Love y’all!!!
What I am manifesting: Sales

Blasting the SpiritZappers, Day 11


It is getting harder and harder to find the Zappers in my house! 🙂 Guess it is time to zone in on the humane and community Zappers??

I am so concentrated on the zapping, I forget to share the fun stuff with you! Today, we were carless, so we harvested Chamomile….the zen of lopping off Chamomile heads while taking in the intoxicating scent of relaxation. Check it out.

SpiritZapper #10

The dog kennel.

We have an XL crate in our living room. A person of my size could live in there. My dog loves his crate, it is his peace place. I love my dog, and he needs to have his peace with the rest of the family.

Unfortunately, this big, black crate does nothing for the zen of our living room. Not only does it not match our “decor”, which I would dub “witchy, fairy, colorful, with a bit of IKEA”, but it also seems to attract CRAP like a magnet.

Ok, I am cleaning it off. Anyone have a remedy for magnetism??

What I am reading: Dragonfly in Amber, and various cookbooks I found at the thrift store.
What I am grateful for: My girlfriends
What I am manifesting: Sales