Thursday, November 29, 2012

Starting

This has come up numerous times in my ramblings here, but I think it is so critical it is worth repeating often.   Its a good reminder for me as I continue to simplify and live a homemade life.  I hope its inspiration for those who might be considering such a life.   Start small.    Its wise--and perfectly good--to start small.

I think just about everything starts small.  Its one step taken, that in and of iteslf is not so remarkable, but which leads you to another step and another and another until looking back its amazing to see how far has been traveled.

I think people forget that.  I have been known to forget it myself!  I find it so disheartening to hear people talk about wanting to change, to improve, to learn, to grow, but how they feel they just can't.  They don't know where to start.  Or they don't think it will stick.  Or matter.  Change can sure be tricky...its new after all...but that doesn't mean its impossible.  Not at all.  And it doesn't mean its not worth doing.

If a person want to do something...all it takes is to just start the first steps.  If it seems too out of reach I like to break down the goal into smaller, more achievable ones.  Its easier when viewing each step (I will make one homemade cleaning solution) rather than the entire vision of the goal (I will use no chemical cleansers in my home).  And once one step is done it is easier to take the next (I've been using homemade Windex.  Next I'm going to make Soft Scrub).  Eventually the no chemical cleansers goal doesn't seem too far off.

Here is the real life example that lead me to write this post.

When we stopped eating dairy nearly seven years ago we discovered our favored brand of bread crumbs contained whey.  It also contained genetically modified corn and soy, partially hydrogenated oils, and chemical preservatives all of which I prefer to avoid.  But, that was years before I even knew about those things so I was pretty much concerned about the whey at the time.  We looked at other commercial brands and they either contained whey or were way too expensive (I can't resist: "whey too expensive!").  So we decided to learn to make our own.  It was astonishingly easy.
Matt just made up some breadcrumbs the other day which brought all this back to mind.  He'd organized the freezer and discovered we'd stashed a few nubby ends of loaves in there as they'd gone stale.  Run them through the food processor and whamo-- you got homemade bread crumbs.  We spread ours out on a baking sheet after processing and let them sit out a day or so to make sure they are good and dry. 

This is just a perfect example of a little step that can add up when put together with other similar small steps.

Its brilliant.  We don't waste stale bread.  We don't have a disposable container to throw out or recycle when we use up all the bread crumbs.  We know exactly what is in our breadcrumbs--no preservatives or unpronounceable bits.  It cheaper than store-bought breadcrumbs.  And it is so easy!

But, maybe you'd say "Sure its easy...if you make your own bread."

This is just a perfect example about how you don't have to start out all gung-ho.  You can ease your way in...one step at a time. 

Before we started making our own bread we would hit up the day-old products on the bakery rack at the grocery store.  We'd buy a loaf for $.99 and let it dry out.  Then we'd run it through the food processor just the same way.    In fact, that is still listed on the label I made to fancy-up our breadcrumb container although we haven't been doing it that way for a number of years.
So, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.   Baby steps--taken one after another--have taken me places I could have never thought possible.  I hate to think that anyone is discouraged by thinking its all "too much" for a person to do.  It isn't.  Its just a matter of practice and experimentation and allowing for a learning curve. 

5 comments:

  1. I so agree that one doesn't feel that she or he has to do everything in order to do something. Many of the "little" things I have started have snowballed into either bigger events or great joys or both.

    I started washing my hair with vinegar and baking soda a couple years ago. I got guilted by some friend that I was harming my marriage because there wasn't the good smell of regular shampoo. So I quit. I missed it. I decided to talk to my husband. He had never noticed the smell of the vinegar and baking soda, so I went right back to it. I like it so much better than washing my hair the normal way. It just makes my hair feel cleaner.

    I cloth diapered my children. I found it to be such a huge joy and truly enjoyed watching them crawl around in those fat little bums covered the cutest diapers in the world. I would never have known such joy if I hadn't been willing to just try.

    And as to how little the little things are, I would like to say that my son is involved in Boy Scouts. His scout troop earns money by recycling paper. Since we started this (and we don't advertise, because then we would get WAY too much), our extended family is able to collect 2000 pounds (yes, truly one TON) of paper every 3 months. I am not exaggerating. It is overwhelming to think about. A ton of paper among 3 families. And all of that is recycled rather than being thrown in the landfill as it would be if my son weren't collecting for Scouts.

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    1. Holy cow....that is a lot of paper to save from the landfill. AWESOME for your son to be involved in such a project!! Awesome. I am so impressed.

      That story about your hair care and your husband made me smile. I am sure your friend was only trying to help, but aren't you glad you've got a husband like you do!! (Obviously you do for more reasons than just this!) I, myself, never notice vinegar smell after I am out of the shower and I'd rather smell like clean "me" than some random chemical fragrance. Its so nice when the little things are also cheap and healthy!

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    2. It really is a lot of paper saved from the landfill. It seems that all the boys have just as good success as our son does. The organizers take trailer load after trailer load to the recycling plant.

      You would think, "Well, it's just a sheet of paper." But all those individual papers add up. And just speaking for myself, before we got involved in this project, I would save newspapers and cardboard, but never thought to save the paperboard macaroni packages and the like. That stuff adds a lot of weight to the totals.

      And, yes, I am so glad I have the husband I have got. I am glad I spoke up and asked him rather than trusting somebody else's thought on some supposed problem (that wasn't one.) I like the way my hair feels using the baking soda and vinegar. And it really is so cheap and healthy.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!