Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Freedom, Tastes Like Love and Peppermint Bark

I never dreamt I'd actually be able to capture a moment like this - the October moon rises over Big Bend National Park.   Isn't this a beautiful and blessed world we live in? 

I had a tiny bit of a frustrating day at work today. My work is really wonderful and a great job - I work with fantastic, smart people, in a safe, supportive environment, and am paid a king's ransom for it, but some frustrating issues came across my desk and I didn't deal with it too well, getting frustrated instead of finding the challenge and rejoicing in it.

The excellent part of that frustration was building fire in my belly for financial independence (FI)! I turned down a chocolate bar because (1) I was making peppermint bark later in any case and (2) I couldn't bring myself to spend $0.89 of my freedom in the cafeteria downstairs! 

I'm so excited that I was able to harness that frustration into something good - not spending $0.89.  Today, 89 cents, tomorrow, the world, my friends. :) Great things are done with small change(s)! 

Frustration is a good thing to practice. Now, I failed at harnessing my frustration and turning it into a fun challenge, but I did succeed at harnessing energy and desire for FI! So something good came out of the BLEH energy I had today. :) 

Another piece of joy in my day today was making my own homemade peppermint bark. I was perusing a very interesting blog called Living Well Spending Less and Ruth over there has an easy-peasy recipe for your own homemade peppermint bark! Check it out here: Ruth's Homemade Peppermint Bark

It is too delicious to be believed, friends. I am so excited to put it into baggies with holiday print and give it to friends and family who can enjoy a special holiday treat. Peppermint bark is never easy to find outside of the Christmas season, and it's all the more excuse for gobbling it up while it's here! ;-) 

Also delicious to gobble up is the joy of creation.  This joy is somewhat novel to me, though I've definitely put in time into knitting, baking and crocheting in the past.  The joy of frugality is that I'm finally seeing everything with fresh eyes - not only am I being conservative with my resources (I'm quite sure, once you cost it out, making your own peppermint bark is far cheaper than buying it!), but I'm experiencing the joy of making something greater than the sum of its parts. Me! I can't quite place it. I think the first time I noticed this was when my boss, aware of my sewing skills (I use the term "skills" loosely....) asked me to sew these two rather random flaps on the inside of an old gray Gap jacket into pockets. It was a very simple matter of pinning the flaps down to the side near the zipper was all - voila, pockets.

When I was done, I was amazed. (Yes! Two simple rows of stitches result in my amazement! Low expectations are the key to happiness!)  My own work, materials and effort had turned something useless into something useful. I felt like a wizard, as if Gandalf the Grey could not have surpassed my wizarding skills. 

That was two months ago that I sewed that, and today my boss remarked out of the blue about his jacket, exclaiming, "You have no idea.  Every time I put that jacket on and I tuck a CD or book in, I'm amazed and so happy that I have pockets now!"

It is so rewarding knowing that one's own efforts can bring so much joy, to oneself and to others. 

God bless frustration, pockets, and peppermint bark - which make me free to save for FI, free to help others, and free to be a great deal sweeter and sassier in my self-sufficiency. ;-) May you find unbelievable joy and happiness in all of your frugal, creative, and self-sufficient enterprises.  



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