Monday, February 27, 2012

Facing Challenges in Life

This is a post about rising to the Challenges life gives us, growing in those challenges to become bigger and better people, and broken appliances and the lessons they teach us by no longer functioning...

Do you ever catch yourself saying, "I need to 'catch up' on the laundry"? I've been saying that for some time now, but something has occurred to me about that particular phrase, "catch up on laundry"

You can never really catch up on laundry because there is always more laundry being generated

So I'm learning to enjoy laundry, in much the same way I've decided to appreciate doing dishes, mowing lawns or vacuuming floors. I use my mom's old phrase when my brain says, "Do I have to?" Mom's answer is, "You get to." Meaning, 

you get the privilege of being healthy enough and free enough to do these things that are so distasteful to you. Be grateful for what you have.

But now,

our dryer... is broken. 

So I am rising to the challenge. I am forming a system for keeping our laundry going even without the dryer and with a very teeny, tiny drying rack and a stack of coat hangers. And I am counting my blessings and looking at ways that our lives overall can be simplified and new/better habits can be formed by this challenge. Here are some things I've noted so far (it's been one week...) 
  • All shirts get hung up on hangers right away. 
  • Heavy clothes, like blue jeans, are put through mixed in with other clothes that need doing so to balance out what is drying on the rack at various times
  • Don't wash the next load until the last clothes have been on the rack for at least six hours
  • Use liquid fabric softener, air dried clothes are kind of scratchy
  • Look ahead at least two or three days in the schedule: what clothes are needed? Are they clean and ready to go?
  • Make time for ironing, air-dried clothes tend to come out a bit stiff and wrinkled
This challenge also has me taking a look at the overall process of simplifying our house and my life. It has me thinking things like, 
  • How many clothes do we each really need, anyway? (Get ready to lose some of those clothes, kids!)
  • Can each person do with one pair of pajamas for warm weather and one for cold? 
  • Can we switch off between two sets of "best-dressed" clothes? 
  • Can we cycle through four outfits a week without wearing everything out too quickly?
  • Do I want to put in a retractable clothes line to reduce wear on the dryer once it is repaired or replaced?
A few years ago, our water heater went out in a big way. I didn't want to just run out and but an easy replacement, I wanted to do some research first: Do we need a bigger size? Can we do a tankless water heater? Which is more economical? Which brand lasts longest for its value? 

So I didn't replace it...  for six months.

In facing that challenge, I came up with a system where we bathed every other day instead of daily (most of us, minus those entering pubescence and the Big Guy who hits the gym a lot) continue with that plan; On Sunday mornings, I would heat water on the stove in my two biggest pots while I put together biscuit dough, then while the biscuits baked I would use the heated water to give all the children baths before church; I heated water for dishes on the stove while fixing dinner. My own showers were usually very quick and very cold. My wonderful husband showered at the gym (can't blame him!)

The similarities between these Challenges of Life are not lost on me - and similar Challenges provide similar Life Lessons. When our modern conveniences and technologies break or fail us in some way, or are just not available, here are the lessons I've learned:
  • I am strong enough to overcome these Challenges
  • There are similar steps to success, regardless of the Challenge
    • slow down, 
    • think farther ahead, 
    • work together and 
    • plan things out
    • follow the plan
  • Prayer helps
  • Less is more
  • I don't want to do this forever but I'm glad to have the chance to grow by this Life Challenge.


  1. I am really afraid you are going to decide you just don't need a dryer ... and double your workload with all these work-arounds! This is nyet Soviet Russia! You buy dryer! We are Bourgiouse Capitalist Pigs here!

  2. You are an inspiration to all of us who read your blog.(Next you will be writing them by hand with paper made of papyrus grown in Spinster Beth's beautiful garden and ink from berries, and delivering them to your loyal readers on your bicycle.)

    You teach many valuable lessons to your children and us,the readers, in the way that you face and handle these Challenges and the lessons that you take away from them. But there is no dishonor, after tackling and solving problems, to then fall back on the more efficient and time saving methods.
    I agree with Spinster Beth that you should buy a new dryer at once and spend some of the extra time you save in front of your computer writing your delightful and informative blogs.

    P.S. If you must sacrifice something from the lessons learned during this particular Challenge, let it be the iron.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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