Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

The Vaccinations Debate Hate-Mongering February 7, 2015

Filed under: faith,ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 4:40 am
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Yes, I am finally going there. I have tried to avoid being drawn into the Vaccinations debate for years now. It seems that since the recent measles outbreak, more people have become very vocal. Some voices actually being militant in their tone and are now spewing hate. I have been shocked at the sheer level of which the people are reaching in their venomous words. Some calling for government to force vaccinations onto all children, regardless of the parents rights. What is the most heartbreaking is when I see this coming from people who profess to be Christian. Where is their Christianity in the hate that they are showing towards others who do not share their views on the subject? This goes for both sides of the argument. You have people showing the same levels of viciousness on both sides of the vaccinations debate.

My personal stance on this issue are not important to the topic of this post. My focus here is quite simple. I want to draw attention to the way in which people are treating each other. What positive message are people trying to give when they get ugly in their words and attitudes? I have seen a full range of reactions, from comments people post on social media to what they say out right. There is an attitude from the pro-vaccine side that parents who don’t vaccinate are ignorant. Some even call into question the person’s parenting skills. At times, there are comments that those parents who do not vaccinate their kids are guilty of child neglect, likening the choice to not vaccinate to the level of being a form of child abuse. Then you have those who would go so far as to want to hold the parents of an unvaccinated child financially responsible if their vaccinated child were to become sick with the measles or other illness that the vaccines are supposed to protect against. From the side of those who do not vaccinate, there are comments about the pro-vaccine people being sheep that blindly accept what the pharmaceutical companies and the CDC state as fact. In other words, calling the pro-vaccinate crowd ignorant for not looking into the vaccine issue for themselves. The list goes on and on. Where is the Christian attitude in all this?

Several times now, I have seen remarks about the pro-vaccine parents not wanting their child exposed to a child who has not received vaccinations. They feel that the unvaccinated for be sequestered from the vaccinated children. This has really taken off since the measles cases. As long as our nation allows our borders to be basically a free-access to those from other countries, we will always have a risk of exposure to illnesses that our nation had lowered the occurrences of. Not every nation uses vaccines to the extent that our nation does. This is where the politically correct issues gets murky. To assume that an outbreak of an illness is caused by an unvaccinated child who has never been outside of the US, either by birth or by traveling with family, is to make a huge error in judgment. I have one question for both sides to consider on this issue. If the measles, in example, was nearly gone from the US, then how did anyone in this country come down with a case of measles? Who exposed that person? What was the true point of origin? In finding an answer to this, we all have to stop with the knee-jerk reactions on the subject.

I am seeing friendships and other relationships becoming strained, at best, over this topic. It would seem that the vaccine debate rates up there with politics and religion when it comes to volatile subjects. Maybe that is one reason why I have tried to stay away from it. All I know is that people are causing harm to others through this process. Maybe not the physical harm, but relationships are being tested in a harsh way. Again, I have to ask. Where does this fall in line with the teachings in the Christian faith? I would love for someone to point out in the Bible where Christ set this kind of example? Where did he treat those who believed differently than himself with total vile and hatred? What instance in the Bible demonstrates that it is acceptable for a Christian to be such a hate-monger towards others? In my Bible, Jesus Christ sat down with those who were of a different belief and He showed them grace. Remember the woman at the well? Her people, the Samaritans, were not thought well of by the Jews of that time. Yet, Jesus went to her and treated her with respect.

If you are quick to be hateful, show disrespect, and spew evil on the heads of others through word or actions, what good are you doing? Does this tactic ever bring about a feeling of comfort that allows two sides with opposite views to sit and discuss them meaningfully? Has a person ever been won over from their point of view by calling them vile names or making ugly accusations? What good has it ever accomplished?

No matter where your heart lies in this, or any other hot topic of debate, the message is the same. Don’t lower yourself to the point of becoming hateful towards others. Speak respectfully to them. Be as open minded to their point of view as you would have them be towards yours. When people shout ugliness towards another, nothing is ever gained. Hearts can become hardened and lines can be drawn in the proverbial sand. Don’t allow fear to direct your words and actions. You may find others far more willing to hear your point of view if you do this.


Overstepping Boundaries in Social Media March 16, 2014

Filed under: faith,ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 9:41 pm

It would seem that there are no longer boundaries in social media. With the ease of communication through blogs, Facebook and other websites, people get the sense of feeling that they know you. Let’s face it. According to Facebook, they are your friend. That gives the false idea that people know each other far better than what is truth. This brings about a common problem. People whom you have never met feel that they have certain rights. Most particularly, the right to tell you how they think you should be living your life.

I am gobsmacked at the messages that I receive from time to time. People whom I have never met in person try to tell me their opinions of how I should do things differently. How ridiculous is that? A person who is a stranger for all intents and purposes telling you what you should be doing? Does this person know my heart? Do they know what our family life is like on a daily basis outside of what is posted on Facebook? What makes these people think that they know what is best for my family?

Recently, a Facebook “friend” went through old pictures on Facebook and then attempted to chastise and call to repentance for photos that they felt were inappropriate. In particular, a picture in which I wore something they personally found too low cut in the neckline. How I dress is no one’s business. The only person who has a say in how I dress, besides myself, is my husband. If he likes what I wear, that is all that matters.

Another chastised me for being snarky. So what? What I post is my own opinions and thoughts. If you don’t like it, ignore it or get off my friend’s list. As long as I am not breaking any of the rules that Facebook has in place, I can post what I choose.

Both of the above situations are ones in which the ones chastising were Christians who are more conservative than Joe and I are. Yes, the Bible does state that Christians should be witness to each other when they see a Christian doing something that is against the faith. The problem however is that neither of these people personally know us. We are not members of their church, nor do we follow the degree of conservative observance that they do. In this situation, neither has the right to chastise. If we were members of their church congregation and they saw something we did as being against their beliefs, then they would have more right to say something. Even in that situation however, it should be done privately and not through social media. You also do not become hateful in your words and accuse the person you are chastising of being unGodly and a false Christian simply because they say/do something you personally do not agree with.

Let me give you a glimpse into my life. Prior to meeting Joe, I had been burnt badly by so-called Christians who were absolutely hateful. They were hateful in action and words and did it in the name of their faith. They showed me a bad example of Christianity and I turned away from it. I was sick to death of their condescending, self-righteous, holier than thou, attitudes. I started following a more pagan belief. It made far more sense to me than what I had been shown by others. When I met Joe, I still wore a pentagram. Amazingly, it was the example that he set that got me to rethink my opinions of Christianity. Though I was baptized 7 years ago, I still feel the disgust at the self-righteous attitudes when I hear it. While the person may be thinking that they are doing the right thing, they are in fact making it harder for me to continue having good thoughts about being a part of the Christian faith. In honesty, I don’t like being part of a group that treats others with such hate and disdain. It is only because of my own husband’s example and those of the true friends that I have who are Christians that I don’t walk away sometimes. My personal faith and relationship with the Lord will always be there. It is something that is a part of me. I cannot separate myself from my faith. What I am opposed to however is being lumped in with a group that acts so hateful in the name of God, simply because I am a Christian. I am blessed in that I do have good Christians around me who are a constant living testimony to me of what Christianity is truly about. They give me the examples that I need as well as the gentle and loving guidance when necessary. They know me personally and therefore are able to do it in a way that is effective. That is the big difference. A stranger on social media doesn’t have that knowledge. Most often, what they may intend to be good comes off wrong and is more damaging than helpful.

One thing that I try to keep in mind is that everyone is at a different place in their faith. There are many different denominations of Christianity as well as levels of conservatism within those denominations. No two congregations are exactly alike. Each denomination has it’s own teaching. Within each congregation, members often have varying degrees of belief in how their faith should be practiced in their lives. In example, some Christian denominations teach that women should only wear dresses of a specific length or style such as the cape dresses worn by the Mennonites. Other denominations have no problem with women wearing pants. I have been to congregations where women wear jeans & t-shirts to church right along side of women who dress in their “Sunday best” dresses. The Lord meets us where we are. I don’t think the way we dress really matters where our salvation is concerned. I believe that the way we dress is more of an issue towards other people. If a woman were to dress provocative in church, how easily can others pay attention to the teachings? But, what if that is the best that the woman has? Should she be banned from attending simply because she doesn’t meet a dress code?

Most criticism that I get is always based upon legalism issues. Legalism is the rules and dictates that are set up by man, not the Lord. One good example of legalism happened in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Lord gave Moses the 10 Commandments. Evidently, the Israelite’s tribe of Levi who were the high priests of the Israelites thought those were not enough. The priests came up with over 700 more laws for the Israelites to follow. If the Lord wanted Israel to have all of those laws, He would have given Moses more than the 10 Commandments. Today, is not much different. Each denomination has it’s own set of rules and practices. I mention this simply to demonstrate one thing. When a Christian on social media chastises or tries to bring to repentance someone they only know on social media, they are doing it based upon their own beliefs. They do not take into account that the person they are chastising may not be following those same rules and practices. Thus, their criticism is not effective in a positive way. It comes off as something far different, such as the self-righteous attitude.

We need to be very careful in this area of our lives. If you see someone living differently than you would expect, then you have options. Two of those being that you either accept that they are following their own faith or you stop reading their social media posts. Likewise, if you don’t like what someone posts on your wall or time line on Facebook, you can ignore them or unfriend them. Sometimes, the most loving thing that you can do towards others is to simply keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself.

God Bless.



Unexpected Blessings January 11, 2014

Filed under: family,homesteading,old fashioned,ramblings,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 5:22 pm
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Yesterday, I had a surplus of milkso shared it with our neighbors who are retired and raising two grandchildren. This family is very dear to us. We feel blessed to be considered a part of their family. 

While there, Momma gave me a beautiful lap/shawl size afghan that she has crocheted for me. It will always be a treasured gift.


This morning, Pop and his brother stopped by with a pickup truck load of pecan firewood that was cut and split to fit in my wood-burning cookstove.  What a blessing!  The load was enough to fill three large shipping crates.  When I thanked him for the wood, he told me that cutting it have him something to do.

We are so blessed to have neighbors like Momma and Pop.  Like us, they live as close to a self-reliant life as they can and have taught us so much.  In many ways, they mentor us. Always available to help us learn a new skill if needed.  Our families look out for one another just as families used to do generations ago. 

When I think of our relationship with their family, I can’t help but wonder how much better our world would be if everyone treated each other this way.  Each doing all they can to not have to depend on others.  Each being willing to shared their surplus resources or knowledge.  Utopia? Maybe.  It would sure make life better for all though if people thought less about what was in it for them and more about how they can bless another.


New “to me” Technology August 19, 2013

Filed under: ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 3:17 am

Well, after dragging my heels deep enough to plow furrows in the garden, I had to upgrade my cell phone. The one I had been using was over 5 years old and started having problems. So, my beloved husband had me buy an Android smartphone. I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I enjoy it but can become quite frazzled if it is not behaving.

I bought a phone for the Straight Talk prepay service. That phone lasted 10 days before the screen went out. Back to the store I went to exchange the phone. I got a different brand this time and so far it is behaving.

I now have the app so that I can blog from my phone. How cool is that? Hopefully this will make the blog updates more frequent.


Oklahoma Tornados May 21, 2013

Filed under: family,ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 1:37 am

I wanted to take a quick moment ask those who pray to please keep the families affected by the tornados in their prayers. We were lucky in that the closest a tornado came to our homestead was about 10 miles directly north of us. So many other families were not as lucky. Many have been injured, lost their homes, and some even their loved ones.

Seeing the destruction brought on by the tornados, through the news services, has been heart-wrenching to say the least. The school in Moore, Oklahoma, being hit was especially disturbing.

Images such as these lay it on our hearts to hug our own children just a little more.


Simple Patchwork Afghan April 29, 2013

Filed under: ramblings,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 2:21 am
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I found a wonderful link that I wanted to share with you. It is for a patchwork style afghan for the Warm Up America project. Warm up America is a volunteer project where you crochet or knit 7×9 inch blocks. Once made, you use 49 blocks to make an afghan. They are sewn together in a grid pattern of 7 across by 7 down. There is a very nicely done PDF file that gives the exact directions for both crochet and knitting. I am working to make these block over the warm months. It is much easier than working with a large afghan in the hot weather. In autumn, I will start joining the blocks to make quilts.



Liebster Blog Award March 9, 2013

Filed under: ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 6:00 am
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I hadn’t thought that I would have time to do this extra blog post but after my third nomination for it, I thought I would go ahead and do this one as it is a fun one. Challenging, for me, but fun. Thanks Our Thrifty House for nudging me to participate & nominating me.


The Liebster Award is one given to bloggers who are just starting out as a way to help get their blog out there a bit more. The idea is that anyone who is nominated is to do 4 things. First, they list 11 facts about themselves that others may or may not already know. Secondly, they answer a list of questions posted by the blogger who nominated them. Third, you list some new blogs that you would like to see participate in the award. Finally, you give a list of questions that the bloggers you nominate are to answer in their post.

11 Facts about me:

1. I used to be a truck driver, team driving with my husband.
2. I am a Kindle junkie. I am constantly adding more books to it.
3. Most nights I can be found reading my Kindle by oil lamp light.
4. I once considered converting to Old Order Amish.
5. My favorite “date” with my husband is a trip to Lowe’s.
6. My favorite color is teal.
7. Only thing I miss about electricity is a hair dryer.
8. I have no clue how to be “girlie” or dress that way.
9. I have brooded a small clutch of chicks in my kitchen.
10. My favorite style of clothing is the gypsy/bohemian.
11. I am totally hooked on Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Cider.

Questions from Our Thrifty House

Where do you find inspiration? Mostly from questions I receive as well as our daily life.

What is the hardest part about blogging, if any? Finding time. By the time I am finished doing daily chores, tending the kids, and homeschooling them, I have trouble being awake enough to feel creative.
What if your favorite quote? “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What is your favorite dessert? Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.
What celebrity would you like to meet? Hard question. Don’t really pay too much attention to celebrities. But if I had to pick, I would say actress Jane Seymour. I love her grace & dignity as well as humor.
What part of the day do you like best? The moment when the 1st pot of coffee is done brewing. LOL
If money was no issue, where would you like to travel? Switzerland
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
What is your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Indoors would be reading or sewing. Outdoors would be hiking.
What is your favorite store to shop? Lehmans, they sell non-electric items like the Amish use.
What was the last book you read? Dark Nights by Christine Feehan.

My blog nominees
Especially Made
The Making of a Home
Blueberry Acres farm
When Did This Become a Farm

My Quesions to the nominees:

Who inspires you?
What is the hardest part about blogging, if any?
What if your favorite quote?
What is your favorite dessert?
What skill do you wish you had taken the time to learn when you were growing up?
What is the one activity you wish you had the time to pursue?
If money was no issue, where would you like to travel?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is your favorite pastime?
What book are you currently reading?
Do you play a musical instrument?


Gotta Love Technology October 15, 2012

Filed under: ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 2:32 am

For the past couple of weeks, I have been going bonkers trying to remember my password for the blog website. Ugh! I finally got it all figured out tonight. Bad part is that I remembered it purely by accident. I thought I had changed it from an old one. Nope! I hadn’t changed it yet. Well, it is changed now. The biggest problem was that I couldn’t remember what email account I had the blog associated with. Another headache. LOL

So, tonight, I changed both the email (to one that I check daily) and the password. And I have done what everyone says you should never do. I wrote them down. I am not good at remembering what password I use on which website. There are some things about technology that is really a pain in the keester.

Well, at least now I can get back to posting again.


Writer’s Block October 10, 2012

Filed under: ramblings — ourprairiehome @ 3:24 pm

I am really beginning to see a problem with writer’s block. I have limited computer time each day. Using a small solar power system that does not allow me to use the computer for long periods is a challenge, but not one that is insurmountable. My issue is more basic than that. I get writer’s block on a regular basis. Some days, it seems that the words simply flow. I am able to write up to 2 chapters at a time. Other nights, and somewhere between my walking over to the computer and my backside meeting the chair, the thoughts simply evaporate.

I am beginning to truly believe the source of the block is that I am trying to write what I want and not letting the book write itself, so to speak On nights when I allow the words to simply flow from inside of me, the writing is so much easier to do. When I try to put my own interpretations in to what I see coming from the book, I seem to hit a snag and the flow simply falters to a stand still.

It is time for me to let go and let the book take me where it will.


Simplicity with Technology? September 7, 2012

Filed under: green living,old fashioned,ramblings,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 4:59 am

I had a rather interesting question come up recently. I was asked in an email how I can consider our lifestyle to be one of simplicity when we have Internet at home, along with cell phones.

When compared to most families in our country, we DO live a much more simplistic lifestyle. No, we do not go as far with it as the Old Order Amish, for example. We do take on some of the attitude.

Among the Amish, any technology used has to pass a test. Does it truly benefit the family/community without interfering in their family/community relationships? Is it something that is necessary or is it simply a personal want?

We look at many of our technology decisions in a similar way. We homeschool our children and need the Internet resources to aid us in providing them a good education. Without Internet at home, I have to travel a minimum of 10 miles from home to access the WiFi at the library in town. While 10 miles doesn’t seem that much, the fuel cost does add up. We also use the Internet to stay in touch with family and friends that lives out of state. Having Internet at home does simplify our life in a big way. I can get online at night or when the children are playing and my household tasks are completed. I don’t have to pack the kids up into the jeep to drive them to town.

Having a cell phone is a blessing. Living where we do, if you have a vehicle breakdown, the cell phone can make a big difference. It also allows Joe to be able to contact me from the road no matter where I am. It does not take anything away from our family relationships. In contrast, it actually helps when Joe is gone. We can stay in touch far easier.

The key issue for me is that the technology not be allowed to rule over us. Don’t let the technology become so important that your relationships take a back seat to technology.

Take a realistic view of whatever technology you are wanting to purchase. Is it necessary? If you took the time to save up the money to obtain that computer, or other technology-related item, would you still have long-term use for that item when you finally have saved enough to buy it?

Technology isn’t the issue. It is what you do with it and whether or not you allow it to rearrange your priorities in an unhealthful way.