I've been reflecting a lot lately on my journey. Over the past year, I've made a lot of changes in my life with the goal of living more naturally. For me, it started very gradually and has grown into something I can be proud of. I didn't start out with the goal of getting to where I am today - there was a time when doing things like using cloth shopping bags and paying more for responsibly-grown food would have sounded crazy to me. Leading a more natural lifestyle has been surprising as well - there have been many benefits that I wasn't expecting:
- I am more proud of who I am as a person. I am the type of person who wants to please others, and making my own decisions regarding the way I live has helped me see that no matter the way I live, SOMEONE will find a way to wag their tongue about it. I've gotten closer to my personal goal to not be concerned about how people see me. I'm not sure why, but the reason I held off on some choices was because I wasn't sure how those closest to me would react - namely, my family. But I needn't have worried. My own grandmother now uses cloth shopping bags - I am so proud of her! My mom has made amazing strides in preparing simple, healthful meals and has taught me a lot in that department. I was blown away recently when my mother-in-law visited and told me of her plan to put a bucket in her shower to catch extra water - an idea I just had to steal! My baby cousin (shaddup, she'll always be my baby cousin, no matter how old she gets!) wants to major in organic farming. My brother just wrote an amazing thesis on the subject. My family never ceases to amaze me. So it's brought me closer to my family as well!
- Growing my own food has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had no idea how much it would affect me as a person. This year we started small: just a few tomatoes, some carrots, peppers, and herbs. But I just can't describe the feeling I get when I step outside to pull off a few ripe tomatoes, then head to the kitchen to make an amazing salsa. It's helped me take pride in being a first-time homeowner. It's empowered me to take steps to reduce our grocery bill in the future
- Perhaps the most surprising benefits has been the fellowship with the Lord I feel when I am outside. I have always felt closest to God when I'm outside admiring a sunset or standing at the top of a snow-covererd cliff, but to honor Him by conducting myself in a responsible manner has taken it to a whole new level. I've realized that what I do can be a form of worship by taking care of God's Creation.
I still have a LONG way to go as far as reducing my carbon footprint goes. But I am proud of the steps I have taken and look forward to the journey in front of me!