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Simple Stories – Amy

This week Amy is sharing her simple living story.  Thanks so much Amy for sharing 🙂

It was in the nineties when my husband and I caught the “keeping up with the Jones syndrome.” We got married in 1985, shortly before I turned twenty. About a year later we bought a new, three bedroom house. We had very little stuff and it almost felt empty after moving in.

Three and a half years later, we had our first child. Our house was plenty big enough, but with all our new purchases and baby paraphernalia, the closets were  beginning to overflow. We thought the answer was a bigger house. Driving through neighborhoods to look at big houses became our focus. We were excited at the thought of having a four bedroom house with a full basement. As our dream grew bigger in our minds the reality of our budget revealed to us that we couldn’t really afford a big mortgage. Did we really need a bigger house? Or could it be that we just needed to have less stuff? 

After praying, we decided we would stay in our house. But underneath this decision there was still the desire to have something bigger and nicer. During this same season of soul searching, I decided to quit a job I’d been working at for eight years. It wasn’t just any job. This was a job with a fortune 500 company that had huge potential for promotion and growth. Much of my identity and self-worth was tied to the status of working for such a well-known, prestigious company.

It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Through tears, I told my boss Barbara that I needed to leave the company to be home with my daughter.

Barbara reassured me with her words.

“You will always have an open invitation to come back to work, Amy,”

As many times as I’ve been tempted to return to that job, deep in my heart I’ve known that it’s not where I belong.

Simplicity is what I desired more.  A career was no longer compatible with the life I was dreaming of. My dream was to have a simple life with plenty of quality time for the people I love the most.

As the years passed by and after the birth of my second child, I learned more about simple living. I read an article in 1997, titled “Tilling in the Garden of Voluntary Simplicity.” After reading this article, my desire to have more was replaced completely with a desire to have less. It no longer appealed to me to have a bigger house.

I began to clear out clutter. I literally took 6 or 7 van loads of stuff to the thrift store year after year. But even though I was happy about clearing out the clutter I was still bothered by what others thought of me. There was a constant reminder that we were abnormal as I looked at the lifestyles of those around us.

Because of our own choices, we had a relatively small income and our finances were painfully lacking at times because of four job lay-offs for my husband. Yet, because of our simple lifestyle and God’s help we made it through every job loss.

My husband returned to college and graduated in 2010. He has an awesome job now in the medical diagnostics field.

Twenty-six years later, our house we bought as newlyweds is truly our home that could never be replaced. We have done some renovations and we’re not planning to ever sell it. We’re living our simple living dream. Our house isn’t too small or too big for us. It’s just right. And I’m actually beginning to stop caring about what other people think. I’ve decided that having less really is a key to having more happiness.

My ultimate dream is to live in a tiny house in Uganda, East Africa, and to own an orphanage. I want to use our current house as a place for families in need of temporary housing. But until the time is right for that dream to come to fruition, I will be content right here living a simple life in Georgia, hoping to inspire others to do the same.

Bio: Amy von Borstel is a wife, homeschooling mom, and Christian writer. She is living her dream of being home with her family. She loves to write the stories of God’s faithfulness in her life and has a passion for helping the orphans of the world.  Check out her blog, or follow her on twitter.

Thanks so much Amy for telling your story! 

11 Comments

  1. “After praying, we decided…” and “Yet, because of our simple lifestyle and God’s help we…”….it seems to me that Amy and her family are on the right track just from the beginnings of those two statements,trusting in God before makng decisions AND giving Him credit afterwards for how things turned out in their lives,awesome in this day and age to hear someone giving Him proper credit and respect,just awesome!

    I had to laugh out loud about the “van loads every year” being taken out,having been there oh too many times ourselves (and each individual van/truck load not aking a dent in the mess….ugh! :p). An inspiring read no doubt 🙂

    • …. van loads didn’t really make a dent to what we had either… it needed real ‘surgery’ 🙂

      • It felt like a never-ending process when I was taking those van loads to the thrift store. I was most definitely a pack rat back in those days.

    • Thank you Stephen for your kind words. God really does take care of all of us when we let go of our own dreams and seek out His dreams!

      Blessings to you on your simple living journey!

  2. What an inspiring post! Wonderful, wonderful story. I recently found your blog but I love it.

    • Welcome 🙂

    • Thank you, Iveth. Many blessings to you!

  3. It’s that 20% more syndrome that almost every american suffers from. What we don’t realize is that every day you were in your house, you were getting 20% more… 20% more memories that are filling that home with love and warmth. I am so happy and proud of you for making your decisions!

    • Thank you, Skylor. Your comment gave me teary eyes. Life is truly about creating love and warmth in our families and other relationships. Blessings to you!

  4. I love hearing stories like this! It’s comforting to know that there are so many of us now understanding that less truly is more. That life is for living, not acquiring. Thank you Amy! -joanne

  5. Mia Mia

    I really appreciate that you shared this, Amy. While my husband and I are still “just getting started”, it is so refreshing to think that we really don’t need to run the race with everyone else. We just want four walls, safety, warmth and each other. I’m so glad I found this site. It is beautiful and refreshing.

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