Lanterns: The Broke Conservative

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The Broke Conservative

If you’ve listened to liberal talking points, you may think “broke conservative” is an oxymoron. There are actually quite a lot of us living paycheck to paycheck, hanging on by our fingernails, and praying…a lot. Surprised? That’s because you’ve generally been led astray. Conservatism is not economic status, it’s a philosophy based on the framework the Founders left for us — liberty, equality, and faith. They are the cornerstone of the American idea, and conservatives seek to protect these and other values present in the founding documents.

My hubby and I are among this group. We are always brainstorming, constantly thinking that the next idea might just be the one to catapult us over the top. We’ve been “in the hole” for years for a variety of reasons: divorce, illness, poor decisions, and the curveballs that life invariably throws. Sure we’d like to find ourselves in better circumstances; it would be a huge relief financially and diminish our stress levels, but we’ve found treasure down here at rock bottom, and we realize we have a pretty good life, all things considered.

This month we could not stretch our dollars any further.  We had a choice between electric, and phone/internet — we chose heat. Of course, that was the right choice, but it meant no tv, no podcasts, no Facebook, no phone. Major bummer. I’ve become one of the people I used to laugh about — completely lost without my online world. We live in a pasture in rural Georgia, and we’re isolated geographically. I think of the internet as my tether to the world.

Moving to Georgia about two and a half years ago was difficult for me. I left my three grown daughters, my parents, and friends in Pennsylvania. It was my home, where I was born and raised. I had struggled mightily for years to keep my girls in the same school after a divorce — their lives were topsy-turvy, and it wasn’t much, but it was the only real stability I could manage. I couldn’t afford it, and it just about broke me financially and mentally, but my youngest daughter finally graduated; she left for college, and we left for Georgia.

My hubby had a heart attack the last time he shoveled snow, so he wanted to retire somewhere warmer. We had fallen in love with Savannah and its history, so we set our sights on the fine southern charm and gracious hospitality it is known for. Though we weren’t able to be in town, we found a place about an hour away that we could afford, and we’ve grown to love our little rural town. We have learned so much from our adventures.

We left Pennsylvania with $500, our two dogs and two cats in the backseat, and only what we could fit in the trunk and the floor of the car. For the first five months or so, we had no entertainment other than our cell phones, our pets, and each other. No furniture either, leading me to joke that we had four seats — two folding chairs, and two toilets. Finally, we managed to procure a mattress and box spring about that time.

We had next to nothing, but we had all we needed in each other. We talked and talked, dreamed and planned, and played cards just about every day and night. We got books from the library, and went on drives, exploring the area. We discovered such joy in our minimalist lives.

Since then we’ve added Monopoly, Battleship, and jigsaw puzzles for me. So as we began the new year, we knew we’d be fine and happy until the time we turn the phone and Netflix back on. Unforeseen medical issues have popped up, and we won’t be having those luxuries in February either. I’d be lying if I said I’m not disappointed, but what’s another 28 days in the grand scheme?

I don’t know if my hubby knows how much this really means to me, but with less than I’ve ever had in my life, I finally feel at home. The relationship we’ve built through these past years is a comfort and a privilege this Pennsylvania woman will never take for granted, and we didn’t need the federal government’s help to achieve it. The less DC intrudes in our lives, the better.

We are pursuing our life, liberty, and happiness, as only Americans can-  secure in the natural rights granted by our maker, and protected by the founding documents. I miss my family, but we stay in touch and visit.

We’re broke, but we have our treasure — we found it buried in the little trailer park in the hayfield, where we live and love with our furry family and each other.

Written by Julie Custer

2 Responses

Great testimony!!

Thank you Chris. Straight from my heart.

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