March 27, 2014

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Redneck Freezer

Oct29

As I drive my mini van down our winding gravel drive, I am greeted by an old familiar friend.  He’s faithfully held some of my most “prized” positions; stored frozen goodies acquired from hours of dedicated grocery guru shopping, yet he’s more than a glorified freezer, he’s a reminder.

A reminder that I choose to celebrate the Good ‘enough” Things in my life, and the bottom line is that often, I’d rather not.

Meet my Redneck Freezer.

It’s situated within that supposedly white, yet oh so covered with horrible red NC clay, shed.

For years, I mourned the fact that I had no extra freezer storage.

“I could cut my budget dramatically if I could only stock up on the great frozen food deals when they are advertised,” I used to exclaim, “But (sigh), I have no room in our home where I can store an extra appliance.”

And then my husband suggested we put a freezer in our outside shed. I knew it would never work. We didn’t have electricity out there. We hadn’t budget the extra amount for an electrician to take care of that, so it just wasn’t an option.

“Well,” he mentioned,”I could run multiple extension cords from the freezer, down the side of the shed, through the gravel, through the grass, and into the plug on the side of our house?”

I was quite positive he has lost his mind.

It’s been quite a few years now since we had this discussion, but I am sure I responded with something like, “Seriously? That would work? We’d be driving our vehicles over the cords? It would look so tacky. There’s no way to hide the cord on our house. It would look  beyond red necky.”

In my mind, it was not a good enough solution.

“Well, then don’t complain anymore about not having an extra freezer.” (Saying it in a sweet, gentle, yet wonderfully “you need to hear me on this” way.)

And that was that.

For every excuse we make, there is often a solution. We just don’t want to choose that good enough solution or we convince ourselves we have no other option.

I didn’t want a redneck freezer. I wanted a white picket fence freezer, but I didn’t ” need” it.

It was a “want”, pure and simple.

It’s been years now since I listened to my incredibly smart man, and that Red Neck freezer has served us well over the years.

That last picture was taken this morning as I looked out my side door.

The beautiful autumn foliage falls on the dirty eaves, so I get a bit distracted with another “to do” item on my list, yet I think of all the lessons that freezer has taught me.

It’s taught me about the practical aspects of food storage, menu planning, and budgeting, but more than that it’s been a caveat to real life lessons.

It’s housed countless meals that have been served to guests, and not one of those friends struggled with that fact it was pulled from our red neck freezer.

As I look at that tacky cord running down the shed wall, it stirred up memories of our year of unemployment. We were able to live off the food that had been stored in that freezer for months. I am grateful that we had the funds to purchase it before my husband lost his job, and I am so thankful that I received his wise counsel.

It’s a privilege to own this Redneck Freezer.

It’s a daily reminder to put aside my own proud tendencies, and embrace all the Good “enough” Things in my life.

My red neck freezer is a GOOD thing, and even though we now have the funds to get a white picket one, who needs it when they can raise their hand and proudly declare they are just a bit of a Red Neck? :)

31days buttons bbb wide Doctored Up Snickers Cupcakes (with cake mix)

Read the rest of my 31 Days of Good ‘enough” Things by clicking here, and don’t miss the launch of 10 Minute Dinners.

I’m tackling 31 Days towards 10 Minute Dinners over at my new site.


Comments

  1. Beth Smith says:

    Now I don’t feel so bad we are the same way, hubby cut a hole to run the power cord thru then sealed it up. Would be lost with my freezer

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  2. Beth Smith Hmm…years later, I should have thought of cutting that hole and sealing it up. haha ;)

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  3. Loving your GOOD ENOUGH mentality! Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. THANK YOU! Jen, I SO. NEEDED. THIS.!!!

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  5. That’s such a good lesson – we often care far too much about how things look to others and forget that most people don’t live in ‘magazine photo ready’ homes. On Saturday I had 8 ladies from church come to learn how to can and I grimaced when one asked for a tour of our home because it was definitely was not ‘tour ready’. Despite the dust and piles of stuff in my sewing/crafting/second kitchen/ guest room, I gave a full tour {quickly} and they loved our humble home despite the mess. I bit my tongue and made no excuses for the imperfections but smiled and accepted the kind compliments they gave me. Our home is filled with hand-me-down furniture, thrift store finds, and things I’ve made. All of our bedding and window treatments were made by me so nothing is perfect, but it’s warm and inviting and serves to provide a loving environment for our family. We are abundantly blessed.

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  6. Point well taken. Too often I don’t want to have people over because things are not what I think they should be in my house. Such a huge mistake! Thank you for this post. I do love your adorable shed. The shutters, the detail in the doors, the window boxes. So charming!

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  7. I read most of your posts, but have to leave a quick comment letting you know I’m LOVING this series. Keep it up! I’m pretty good (practiced!) at being positive with “good enough” stuff but there are still the regular struggles with feeling blessed about it.

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  8. I’m happ y to say that I’m at that GOOD enough place in my life. I also love finding ways of “disguising” the NOT GOOD enough, to then make it downright pretty!

    I’m also going through a MASSIVE purging of our ENTIRE home, which I’m doing a series on, entitled Decluttering 101. Yeah I know, I’m not the most creative personal in the world, but that’s ok, because it’s GOOD enough! One thing I’ve found, when I remove the clutter, and have more of a bare space, then I don’t want to spend money bringing more clutter in my home. That, then, give way to having more of the funds for the extra, more practical items on my “bucket list”.

    I think your freezer is GOOD enough!

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  9. Im not sure which is worse.. the wanting things the way you want them or caring about what others think.

    I’ve never cared what anyone else thinks about me or the way I live with the exception of M’honey & our kids. Thank God, I bypassed that gene.
    My problem tends to be more, this isnt how I want it and I get frustrated. It has nothing to do with others. However, I’ve lived an awful lot of “Good Enough” and I think having a Red Neck Freezer is an awesome thing!!

    Me? I’d love to have a large back yard with a cute little storage shed in it.. Ohhh.. you have no idea how much I’d love that

    Have a great day!! :D

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  10. Great post. Even though our freezer has a home in garage right next to an outlet, I consider it a redneck freezer. We’ve had it for over 10 years and it was probably twice that old when we got from my aunt. You have to be careful when you lift the lid because where the screws attach the insulation has rusted out and you might just lift the outer lid and not the inner lid if you’re not careful. But it works, and works well.

    For the last few years I’ve said I want a new one. It’s on the list but something always seems to bump it down farther. Things like the septic system or broken windows or kids going to college.

    I agree with you Jen, there’s no way we could have gone through 4 years of unemployment and underemployment without this blessing.

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  11. Hi Jen,
    I have followed your blog for years . It has been such an encouragement. I used to have a redneck freezer oh how I miss it. Let me paint you a picture. Abundently blessed lady from church posted does anyone want a free freezer renter left behind. I emailed and said yes
    pick me, so she did. Ok I have honda but with GOD all things are possible. My sweet nephew
    and his friend will go and get it great. They show up with the freezer and the lid is bent back
    and out of shape it will not shut , insulation is inside freezer and the plastic that covers insulation broken in a million pieces. I think they probably drove really fast. I should have gone with them and drove. So I thought should I have them take it to a dumpster? I decided
    to plug it in it still came on and cooled . That was a good . Then I got some study trash bags
    and duct tape and put insulation back in . It was really lovely . It still did not close unless
    me and my daughter sat on it. What to do? We watched a video on you tube how to fix the
    hinges, That helped. It still did not stay closed tried to order a key ,No success. Then we
    saw the cinder blocks that we were going to use for a shelf. Viola the freezer it is closed.
    We used that freezer for 3 years until our house flooded and we had to move. It saved us
    so much money and I miss it. We put it on craigslist for free and so many people wanted that
    redneck freezer (we did post pictures) I loved it because it remined me of us less than perfect
    people that have some broken places but God loves us so much. That freezer with it inperfections made my life so much better.
    Thank you for making me smile.
    Patti
    pattisdeals at yahoo dot com

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  12. As someone who grew up dirt poor in a redneck Upstate NY country family, your freezer is def. not redneck! Try having a Dad who made a “hot water tank”out of an old oil barrel because our hot water was turned off and who also made a BBQ grill out of a similar oil barrel. Now, if your freezer was on your front porch … well I’m not going to lie … that would be pretty redneck. LOL. (Sorry, no offense to anyone who actually does this; growing up we had a refrigerator on a back porch).

    That said, thanks for keeping it real! As a teenager, I used to be so embarrassed my Dad did these things. But now I know he was just being creative and practical by making sure our family was cared for anyway he knew how even if he had to “up-cycle” things to do it or locate appliances in strange places. Back then, it was “good enough” for my family because it worked for us. The point is, “good enough” is whatever works for you and your family as long as it’s not harming anyone else or violating any laws.

    At least your freezer is safely housed in a cute little shed and you don’t have to walk through 3 feet of snow to get to it. ;)

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  13. Hmm, this is the second post I’ve read today about slowing down and appreciating what you have. Do you think God is trying to tell me something? :) I love this. I’ve always been a function over fashion girl myself!

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  14. When we moved here, we converted 2 rec room closets into extra food storage: DH put guerilla shelves in one of those closets for an extra pantry.

    The 2nd closet has an extra fridge and My Precioussss, a 20 cu ft freezer.

    Visitors using the rec room might think I’m crazy*, but stockpiling is the main way I keep my grocery bills reasonable.

    * I remember one relative commenting (snarkily) on my 20 boxes of stockpiled tissues. But, it’s been a long time since I bought full-price tissues.

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  15. karen davis says:

    I really appreciate this type of story, because many of us face challenges financially, and it is helpful to not feel alone in this. I am so thankful for everything I have and continue to lean on and learn that He makes provision, and that He watches over His Word to perform it. Love all that you write about, even made your baked eggs. You are an awesome singer. Sincerely Karen

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  16. Oh, Jen, I love this. There’s a little bit of redneck in me, too. (Well, considering that I was born and reared in Tennessee, there might be a LOT of redneck in me!)

    Amazing what happens when we can differentiate between our wants and our needs, huh?

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  17. Jen, this reminded me of something our preacher said Sunday, “Don’t look for an excuse, look for an opportuntity.” Glad your taking advantage of yours!

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  18. I live in rural Idaho. Where everything is done Idaho-Temporary-Permanent. It’s just temporary. Til it’s not.
    Coming from a life of appearance is everything and a family that always, ALWAYS, looks all perfect, I struggle. I’ve never been quite able to measure up to their image, but I was never as bad as all I see now.
    I am getting better.
    I’ve lived here almost two years. With my dryer on the front porch. And an antique, but doesn’t work freezer. We’ve just added my dryer that died to the collection out there. But the good news is, my only outlet power source for three downstairs rooms no longer is run from an extension cord that goes through the window in the living room like it was when we moved in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I still have one room with no outlets, but the other rooms actually have working outlets, and in the walls even!
    I don’t have to step over the extension cord running from the washing machine in the bathroom, down the hall to the kitchen. Of course, it goes through a hole in the wall to the basement, but I digress. I guess I have two room without outlets downstairs. ;)
    All in all, living like this, makes me appreciate every working thing. Most of the time. There are days when I still freak out about it all, but then I just try to step outside and breathe. And give thanks for the fact that I am not homeless and that we have as many blessings as we have.

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  19. I keep repeating your line…It’s good enough. And 99.99% of the time it’s really good. Thanks for the reminder. I love your site.

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  20. Psst…I think the word is Redneck (all one word) :-)

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  1. [...] my husband to go out and grab something from our “Redneck freezer,” is asking for a talking to, but I did it anyhow. Yes, that freezer is so stuffed. that when [...]

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