A funny thing happened as we continued our quest for finding creative ways to save money. It began at the beginning of May, when things started heating up here in Texas. We decided to wait until the high temperatures became unbearable before flipping the air conditioning switch. It became a little bit of a game....who would be the first to crack? The days warmed. Our house, with its open air design, lots of windows with screens, fans, and high ceilings has become a team player in this event. We've had some pretty warm days on the farm by "civilized Texans" standards, but nothing close to being unbearable.
Paralleling this mini journey of ours, our friends The Waits , are planning for a much larger trip. In a little over a month, they will be closing the Texas chapter of their lives, and starting a new one as they move to a remote little corner of Honduras to care for the orphans of Puerto Lempira. Included among the gazillion modern amenities they will not have access to?.........air conditioning is one of them. Their daily temperatures pretty much mirror our current ones except for the humidity......which averages a balmy 70-90% on any given day. Suddenly, not using air conditioning became my constant reminder of what our sweet selfless friends are doing for others....what they are giving up to give of themselves. I have not told many people (until now!) that we're operating without AC around here because, by civilized standards here in the southern USA, only the poorest of the poor do without AC in the summer. We are nowhere near the poorhouse (thanks to our Dave Ramsey lifestyle) despite our financial setbacks this past year. Yet, I am sure if I told people, they would think we were either close to destitution or that we were nuts.......neither of which is a picture I want people to paint of us. (Ahhhh, the ego has elbowed her way into the musings of "she who doesn't care how other people categorize her").
Since we've gone AC-less, we've gotten two (house) electric bills, both of which have been the smallest ones we've ever had in the history of Ararat Acres. The first one was a shocker at under 125$. The second one, we got yesterday.....under 95$. Normally, with the AC running in our high ceiling-ed house, our house electric bills run 3/400$ per month. Apparently, we have inadvertently stumbled across the proverbial cash cow by allowing ourselves to be a little uncomfortable at times.
Another parallel story enters the picture. As I am sitting at my desk (in the 'its really not that bad' warm night) paying the electric bill.......happily, I might add....since its such a small one......it occurs to me that the amount of money we are saving each month by NOT turning the AC on is nearly the same amount it costs to sponsor a child in need for a whole year. So, for the price of being ultra comfortable cool for one month, some little kiddo could instead have food on the table, clothes on her back, and an education to boot.....for a child who probably has never felt a minute of a blast of cold air in her whole life. I am humbled beyond belief, and grateful for the grace of knowing that at least we have the option of having air conditioning......or not.
How many people are out there that think they have nothing to spare for people who are truly in need? I'm amazed by what I've found serendipitously, and even more amazed by what I can see when I open my eyes.