Heidi Harris Show Podcast #163: Is minimalism becoming the new religion?

Lately I’ve been reading books and watching lots of videos about “minimalism”, and the freedom that comes from “decluttering”. I watch those videos for inspiration while I clean out closets and drawers. It’s always a good idea to move things out when they no longer fit you, or you will no longer use them, and I’ve been blessing people with tons of my stuff lately. Friends, thrift stores, you name it. I want it GONE.

But does minimalism really make you HAPPY? Not really. You might feel more organized, and I know I like the way my house looks better than it did 6 months ago, but did I find Happiness? Contentment? Uh, no….

I honestly think the minimalist movement is becoming the new religion for some people. “Downsize, toss, donate! You’ll find HAPPINESS!” Wow, is that all it takes?

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #162: Ralph Peters on his new book and fake news in the Civil War

Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters has penned another great book, “Darkness at Chancellorsville”. Ralph has won numerous awards for his writing, and he joined me to talk about the latest book, how “fake news” was prevalent even during the Civil War, and whether Lincoln or Trump had a tougher go as President.

Heidi Harris Show podcast #161: It’s okay for Evangelicals to support Trump. Really.

Yes, it’s okay to be a Trump supporter and not lose your testimony as an evangelical, as some have warned. I have been talking about this for two years, assuring people that a vote for Trump wasn’t a vote for adultery or undisciplined tweets. Rulers are always imperfect. That doesn’t mean they can’t be effective and make good decisions.

In a great column from Chris Buskirk, from American Greatness, he reminds us that all rulers are flawed. I still don’t understand the “Never Trumpers”. What WAS their plan??? Even someone they might admire would ultimately let them down, and THEN where would they be?

When you cannot accept the fact that a flawed person can do good, you are saying that a person with fewer flaws could do better. Really? Open the Bible, pick a chapter….plenty of flawed people were at times better rulers than other, more genteel people. Putting trust in a person you view to have more character is as flawed an argument a hating everything Trump does.

What I live without when times are tough

A  friend recently asked me how my husband and I have coped when I’ve been unexpectedly unemployed over the last couple of years. If you’ve followed my career, you know that it’s been a roller coaster at times. No worries; I’ve never missed a meal. God always makes sure we survive. Spiritually, I never worry about being employed, because God is in charge of my life, and my identity has never come from being a broadcaster. 

But anyone can fall on hard times, and God doesn’t make you stupid, so you have to adjust your lifestyle to fit the changing circumstances. Here are a few things I do when things get tight that you might find interesting.

Dinners out/socializing with friends

Sadly, tough times often hurt your social life. I don’t like entertaining at home. I just don’t. I like being able to leave after a certain amount of time, and I don’t want to have to spend half a day cleaning and THEN trying to plan a meal, when I don’t even cook! So that part would fall on my husband, and I hate to do that to him, even though he enjoys cooking. So that brings us back to going OUT to eat with people. I do far less of that when things are tight. You don’t want them to let them pay, and you certainly don’t want to go dutch and sound like a cheapie, and let’s face it – two people can’t have lunch at Chili’s for less than $40, so that’s one thing I totally stop doing during the tough times.

Instead of dropping $100 on dinner, my husband and I will sometimes go to a place like Downtown Summerlin with our dog, and just walk around. We can grab a couple of slices of pizza and call it a night. That’s an enjoyable evening for us. I’d much rather do that than stand on some silly Red Carpet somewhere. 

Going to shows or out to see friends play music.

Same as above. I don’t need to tell you what show tickets cost! And although we’re not big drinkers, you can’t sit in a lounge and not order anything, and even one or two drinks can add up quickly. You can buy a BOTTLE of wine at the store for what one glass will cost you on The Strip. And let’s not even TALK about parking fees!

And of course we don’t play slot machines or go to expensive new movies. It’s just not that important to us to see THAT movie THIS year. We can wait. Besides, if it’s non-fiction, I’ve probably already read the book. 

Bar soap

This sounds silly, but for me it’s been a BIG change. I’ve been a “body wash” gal for as long as I can remember. Even if you buy the cheaper stuff, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s cheaper to use bar soap. So I switched to bar soap for the most part, and use the body wash mainly as bubble bath. 

Mindless shopping

There are certain stores that don’t have anything in them that you actually NEED. Pier 1 comes to mind, Cost Plus and Bed, Bath and Beyond, to name a few. Stores that sell overpriced “homeware” that you’ll be giving away in a few years…There’s nothing wrong with those places, but when times are tough, I don’t even LOOK. Furniture stores fall into that category, too. You might WANT a new couch, but if you can’t afford it, why torture yourself? 

I don’t wander around makeup stores or places where I’m likely to buy something I may never use. You know you’re going to spend too much in that environment! If you want new products, research them online and purchase them online, and then you’ll be less likely to come home with 42 lipsticks you hate from that “quick trip” to Sephora. 

Cable TV

That gets a big DUH! We dumped it years ago, and I recently dumped Sirius XM, because I got tired of spending an hour on the phone with them every year, trying to negotiate the price. We find tons of interesting things to watch for FREE on YouTube. Yes, we have internet at home. We have to, for my job, but that doesn’t mean we need all the extra packages. 

I also pay for virtually NO subscriptions to websites or magazines, etc. Five dollars here, ten dollars there, and the next thing you know, you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on that stuff! There are a few things I have to pay for due to my job, but the luxury items are out. And do you really have TIME for all those things you’re paying for? I don’t. 

We do our own maintenance

I can’t highlight my own hair, but I do groom all my dogs, including two poodles, and have done my own nails since I was 20. I have saved thousands of dollars doing both of those things. Even if you have gel nails or what we used to call “sculptured” nails, you can learn to do it yourself! I did, even back then, and now there are Youtube videos to teach you how. And I’d rather do my own nails while I watch a movie or something inspirational than to have to make small talk with someone at a salon. And I can do them on MY schedule. 

My husband does all our car maintenance and mows our lawn, too! Just last week a hose blew in my car. Hubby had it fixed in a jiffy. That would have cost me $500 if I’d taken it to a shop! 

We both drive old cars, mainly because hubby keeps them running so well, and also because we don’t either one need fancy cars for our jobs. Nor do we feel the need to impress people or keep up with the Joneses with our vehicles. If we were in real estate or something, we might need to “look successful” with a fancy car, but luckily we don’t have to worry about that!  

Don’t pay for storage!!!

Clean out that storage unit that is eating your money every month. You might find things you’ve forgotten about. That goes for garages, too. Toss, donate or sell it! Recently I was cleaning out my office and found an extra power cord extender for my computer that I’d forgotten about! And I was going to BUY one! 

Go through your closet and take inventory

If you really go through your clothes, KonMari method or not, you’d be surprised at what you have. You may have forgotten about those jeans, or dress pants, or that little black dress. I was recently organizing bookshelves, and realized I had two copies of “Democracy in America”. If you know what you already have, you’re less likely to buy a duplicate. 

Repair things instead of replacing them! 

I have finally gotten to the point of only buying comfortable shoes, even if they cost more. And of course I buy fewer of them. When good ones break a strap or something you can usually get them repaired. For example, I had a pair of very good quality “riding” style boots that I loved, and one heel got worn down. I held onto them, and when I could afford it, I got them fixed for less than $40! When you already like something and it fits, it’s often worth repairing. 

Bless friends with your stuff! 

At my church we are always passing things around. We’ll put things on the church Facebook page to see if anyone wants it, before donating it. The ladies in my church also have “clothing swaps” a couple of times a year. We all bring in clothes we no longer want or need, (or can no longer get into), and have at it. The leftovers are donated. I’d much rather give furniture, clothes or anything else to someone I like than to try to make $5 on Ebay! 

Shop wisely for groceries 

Entire books have been written about this. My husband does most of the shopping for us, because he likes it and he’s good at it. You can save a lot of money at places like Sam’s Club and COSTCO if you’re not an impulse shopper. But if you’re the type who goes in to save a buck on toilet paper and arrives home with a flat screen and a new recliner, don’t bother.

When times are tough, you might not be grilling ribeyes, and instead you’re eating sandwiches. But you’re still EATING. Make a list of the basics, things your family needs every week, and stick to it until times get better. 

Bottom line: Most of what we Americans consider “needs” are really just “wants”. If we’re honest, our needs are more than met in our great country. Oprah once said,”If you’re not satisfied with what you have, you won’t be satisfied with more.” Sounds funny to hear a billionaire say it, but she’s right. At her level, people probably whine because someone else has more houses or planes than they do…It’s always a matter of perspective. 

Appreciate what you have, enjoy the perks when they come, and adjust when it’s time to tighten your belt. Never base your happiness on anything that can be taken from you in an instant. 

Heidi Harris

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #159: Are some churches “welcoming” people by “affirming” sin?

Sure, all of us are sinners, and we all fall short. That’s why we needed a Savior. But some churches now call themselves “welcoming and affirming”. It’s one thing to “welcome” someone into a relationship with Christ, as He did to many during his lifetime, including the thief on the cross, whose sins were widely known. (Luke 23:40-43)

What Jesus didn’t do was tell the guy that anything he’d done in the past was fine by him. There are rules, there is sin, and we all commit them. For any church to “affirm” people by basically saying that any lifestyle is welcome is WRONG.

If you show up at church with your girlfriend when you’re married, is that okay? Not in my church. Should the church gossip get up and talk about everyone from the pulpit? Why not? The Bible calls many things “sin”, although most of them don’t involve sex, because God knows what will or will not make us happy and make society better. Treating the poor well, not cheating on your spouse, not screwing others over in business…just a few of the things God frowns upon. Oh yeah, and gay relationships aren’t okay, either.

God’s job isn’t to “make us happy”. He didn’t create us so we could do whatever we want to, and follow every lust. Our job is to make HIM happy. To deny ourselves (and our basic inclinations) and follow HIM is the goal. (Luke 9:23)

To tell people that any category of sin is fine is WRONG, and does a disservice to seekers of Christ. Pastors will be held accountable for misleading their flock.

Does anyone who voted for Trump care about his tax returns?

Is anyone surprised at this? The left has again brought us breaking news: that many “rich” people aren’t really that rich, or don’t really have that much liquid cash, when you look below the surface.

How do you define “billionaire”? That you control an empire and assets worth a billion, but might not have much actual cash flow? He might well be, if everything were to be sold off.

I’m no tax expert, but I know many businesses manipulate the numbers and operate with a certain amount of “losses” to avoid pay more taxes than they should. I’d love to see the tax returns of half of Hollywood or Washington DC. For many so-called wealthy people, there’s a lot of bulls**t and bluster.

Once again, will this change any minds? I think not. As always, the people who hate him will say, “I told you so!”, and the ones who love him will hold their hands over their heads and go, “la la la”!

Heidi Harris

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #161: Parents using smartphones to escape kids’ behavior

Studies show that parents use smartphone to escape their kids’ bad behavior, and it only leads to more problems. Did anyone need a study to verify that?

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #160: Common sense judge upholds gun rights in California

It’s rare to see common sense emanating from the bench these days, especially in California. However, in refusing to uphold the “high capacity magazine” ban in California, Judge Roger Benitez made some great points. The judge focused on the hundreds of thousands of victims of real crimes who need the ability to defend themselves, instead of focusing on the very rare mass shootings. The gun grabbers aren’t happy. Boo hoo.

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #158: Press ignores trans aspect of suicide attempt

A young man’s post about the cost of attempted suicide went viral, but most press outlets ignore the fact that he’s a transgender. Their rates of suicide and suicide attempts are through the roof. While not knowing whether that was the cause of his attempt, we still need to consider it as a factor, and not conveniently “ignore” it because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

Heidi Harris Show Podcast #157: Mayor Pete and intolerance

“Mayor Pete” as he calls himself, wants to be our next President, but so far his qualifications are “I’m gay and I hate Mike Pence”. An attack on Mike Pence, who never says ANYTHING bad about anyone, is an attack on ALL Christians. Pete clearly has a problem with someone else’s BELIEFS, and that is scary.