This is my mom’s Christmas tree. Everything on it, including the tree skirt and angel on the top, she made herself. This is the first year she has decorated since I crossed over. Everyone is very proud of her. Photography by Michelle and Ricky Schill

I have been thinking about why people need to have more of everything. Why do we need to be the ones to have the most material items?

My mom always makes fun of me because in my physical life I would stock up on everything. After I crossed over she ended up with more socks than she knew what to do with. She now wears some of them and will sometimes make sock dolls to sell in her Etsy shop.

Another thing I stocked up on was rubbing alcohol. My mom did not think she was going to need this but she has now gone through almost all of it in 2 1/2 years. She has used this mostly for crafting projects. She also makes her own cosmetics and cleaners so the rubbing alcohol has come in handy.

I also left her with an awful lot of office supplies, which she was happy about because she could use that for her small business.

My mom has often wondered throughout my adult years why I did this. I think that I had a fear of lack. We always lived under the poverty level. Although my mom made sure we had everything we needed, I still knew that we did not live as most of my friends did. I had a lot of anger about this and made sure my mom knew it.

My mom is not a materialistic person so as long my brother and I had what we needed she was fine with that. Anything extra did not seem to bother her. My mom has always been good at living simply and seems to prefer her life this way.

I think that she is happiest when her life is simple. The more stuff you own, the more complicated your life becomes. You need to worry about repairs and replacing things constantly. My mom keeps material items to a minimum so that she does not have these concerns.

What she does need, she usually makes herself. She enjoys making her own cosmetics, cleaners and toiletries. She also draws, crochets and sews so she decorates her home with her handmade items. She also makes her own jam and breads. She does occasionally make her own clothes but usually goes to the resale shop where she finds things that she likes. When my mom can not get something that she wants or needs, she does fine without it. Many times she will put something on her list and then wait to get it. If a coupe of weeks later she still wants or needs it, she will then get it.

These are Christmas presents my mom drew for her two best friends. Art by Michelle Schill

I used to be very embarrassed about these things because most of my friends were rich. I now am very proud of my mother because she knows how to make money last and is very good at providing for herself without relying desperately on industry. I think that should the economy crash to the extent that we need to fend for ourselves, my mom will be perfectly fine. – John

Some of the things my mom made for her home.