Minimalism

Minimizing…

So here we are at the beginning of our minimalism journey.  I have asked myself several times over the course of this week, “what exactly does that mean?”  Which I dare say, (even if it is only to myself) that is a great question!

So what is it?  I will argue, that minimalism is whatever it means to you.  According to the dictionary minimalism is defined as: a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.  Could I possibly ever be like a Buddhist monk living with only the clothes on my back?  No, I don’t think I could.  But who knows maybe one day I will.

Right now what my husband and I are starting off with is simply letting go.  We are letting go of the unnecessary items in our lives.  The items we know we can live without.  Things like the artwork, nic nacs, cookware etc. that have been lurking in the backs of cupboards and closets gathering dust.  Items that have been showcased on the walls, that I have reluctantly (as dusting is my least favorite chore) ran a wet rag over a million times since it was hung there.  Items that have moved to 3 different states and at least 5 different locations (another closet in another home) where it has enjoyed the oh so exciting life of occasionally peering out of the dark as the door is trepidatiously opened, so that none of the other items should jump out and bite the owner in a mad fit of trying to get to the light.  But I digress…

Letting go is the name of the game right now.  We are evaluating.  I believe we are going to find there is a great deal in our lives that we have that we can truly live without.  It’s not painful right now, it’s easy. I don’t expect it to stay that way.  I think eventually we are going to get to items that we have an emotional attachment to for some reason or another.  A thought that I am keeping in mind is that the thing, the item itself does not contain the person, the emotion, the memory, it is merely a physical representation of what I already have in my mind.  I have read about other minimalists who have taken pictures of the object they are attached to so that they can store it digitally and look at whenever they need to.  This is a great idea!

Another thought we are contemplating is using the 333 project idea in regards to our clothing (if you are unfamiliar with this, please click here for more information http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/).  While it is exciting, at the same time, I think I am a bit frightened by it, I don’t think my husband is really that bothered.  My problem is that I’m not exactly a snazzy dresser and I am worrying about things like; what if I pick the wrong 33 items, what if I look like an idiot!  These are probably nonsensical thoughts, but worries in the back of my mind none the less.

There is one thought, however, that keeps repeating in the back of my mind, and that is what I am going to leave you with today.       Less is more!      It is more because having less, leaves you with more.  If I have less things, I have less on my mind, I have less distractions.  But I will have more, more time, more energy, more conversations.

I am looking forward to less so that in our world of constant distractions, noise, pollution…I can have more.  Many blessings.

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Minimalism

New Journey

Here we are again the beginning of a new year.  Almost 2017!  I was reading back through my writings and hadn’t realized how long it had been since I last wrote.  There have been an exorbitant amount of changes that have taken place sine 2013.  It is time to get back into writing and sharing those experiences with you.

I started working on my Master’s degree in the summer of 2013 and am excited to say that I finally finished this month at the tender age of 38.  Everyone has asked me what’s next now that I am done with school?  But that’s not really what they are asking…..the real question is “are you going to leave your job for something that pays better?”

My answer a couple of years ago would have been “yes.”  That used to be what I wanted.  I wanted to be “successful”, I wanted that “American Dream” white picket fence and all.  However, as I have journeyed through this degree, I realized that’s not REALLY what I wanted.  What I really want is to be happy.  I want to bring joy to other peoples lives.  I want to contribute and make the world a better place.  So how do I do that when I would be consumed with a “better paying job?”  I’m not sure, that is a question I am still trying to answer.

The real truth is and the reason I am returning to the blogging world is that I have a New Journey in front of me, and I want to share it with you.  All my crazy ups and downs.  I am hoping somewhere there is someone who is going through the same or similar circumstances and perhaps that you can find my revelations useful if not hilarious at times.

There are some truths that need to be recognized and established at this point in our conversation.  1. I am 38 years old.  I have been married for almost 19 years and have a 18 year old son and 16 year old daughter.  2. I want to make some very significant changes in my life and feel that the I am being led to do so, right now.  3.  I believe in God and am unabashed and unashamed for my beliefs.  4.  I want to share my journey as part of not only my healing but also part of my helping.

I am ready and primed for my changes.  One of these changes is my health.  My husband and I recently started working with a health coach.  We are looking at our lifestyle and food choices and learning where we can make significant improvements. As we have just begun this path, there isn’t much to say right now, but I will be discussing my journey here in future posts.

The other change we are making that goes along with our health is our lifestyle.  We have for several years discussed the “tiny house” movement and “minimalism” and the likes. It has been a long talk of, you know we really should consider this some day, maybe when the kids are out of the house, sort of thing.  But we are ready now, and are making progress towards that goal.

“Minimalism: A documentary about the important things” a film by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus came out on Netflix on the 16th of December.  Over the course of the weekend I watched the move 5 times!  Yes, I said 5 times!  I found the message so profound and yet so simple that it seemed to just sink deeper within every fiber of my being each time I viewed the documentary.  I was so intrigued with these two young men and the insight they possessed, I was just absolutely glued.  I have since subscribed to their newsletter and have downloaded their latest book Everything That Remains and read the entire thing in one day (I am a slow reader and get bored easily, all of this should tell you it is a great read!).  I highly recommend checking out their website http://www.theminimalists.com/ where information about the film as well as as a free e-book download can be found.

My husband and I began purging our “stuff” yesterday.  I don’t expect this to be an overnight fix, after all my husband and I didn’t accumulate all of this stuff overnight. But already just the thought of getting rid of the clutter and chaos is freeing.  I found this to be a strange sensation and asked my husband earlier today if he felt the same way, he does.  Just the idea of unloading all this baggage from my mind is amazing.

So here it is, honest, raw, real….We are middle aged (that hurts to admit) and we are overweight, unhealthy, and stifled by our accumulations and debt, basically we are average Americans.  Please follow me here for the New Journey, where we hopefully will learn how to live with less, both of our stuff and ourselves. Many blessings.

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New Year New Who?

So 2012 is over and done with and now we ring in 2013.  What does that mean for me?  What does that mean for you?

For me it has been a time of reflection.  A time to look back on the good and bad of the last year.  A time for me to decide what to do with the decisions I have made and where to go from here. 

Resolutions…..seems like everyone is making them.  I have decided that resolutions do not work.  We all make those promises to ourselves that we will do more exercise, eat better, spend more time with the family, but then after 2 to 3 weeks of a very concentrated effort we fall off the wagon, promising next week we will do better.  Unfortunately next week never comes.  So this year, I resolved (LOL) not to do resolutions, but to make goals.  I am going to set myself up this year with a very graduated and methodical plan.  Keeping in mind that there are markers that need to be met, these must be a challenge but attainable at the same time.  If you set your goals to high, you are destine to fail as you will never be able to reach them. 

Goals this year are important.  My particular goals include being healthier, by making healthier decisions, including physical activity in my daily routine.  I also have goals of learning a foreign language, and working in my garden more.

What are your goals this year?  What benchmarks have you set for yourself?  What do you think of resolutions?  Just a few questions you may want to ask yourself.

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WooHoo Babies!!!!

This weekend has been an amazingly productive time.  We have been working diligently on household projects and catching up on projects that had been lost in the fray.

We purchased a load of flat rock yesterday that we will be using to create a fire ring and pathways to our backdoor.  I am hoping to intermingle the pathway with Spanish moss or perhaps creeping flox, haven’t quite decided just yet.  The children were great helps today as we had to go and load the rock we purchased, bring it home and unload it again.  They were great assistants and really worked hard.

The most exciting thing that happened this weekend, was seeing my babies!!  Last weekend I planted my starter seeds.  This weekend I already have seedlings.  I was so very excited to see all my tomatoes, leeks, onions popping up looking for more sunshine.  Next should be the peppers and celery.  Can’t wait to see them.  Baby plants are awesome! I am truly looking forward to seeing the thought of making a garden, growing it and watching it flourish come to fruition.

Simple things are usually the best and being able to start my own plants from seed is a wonderful feeling!!!!

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Good Friends and Great Times

Good friends and great times, how that phrase has changed over the years!

When I was younger, late teens early adult hood, good friends and great times meant parties, booze, loud music, very strange philosophical conversations and passing out on a friends floor, but always make sure your not the first!

As I have grown older, had children, matured, learned what life was really about that phrase still holds true, but the meaning behind it has changed.

Good friends have become just that.  Now in my mid 30’s I have some of the most amazing friends in the world.  They are true friends not fly by night friends who are only there as long as you have something to offer them, but honest to goodness see you through the thick and thin friends.  They are here to give me the shirt off their back if I need it, to wipe the blood from my face after the toughest fight in my life.  To be a shoulder to cry on when I think I just cannot take anymore and to help pick me up when I no longer can.  The great thing is, I am here to do the same for them!  

Great times has evolved in its own right as well. Years ago it meant being insane and doing some rather stupid things.  With age I have realized that is not what I was really looking for, mostly I just wanted acceptance.  I have come to realize acceptance is not about trying to push my way into peoples lives by being something I am not, but being accepted by those who truly care for me and like me just the way I am.  Today great times can mean anything from a movie night with the family or sitting around the campfire enjoying each others company.  

Great times are just that, GREAT!!!  It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing as long as we are with those who care about us.  Those dyed in the wool, honest to goodness people who will be with you through thick and thin.  Great times are always there to be found and good friends are always ready to share it with you!

                                                                                                 

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Unexpected Guests and Campfires

 

This week has been busy as most weeks are.  However, sometimes its nice to sit back relax and enjoy the life that has been given to me.  I had the opportunity to do just that this week and am incredibly grateful.

While going crazy at my new job and trying to stay on top of all the tasks that have been given me, I get an unexpected phone call from my husbands’ grandparents.  They said, hey were are in your area be there in a couple of hours.

Now you have to understand I am at my new job, attempting to keep up and making sure things get done.  Now I have this major distraction to my afternoon and am finding it hard to concentrate.  To be honest my first thought was “Oh Crap” the house looks like straight line winds have laid waste to my living room, I haven’t done laundry and with as great as housekeepers my children are, I seem to remember seeing a trail of laundry leading out of the bathroom down the hall and around the corner this morning (which I am sure must have been the cats fault).

So while pondering all the grievous errors my housekeeping skills will be displaying this evening I remember that my husband was working that evening, so I called him and said I know its short notice but can you find someone who can take your place.  Luckily he has some awesome people he works with and someone came up to bat for him.

After work upon my arrival lo and behold they are already here.  At this point I am hoping against hope they have overlooked all the horrendous things (you never know which closet has the monsters in it and lets not even discuss the cat) in my home and the utter chaos that everything seems to be in.  THEN IT HITS ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS!!!  We haven’t had the opportunity to see his Grandparents in over 2 years!!!

Well thank you and hello guilt trip.  What was I thinking, Holy Cow, here I am worrying over my laundry when I should be enjoying their company and relishing this drop in visit as we live in Kentucky and his grandparents live in Wisconsin…….2 years!!!  Ok..ok so now I am feeling foolish, and am really trying to just enjoy the conversation and company that we have.  We decided to go out for dinner at one of our local eateries of which they treated us to dinner.  What an amazing time we had!  Really honestly had a great conversation and a really good time.  While their stay was short only about 3 hours or so, I enjoyed every minute!

After dinner they had to get back on the road as they were on their way home from a Florida visit.  We were sad to see them go, but grateful they gave us the opportunity to visit.

Just when I thought the evening was already going amazing…..the sunset was breathtaking.  It was beautiful weather, just cool enough to wear a sweatshirt.  This spring evening made me take a step back and really look at what is important in my life.

My husband and I decided building a campfire was an excellent idea.  For the next two hours we sat outside on our porch swing, warming by the fire, enjoying the great outdoors, listening to all of the frogs (a favorite creature of mine) croak in the pond behind our house, enjoying the simpler things in life.

It is the simpler things in life that truly make it worth living.  When it is all said and done it matters not how much you have, what your home looked like……but the impact you made on others lives.

So the next time I get an unexpected phone call saying we are dropping in, I am not going to care what my house looks like, but am going to enjoy the time given to me to enjoy the company of others and all the amazing things in my life.  Laundry be damned!

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Simpler Times = Hard Work

 

Today it hit me!  Spring is on its way, and I am totally unprepared for what lies ahead.

We decided to do a completely organic garden this year.  I am super excited and looking forward to the bountiful harvest.  Hopefully we will have one.  I have not grown a garden in many years myself, and nothing as large as what we are planning for this year.  There are 3 families going in together to grow this amazing thing.  The men have been working hard to finish fixing the deer fence and getting it electrified to keep out all of the lovely creatures that would eat our food.  The garden shed is shaping up nicely, as well as the chicken coop.

My husband thinks I am crazy to want to have chickens, but for some reason I feel drawn to them.  I like the idea of being self sufficient and not having to rely on other people to feed my family.  I am loving the idea too that we are making it somewhat like a community garden, where we are all going to share in the labor, a labor of love.

Ever since I was a little girl, I admired those who could take care of themselves. Those pioneering families who literally took the road less traveled and set off to worlds unknown looking for something better, somewhere where they could live in peace.  This is just a romanticized version of what they had to deal with, this I understand.  It was and is hard work, toiling day in and day out, depending on no one but yourselves.  I think though they must have had felt some sort of great satisfaction.  A satisfaction in knowing even against the odds they could do it.  Even facing all of the dangers they must have faced, head on into the wind, they somehow survived, somehow made it through to do it again.  What an amazing feeling this must have been.

I feel our society suffers greatly with the plague of ease.  Our children today have no work ethics, they have no understanding of what it means to put in effort and reap the rewards of their own blood, sweat and tears.  Our society has become complacent and they hold too, to the feeling of entitlement.   Where did our society go wrong to think that things should just be given to them, that they didn’t have to put in their time and effort to reap the rewards.  What happened to that satisfactory feeling of knowing that “I made that” the accomplishment?

While I realize that I am still very young and have a great deal to learn, I feel like I have learned so much already and wish to share that knowledge with my children.  I have been called a mean mom for not giving my kids everything they want, and for denying them candy bars at the check out line when they acted up in the store.  How dare I punish my children by withholding that very thing they want most!!  Lord have mercy I am getting up on my soap box!

The children have been fairly warned that gardening this year will be a part of their chores.  My husband and I feel that if they are going to eat the food they should partake in raising it.  Is this mean?  I don’t think so.  This year is going to be a learning experience.  It will be a way of working together as family and as friends.  Learning how to deal with each others differences, of enjoying the fruits of our labors, of creating something great from something very small.  I look forward to this growing season, both literally and spiritually.