Learning Joy in Simplicity

Friday, April 28, 2017

There's been a theme in our lives these past few weeks: What do we really need? Whether we are looking at what's really necessary in keeping the garden going, how many rainy days we are counting on, how little of my closet I actually wear, what food we actually eat that we bring home from the grocery store.... What is really the most valuable? That's what we need to keep.
I seem to get flustered, overwhelmed easily. So I compartmentalize and take things one step at a time. I put on this fa├žade that everything is going alright, meanwhile, I make ten different lists and lose them umpteenth times and never know what I really should be doing. It's a big reason why I haven't written much lately. It's a big reason why we are here where we are right now. Other than knowing this is where we are meant to be, that "trait," if you will, of mine caused us to get here in a way we didn't really plan on.
So we streamline. We move into a tiny home. And over the past 4 months we've learned what's really necessary. What are we doing that we shouldn't be, things that are killing our joy? What should we be doing, things which are life-giving, give us meaning and passion?
Well... things.... we don't need these "things." That's a big part of this process. I have learned that living tiny resonates so much more with a happy, abundant life, than living in a 1600 square foot house (Still a "small" house, relatively speaking in the U.S.) Why? It causes you to purge, to get rid of stuff. Or at least, out of sight, out of mind, for the time being, as everything is in boxes in our garage. We've lived without it for four months, we probably never needed it in the first place.
So we simplify. This past week I have taken who know how many items out of my closet because I never get around to wearing what I have. We are creatures of habit, after all. I wear the same shirts, skirts, pants, week after week. And nobody really cares if you wear the same shirt two days in a row.. Right?! Simplifying my closet is one step. I'm thinking about a capsule wardrobe to continue to streamline the clothes... We will see...

Taylor saying "hi" to the flowers in his own garden

Taylor pulled a radish from the big garden
to see how it was doing!
Rows of beans! (Ignore those weeds. It's a process)
Another step is to not fuss over trying to get into even more debt getting the newest tractor on the line with the best implements - RIGHT AWAY- so that we can from the get-go feel on top of this whole farming thing. And I say that, but it's so much more than that. We can't right now, and we don't need to. We are learning a simpler way of doing things, and sometimes it seems like it's all for naught. And then on a day like yesterday, Taylor pulls out a baby radish, a baby carrot, we see a green tomato growing on the vine, and it's still growing. The abundant rains we've gotten lately, the sunshine... this first season on our farm is still going to come. It just looks a little different than we'd like. But then again, that will likely always be the case. Although it would help, we don't need the fancy machinery right now, we just need to rent a tiller for a day, and use some good old tools by hand... And now as I look out on our quite large patch, I think I have a deeper appreciation for what's there, rather than the slim satisfaction you'd get if a machine did it for you. There's so much joy in that.
Speaking of machines, our laundry routine is different. And I am actually loving it. I find joy in washing our clothes and Taylor's diapers in the tub, rinsing and swishing the soap, doing laundry the way it was done decades ago, because there was no other option. Getting clothes down from the line is therapeutic. Even hanging them up is. And Taylor loves those clothespins as much as I do, as he pulls them apart when they fall every so often..
We've learned to find joy in doing things just a little bit different than one would expect, maybe different from everyone else. Maybe it just comes when you do laundry this way, look at your closet that way, clean the garden another way, for over time and you don't see a need for the "conventional" way of doing things. Even though this may take more time and is more hands-on, there is more joy that comes in the work and the end result. There is so much freedom that comes when you are not attached to a washing machine to do all the work for you, as you know more of what it takes to get your clothes clean, and you appreciate the clean clothes that much more. (It also leads to purging your closet, leaving less clothes to clean!)
Taylor reading his books. Another part of this
whole thing: Taylor has more books than toys,
or anything else for that matter. Stick to what's
Living with a little less space and stuff is freeing. It's just a bit simpler, but it's a good bit, too. I am much happier in our tiny house than we were in a 1600 square foot house. Maybe part of that is because we are closer to town and we are on our property -- I don't have to drive 25 minutes to the store anymore, it's just around the corner. But a bigger part of that is because we are happy with less. We don't need more things. We need to get rid of more things. I've found so much joy in getting rid of things lately. Every time I take a bag or box of stuff into the "sale/donate" side of the garage lately I breathe a little easier. Every time I look in the closet and see a couple dozen more empty hangers I smile! It's really freeing having less clutter and less things biding your time and resources.
And once you start, it's hard to stop... Simplifying your life in turn gives you your life back. Things no longer rule you. It's really an incredible concept. You don't need a bigger house to be happy, you need less stuff. There is so much JOY found in simplicity (even as a process). Isn't that incredible to think about?!!

Crafting the Life We Want

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I've been a little bit taken by quotes lately. In fact, I have loved searching for ones that resonate so much, that I've attached them to pictures I've taken of our travels over the past 5 and a half years and shared them with those who follow this little blog on my Facebook page for it. I know it may not mean much to somebody else, but I sure thought these words were enough to share with others. And here is something else I found that I'd like to expound upon, as it pertains to everything we are doing here on our land: tiny living, owning property, starting a farm --- all of that. Here it goes.

The first step in crafting a life you want is to get rid of everything you don't. Joshua Becker

Did you get that? A life that you want? Not just tolerate, not just go through the motions... But what you've dreamed of? It's simple. Give up some things. (Keeping your faith + morals in check)

To us, most recently, this means downsizing. We went from 1600 square feet to 288 square feet at the new year. We have a garage full of stuff I am tired of looking at.... If we don't come up with a yard sale by the summer, I think I'll just haul it off already! It's just stuff. This is a big part of it... Getting rid of stuff we don't want.

Another part of this is to "get rid of" the house we didn't want. We loved the house we moved from, but it was time to move on, if you get what I mean. We tried for a while to sell it, then we tried for a while to rent it... And at the last possible minute, we have renters. So it's not "gotten rid of" quite yet, but in theory, it is. We have moved out, found a way to cover that mortgage, and moved forward. We are getting rid of "stuff" we don't want.

This part is kind of touchy. We have been getting rid of things financially that we don't want. It comes in time, but it comes in various forms: medical bills, taxes, credit cards, various cancellation fees... The house is also a part of this, because now we have rent to cover it. But in all honesty, we have been slowly going through things financially to get where we need to be. And it takes sweet time. But we have gotten rid of (or currently are ridding of) expensive phone service, poor internet service, broken healthcare coverage, tax surprises.... You get the picture. Step by step.

Getting rid of things feels freeing. Every time I call in a bill, it's one less thing to think on. It frees some mental space. Every time I sell an item, it's one less (little) thing crowding our garage. It feels so good! It really does. Getting rid of stuff in your life you don't want.... It just makes sense. Why wouldn't you?

I know why I wouldn't, at times. I just feel stuck. But becoming unglued is the only way to move forward and create the life you want and need. Keep listening here.

It took some sweet time of conversation, convincing, blaming, excuses, and maybe even dumb luck to take that first leap into creating the farm on our land. We didn't really prepare anything. Not like that list of first steps I shared, at least. Well, a bit of it was done. The fence was built. The tractor was fixed. The pasture was mowed. The soil was tilled. But some things we didn't do....We didn't get a soil sample or add any nutrients in, we didn't use the well, we didn't order seeds (we bought them locally).... and we're not quite sure about preparing for markets yet, either, which start here in a couple of weeks. Gulp.

But we did it. We took the first big step, and it looked different than we thought, but we did it. We are crafting the life we want. Starting the farm ever so slowly (but is it smart to jump in like this? that's another story, ha!), living tiny and getting rid of stuff, moving onto our property and feeling more a part of the community. We are crafting! Is that a thing?

Well yes, yes it is. Crafting the life you want is about taking those first steps toward what that looks like... Less time chasing things, more time spent with your people. Maybe you need to switch your cell service, get rid of the TV, move into a camper, move cross-country, find a new job, chase that dream somehow, some way...  Learning about what truly matters in this life....

Taking that first scary step into creating (or crafting) the life you are looking forward to and want and need and love and feel at peace with is so, so, so worth it.
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