Dear Internet,

110966-internet-woes-and-life-goalsI hope you’re well, but we need to chat. I feel like we have such a volatile relationship. Some days I hate you, sometimes I think you’re the toxic poison seeping in and ruining all aspects of my life, some days I need you more than anything else and some days I just flat out can’t help but spend all of my waking hours just rolling from page to page without any sense of control (or regret).

As much as I feel like taking the inspiration of Esther Emery’s ‘Year Without the Internet’ (blog β€’ book), I don’t think it would work. But I also am interested in going TV free in our home… as I sit here typing and watching Netflix on my large screen TV….

Internet, I’m in a bit of an unsteady time.

I crave nothing more than a closeness with my husband and kids, screen free and meaningful. I crave a stillness between my heart and God, a pure, distraction free connection. I crave nature, fresh mountain air, paperback books, scratch made everything. I crave realness. Truth. Connection. Meaning.

But…. I also crave creativity. Sharing. Learning. Community that I can take in and be a part of when it’s convenient. I know that everyone havingΒ  relationships and community strictly thru a screen is causing damage to our system and being, but- for a homeschooling mom of 3, girl boss, generally crazed and run ragged… being able to take some connectivity in the slots that I have open are my option.

I want to spend more time here, blogging, sharing, connecting with like minded folk. I love that I’ve created a business that is successful and provides for my family… but it no longer is meeting everything for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thankful- my bride’s are AMAZING and I just couldn’t be happier with the way our story continues to play out. But the road that living in your business leads to just isn’t a path I’m interested in. I don’t believe in it.

I believe in “retiring” young to live a life worth living. I believe in staying far away from the American dream/rat race. I believe in Biblical focus. I believe in pure, natural living. I believe in self sustainability. In community. In support. In not buying into the ‘who’s the most popular’, ‘who’s getting more recognition on social media’ game that consumes so many.

I know you have to bear with me as I tend to ramble and get off track, but this is my letter to you. I want to engage more with your world wide structure, but in a meaningful way. A way that can actually connect me to the true passion/drive vs. eating up my life with obsession and negativity. I want to share our journey, my story, my insight… not because I think any of it is better than anyone else or that it’s anything special… but because it’s fun to share and connect with others.

So here we are. You and me, Internet. I hope that this collection of my ramblings, stories and $0.02 may one day, possibly, lead to something fulfilling and exciting. Until then, it’s me and you and I’ll continue to use it as a place for my passions and interests with the hope of connecting to others of the same. Thank you for that, what a world we live in huh?

Yours truly,

Heidi, a fellow millennial

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Want to retire young?

keep-calm-and-retire-young-2.pngI do. Heck, some months I think I’m half way there already. I feel like some people judge me that I just want to be lazy, some people picture us as being overly successful and rolling in the moolah, and others just chuckle at how our immature brains could think that is an option.

Let’s say this- retiring isn’t quitting work, it’s quitting mandatory work.Β  I do not have any sum of money worth bragging about, and you’d laugh if you saw my savings account, last point- go ahead and laugh at my ‘silly idea’. In case you don’t know this– I THRIVE off people doubting us. 😈 #truestory

Being fed the story that we have to work for someone until we’re in our 60’s or 70’s to be able to take out last few ‘golden years’ off is ridiculous. If you’re drinking that water- and buying it, I’m sorry. And please stop. YOU control what YOU choose to do. Prayer always, but you hold the ability to make each and every day what it is.

I am turning 30 this December, and I am actively working on my retirement. I don’t call it that necessarily, we call it “our future”, “life worth living”, “the gift of the present”. Follow my thought train if you will–

Why do we work? Ok, we work to pay bills, buy food, pay off debt, have money to go do fun things, buy stuff we want, to live. That’s probably the majority of where all working man money goes, right?

So what if we get to the heart of those things– what if you didn’t have bills? (or had very few) What if we were more self sustainable? What if our home and vehicle were paid for? What if we realized the act of accumulating stuff doesn’t bring true happiness?

If we handled some of those things, then would you have to work? Or work as much as you do today? If you only required even a few hundred bucks a month, a few thousand a year, to live off of- what could you do with all the other time? Working is essentially an employer purchasing your time- what if your time was yours again?

I don’t have a set time frame- God will lead that path, but I’m actively working on my retirement. My plan isn’t as fancy and detailed as a financial advisor would create (and I used to be one of those, created many retirement plans, this is different), but it works. And I think it sure as hell beats being in my 60’s and 70’s counting down for time to be my own again.

Retirement Plan:

Don’t accumulate debt. We have a little now, DO NOT ADD TO IT. No credit cards, no loans, nothin’! Pay it off however you prefer- Snowball Effect, let it sit for 7 years, call up each creditor and haggle a low amount pay off. Your call. But do NOT add to it.

Keep working our hustle like there’s no tomorrow- we’ve got 4 main focuses in our plan as of today and we’re going for it.

Keep expenses down starting now. The more you realize that you being marketed to 24/7 in a giant game of every company taking your last dollar… the easier it is to just say no. Stop hemorrhaging cash now, look at your expenses and cut out what’s just unnecessary.

Pay off & own out right as much as you can. Lose car payments and anything else! I can’t wait to own our car outright- and even then, when we had to buy a car we went with a well cared for used car that cost us a fraction of what most end up paying. We will have paid less for our gorgeous, pristine condition Mercedes SUV than we did when we bought our first/only brand new car– a Kia sedan. True story- who’s the one getting played now?

990a88b587e5757dc64f867f50a5f2e0Buy a chunk of land and build a simple home. We are looking for a remote lot, full of nature, and surrounded by God’s creation. As far as the home- I want something we can build using alternative building materials. Think straw bale, cobb, shipping containers, etc… Cost effective and manageable with our skills (none), ability to learn and bribe helpers. πŸ˜„

Continue to up our self sustainability! Grow our own food, buy in bulk, reduce, reuse, recycle. The less we have to depend on the stores and companies, the less we have to pay for. Put in the work up front, reap the rewards. Solar power, your own water source, self sustainability is a lost art. And addictive in the pursuit to reclaim.

Enjoy your time. We don’t know how much of it we’ll get- why waste it? Why do I want to set myself up for a life where I control my time each day? Because I want to be with my kids, I want to have fun, explore, travel, work alongside my husband, volunteer with orphanages in poor countries, lay in a hammock and nap on a hot afternoon, learn to do macrame, grow old and play with my grandbabies all day, to raise our own farm animals and grow our own garden foods. I want my time to be mine. And that is worth the work to set it up, and that is why waiting for someone to give me the ‘go ahead’ just won’t do.

There’s a million stories of those retiring young and pursuing life- you could sit back and count a million reasons why that couldn’t ever be you- or you could throw your arms up and say “Just do it!”

Gotta go back… back… back to schoooool…. AGAIN.

Is it just me that breaks into song thinking the words “back to school”?

Probably… but that’s ok. You should have seen it when Grease went to theater’s– best sing-a-long performance! Man… πŸ˜… πŸ˜… πŸ˜…

Homeschool, much different than Rydell High, for us this year is set. Good to go. It took me one afternoon to prepare. This is a record folks!

Kids being schooled: a 6th grader (age 12 next month), a 1st grader (age 6 here soon) and a tag-a-long 3 1/2 year old

Curriculum: a Bible. This one in fact: ESV Bible on Amazon

Back to school shopping list: 2 Bibles (one for 12 year old, one for mom/dad), 4 notebooks (each kid & mom), pack of highlighters, pack of pencils (to be kept up in a closet, in a box, guarded. Otherwise… they all disappear! 😀)

Total Back to School/Homeschool bill: Less than $25. πŸ’ͺ Yes please.

Plan:

By 10 AM -ish (we wake up slow), Spend 15 minutes in silence. Pray, listen for God, listen to the birds, whatever. 15 minutes of silence. Added bonus: daily practice of self control. πŸ‘

Read the Bible, starting in Genesis. No set time, until we’ve reached a good spot or kids seats are too wiggly. We will watch What’s in the Bible to correlate with our reading.

Journal any special verses that stood out, thoughts we may have or questions of things we don’t understand. A few moments for mom & the oldest to write some thoughts and I’m thinking I’ll provide one of the verses for the 6 year old to copy write.

We will have a page in our journal that we can all add prayer requests to. People we know, people/things we’re thinking about, and we’ll close out time with a family prayer for these things.

The rest of our ‘school’ day? Service.

Taking the wise council of things like Dr. Raymond Moore, the ways of the Amish, books like Cleaning House & that ol’ Bible- the rest of the day will be spent enjoying the gift of the present and serving those around us.

We started this month with the importance of clean rooms & good hygiene. Setting a morning and evening room check for tidyness and keeping the kids in routine of actually getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc… (even on lazy days πŸ™ˆ).

Next month, and with the start of our school routine, we’re adding cooking for your family & cleaning the kitchen. Each week all three kids will be responsible for picking out one meal they want to make, creating the list of needed items, and then shopping for said items. On Monday we will all prepare & serve the meal together, then each kid has a set day that they will get to provide dinner (with some help of course), serve their family (8 of us total), and properly clean the kitchen after. I think we’re all pretty excited for it!

Each month an additional area of service will be added in to what we’re already focusing on, with the morning routine of silence, Bible, journaling and prayer to remain the same. I am super excited for this year! 😍 No, my kids may not know the things that most 6th graders are learning… my 1st grader may be a little off… but that’s ok. I’ll take a lack of fact reciting to a year we spent growing closer to God and serving all we come in contact with. We can always work on fractions next year. πŸ˜‰ Here goes nothing- September, we’re ready!

 

P.S., Thanks for being so easy on my pocket book! 😘

Foaming hand soap on the cheap!

I love foaming hand soap, it lasts forever and works so much better with my kiddos. I especially love buying super fancy (and usually pricey) soaps, or spending a ton of time making them with my essential oils. Sometimes you need cheap and easy. Agree?

Running thru Ingles today they had these super yummy smelling Seventh Generation soaps! Pleading ignorance: I have not researched each ingredient, marketing tells us that Seventh Generation is a good/chemical free type company… marketing also tells us that McDonald’s is good for you and Trump will make America great again… so know that I take marketing knowledge for about as far as I can throw it. And I have chicken arms. 😜

Anyhoot– DIY Cheap n’ easy foaming hand soap!

Step 1: Purchase some awesome hand soap, these Seventh Generation soaps smell wonderful! And 2 for $4- score!

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Step 2: Boil some water. I always boil water when making soaps and such for extra purification.

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Step 3: Gather various foaming hand soap dispensers. I have some old ones from JR Watkins soap, a couple glass ones from Wally World, a quick Amazon search will give you dozens to pick from….

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Step 4: Fill each container with 1/4 soap & 3/4 water (wait for it to cool down a bit first!)

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Step 5: Screw on tops & give a shake! $4 on good soap will fill at least 10+ foaming soap dispensers. That’s $0.40 a bottle of good soap!

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I recently found Puracy and am IN LOVE! 😍😍😍 I’ve used the body wash for that and as shampoo, and have the laundry detergent and lotion ordered! I’m definitely interested in ordering their foaming hand soap too! Not as cheap as this hack- but excited to try it! I love supporting companies that actually DESERVE to be believed in!

*Note, I’m pretty sure it’s blogging no-no #1 to use non professional-straight from your old cell phone pictures. But, done is better than perfect. Here’s what ya get. 😏 Maybe one day I’ll be able to stage whole photo shoots around a 5 minute process of soap and water mixing… today’s just not that day.

Why your house is dumb.

Let me clarify- it’s not JUST your house. It’s mine. And theirs. It’s all of them. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results- guys, we’re all insane.

I have dreamt of building my own home- especially710ece6850f9eb1834d34cd2e80fa0f4 out of alternative/eco building materials. Think of straw bale homes, earthships, heck– even a yurt! That’s my future goal, I dream about it, I look at floor plans and building types constantly, drool over Sunray Kelley’s cob homes, you name it.

But, what I do a lot of is make a mental note of things we won’t have in our home because they suck. Cleaning them sucks. They’re a pain in the ass. Why do we keep putting these things in EVERY house? HGTV- why do you tell us how amazing they are and how we MUST want them?!? WHY?!?! This is dumb. And it’s making your house… dumb.

At the risk of being hated and boycotted by all women, the entire entity of HGTV, and all of this considering no one actually reads this… πŸ˜‰

The DUMB list that’s infecting your home and ruining your life:

087543459fb61862d75a429ac24167f5Molding. All molding- base boards, crown’ed, door ways, decorative trim around your cupboard doors…. ALL of it. Guys- this SUCKS to clean, it’s just a bunch of fancy dust collectors that make all grime and gunk nearly impossible to get off. I’m still dizzy from cleaning my kitchen cupboards– maybe you can blame that for this ranting post. Let’s say NO to molding, mmm-k? Sure, it’s pretty. Buy a book of cool homes to gaze at from time to time, save yourself the trouble.

White. Paint, furniture, floors, appliances, before or after Labor day. This is SO not me– I would have a white house everything in my dream world. Then I wake up- white is dumb. Or maybe it CAN be ok if you’re smart about it. I HAD to have a white kitchen- had to. Now I scrub cupboards every week. (see the above mention at my state of light-headedness) Thought of doing a white wash on the custom table my brother is going to build me— DUMB. 8 people, homeschool, holidays? Dumb. Remember the white Pottery Barn sofas we all needed a few years back? Please.

Anything other than full gloss paint. My fancy friend painted her whole house- all with gloss paint. I remember thinking, “That’s weird… I thought you only did the high gloss stuff in bathrooms? Maybe I’ve been reading the sign in the paint department wrong?” No- she’s a genius. High gloss EVERYTHING! Clean up? The best. Anything other than high gloss in your house– dumb. Still need to have some white? High gloss. Problem fairly solved. (That and keeping your kids/dogs/husbands in bubbles.)

6714adef6a74b921a884bf53c0f04c99Doors. Ok, privacy- I get it. But doors get SO dirty! Dust collects on the pretty trim and indents (see point 1), grimy hand prints muck up all kinds of areas, dogs leave a slew of marks along the bottom portion– they get GROSS. And I cannot stand gross doors! Future home– as FEW doors as possible and probably some form of natural wood doors with as flat a surface possible. And no white, see the two previous points. (Also- great way to use macrame– a new obsession! Door curtains? YES!) Closet doors fall here too! HATE closet doors!

Anything other than natural flooring. Dumb. Carpet- collects SO many nasty things! Dirt, fleas, germs– YUCK! And I swear any form of laminate/plastic compound of some sort just gets so dirty SO quick! Raw wood sanded to perfection or an earthen floor. I’ve even contemplated concrete- then I could use a leaf blower to clear it off and power wash the floors. Boom.

aa34108505da525357d47ee34c03983bLots of cabinets/closets/storage. If you need that many places to tuck crap away– you have TOO much crap! You don’t need it, stop cluttering your home and wasting your money. A few, high quality, key items, a specific spot for each, and be done. It’ll look better, cut down on cleaning, be cheaper and your mind will feel at ease.

Tile. On the floor, counter tops, shower, anywhere! Some may be gorgeous.. but the GROUT… UGH! Scrubbing grout sucks- no way around it! And it gets so nasty- just say no. Maybe a little, well sealed on like a backboard or something. Flat surfaces that will constantly by used/walked on? No– that’s dumb.

Any furniture not hand crafted. I love you Ikea, I do. Pottery Barn, Overstock, Homegoods– love ya all. All the furniture? Guys– it’s crap. Stop investing in particle board pressed off a machine, covered in something pretty and called furniture. Build it yourself (you CAN do it) or buy local/handmade. Every time– you’ll thank me later.

 

Imagine cleaning a house that resulted after removing all those items! I hear angels singing… ahhhh…. One day!

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Rest is the new hustle.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-06-at-4.51.48-PM“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

The commandment that literally tells us to remember to take a day to rest as that is holy.

Isn’t it funny that it’s the hardest thing to do for most of us? We don’t live in a 24/6 world, it’s 24/7 for everything! We work as much as we can (another post on that to come…),Β  we check emails, we run errands, we shop, we clean, we rush, we hustle. Even better, the thought of laying around all day (especially for us momma’s), doing nothing, cleaning nothing, nothing nothing — is the definition of LAZY, not HOLY.

We should all, even without the center of spiritual or religious principles, strive for a 24/6 life. Imagine what you might discover in those 24 hours of rest and reflection? I’m excited to go deeper into this- but that will have to wait for now. To get you started, read 24/6 by Matthew Sleeth!

I’d like to share our Monday’s with you. In the wedding industry that we work in, Thursday-Sunday is BUSY BUSY time. Monday’s, they’re our stop day. We stop. Work stops. Cell phones, emails, cleaning, schooling, kids chores, outdoor work (and we have 8 acres- there’s ALWAYS work to be done!), getting out of our jammie’s, brushing our hair, making beds… it all STOPS. And guess what, the world keeps going.

I don’t care how dire it is, I don’t work on Monday. I don’t even look! Especially being a mompreneur, this was SO hard! What would happen?! My business would CRUMBLE if I don’t get to it right away! (Insert an apocalyptic scene happening in my mind starting with that one email from a bride that sat… unanswered… for 24 HOURS! The horror!!!)

Do you have any idea how amazing it is to reserve one day, EVERY week, where nothing is expected of you? Of your kids? Your home, can just be. Your kids, can just be. You can just be. You can spend time in your Bible, you can watch tv, you can lay outside and listen to the magic of the silence, you don’t have to run to any store, anywhere. You can nap. You can think. You can meditate. It’s glorious! Every single week. It makes even the worse of weeks that much more tolerable– because Monday is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Let me tell you about my Monday-

It started last night, I stayed up late last night watching Trailer Park Boys (admitted, LOVE that show!) with the hubby. It was nice to cuddle in bed and watch tv (we never get to do that) and stayed up way past my bedtime.

So this morning, I slept in. Until 9 something, my 3 year old came in eventually, snuggled me, I dozed back off again.

I eventually got up, still in pj’s, and ate some leftover oatmeal on the stove that the 11 year old had made. Dishes everywhere… who cares.

Sat on the couch, tablets going, Xbox running, coffee sipping… noticed the dog hair collecting by the baseboard, then quickly dismissed it.IMG_20160627_123251

Did the 5 year old’s hair, she wanted a ballerina bun. We could do any number of girly things and make her day- I think we’ll paint nails later.

I ‘got dressed’ in my ‘fancy’ yoga pants, old t-shirt and put a bobby pin in my hair. Boom, done. The 11 year old got dressed, the 5 year old is in a nightgown she outgrew months ago, and the 3 year old preferred to be dressed and have her hair done. No mom nagging to get dressed/brush hair/teeth/clean/chores/school….

I felt the need to write, this blog is fun for me and not work- so I’m typing here. Kids are playing Xbox with their family in CA, grilled cheese sandwiches are to be inhaled here shortly.

We’ll finish our day off with some time splashing in the pool, a nap, a small dinner (we made our big Sabbath feast yesterday), goodnight yoga with the girls and some time to myself to sip tea and spend time in prayer tonight after the kiddos are sleeping and the house is quiet. Lots to mediate on and a heart to keep open and listening.

Just be. Listen to the birds, snuggle the kiddos, put off anything you don’t want to worry about. It’s a beautiful day. It is holy. †