Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Just wanted to say congratulations on being brave enough to 'go off grid.' It's hard when others don't understand your choices. I just wanted you to know there are others who applaud you and hope to follow in your footsteps.
God is good!! My prayer for the new year and new ways of doing this thing we call life!!
Do you not know?..... Have you not heard?..... The LORD is the everlasting God,..... the Creator of the ends of the earth...... He will not grow tired or weary,..... and his understanding no one can fathom.He gives strength to the weary..... and increases the power of the weak.Even youths grow tired and weary,..... and young men stumble and fall;but those who hope in the LORD..... will renew their strength...... They will soar on wings like eagles;..... they will run and not grow weary,..... they will walk and not be faint..............................Isaiah 40:28-31
You can read more things here!
I am not much for New Year's Resolutions… I try all year to stay afloat and on top of things so they do not become something that will eventually weigh me down as a burden. But yes, sometimes these little buggers can creep up on us can't they? Like collecting… Something that started out to be a fun hobby but suddenly you look around and realize you have collected 1 to many and now that collection GROSSES you out! UGH…
One thing I always do for the New Year is de-clutter my home (once again, the last of numerous times in that calendar year) after Christmas so I can start the New Year fresh. I love clean slates! I feel like I have a new lease on life when I have a clutter free and organized place. I actually can think more clearly when I have things in order, even if that order only looks orderly to me J.
One book that I discovered early on in my homemaking career is "The Messies Manual" by Sandra Felton. She has a great story. She was an extremely messy person. I wouldn't compare her messy self as bad as mine, but I do remember in the 90's thinking I sure hope someone doesn't just drop by unannounced! She has a great system to keep your house orderly. I may not follow each and every step she recommends but I do feel I have a good handle on keeping up and if someone stops by it is ok and it doesn't look like a cyclone came through.
She has a method called Mt. Vernonizing that I have spoken of before. You take 3 boxes: throw away, give away and put away. You start by the front door of your castle and don't leave that room until each item goes into a category. Don't start another room until this first one is complete. Then you move to the next room, etc. and don't leave that one until the same steps are accomplished! You really get a good grip on your home and I try to actually do this almost every 3 months, max because you keep down on the clutter. The house is then easier to clean (like mopping, sweeping etc.) because the clutter is gone. It is very freeing…. (PS. That give away box needs to be gone in 24 hours or you will be stuck with all of it J)
Part of our new life of living off-grid is much easier when I am on top of the organization part of my home too. For example, if I am always looking for matches to light a lamp or something, that would become tiresome, etc. This new simple life is simple if I adapt and keep orderly principles, but I cannot be going through clutter and try to live simply, then life will be too burdensome to me, etc.
So, that is what I plan to start today. The Christmas tree is down (December 27) and I am looking forward to Mt. Vernonizing today. This is actually a spiritual thing for me too…. I really pray a lot while I am doing this, so basically I have a great week of prayer as I clean and talk to the Lord during this time…
I highly recommend the book. I like her first one best and I have not read any of her other ones. The first one is from her heart when she just discovered her system and I think you will glean some good things from it also if you are looking to improve in this area.
God Bless you!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Whenever you decide to do something that is not status quo, you get a lot of unwanted critics and sometimes downright mean critics! Sadly, some of ours have been close "friends". There are a lot of reasons we have chosen to live our off-grid lifestyle at the moment and this decision was in no way made lightly or without much prayer and guidance from our Lord. Living "off-grid" is kind of like having a home birth, more than 3 children or homeschooling… It gets out of the status quo category so people are curious but they can also become vicious about it. It is ok if you don't understand why… Quite frankly the "why" is real personal, between us and the Lord. Assumptions are just that, your opinions… But you should know we are here for a specific reason, whether you understand or not is beside the point.
The Gentle Giant and I were discussing today again why we have done this but more importantly why we moved about 50 miles away from our friends and family to live off-grid, when we could have done this in our other home. I have touched lightly on this blog on the "whys" and here is another reason…
We are on a permanent fast from man's systems for a time. It is amazing when you take everything away how much you hear from the Lord when you become simpler. By this, I in no way mean, we hear more from Him than someone else, but in our circumstances, we are hearing directly from Him as a result of getting away from the world's systems of modern conveniences. We are on a fast from stuff right now! Stuff can quickly turn to junk when you get a lot of it and it muddles your way of life and in our case, our thinking.
We needed this as a family. We were slowly (but increasingly) getting wrapped up in the status quo of easy Christianity… We were not reaching out to others but comfortable in our life with all our safe christian friends and christian experiences… We needed to be broken before the Lord to see this so we could reach out to others. Could we have lived off grid at our other place? Yes. Could we have fulfilled our calling from God by living off-grid at our other home? NO!
We are finding out as much as it has been a rich and rewarding change to live off grid, that God really wanted to bring us to this new area, new county, new church to be used by Him for a specific purpose designed by Him just for us… We are rapidly finding out that living off-grid was a way to get us "here" but really not why we are "here". Nope, not a bit!
We are setting a lot of things down so God can use us. We are asking Him now to equip us so we can go about this specific mission He has for us. We would not want to just exist where we are, but LIVE where we are with the specific purpose God has for us. We actually do not know the specific purpose just yet but it is quickly being narrowed down as we hear from Him daily. As a family we are asking God, "Why are we here"? We want His 100% direction and for Him to equip us to do his work. We know He will come through for us on these things! We are living here, in a new area, on PURPOSE, on HIS purpose…
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"Imagine your own life, and how you want it to be, then work to make that vision a reality. Don’t be put off, don’t listen to the naysayers, go with your heart and do what is right for you. I’m a non-conformist and I don’t fit in the 60 year old woman pigeonhole. I have always walked to the beat of my own drum and I have never looked to those around me for validation. That has helped me build this life I live. If I’d listened to all the advice I got when I wanted to change, I’d still be running a red hot credit card and wondering “is this all there is?”.One of the great wonders of this world to me is that we’re all the same but all so different. Celebrate your difference and custom-make a life that fits you perfectly. Forget the blathering of women’s magazines, don’t do what your next door neighbour is doing, don’t copy your friends – or me – unless it is exactly what you want and need for yourself. Make your own version of this simple life. Life is never a one-size-fits-all condition, pick and choose the portions of other people lives that suit you and custom make the rest of it so that your life fits you perfectly. If you try something that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to get rid of it, or modify it to suit yourself. Do it all slowly, take small steps. You will never build a simple life quickly – it’s a slowly evolving process that never ends, but one thing is for sure, if you dare to be different, if you are mindful of your choices, if you downsize, declutter and get back to basics, the rewards are there for the taking."
I met a new online friend this year, Rhonda Jean... I encourage you to visit her here... She is the author above. She has more great writing and I encourage you to read her posts... I will be one of the firsts to buy her book when it comes out!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Anyways, there is something romantic and cozy being shut in a blizzard! Lots of snowmobiling and skiing today. A fun Christmas meal with the "good dishes". Monopoly and more frosted Christmas cookies with sprinkles. Lots of hot chocolate. Don't worry family, I did not eat any of your Christmas gifts I was suppossed to bring today... At least not YET!
Currently I am enjoying a nice glass of red zinger herbal tea. I will note I am very happy I am not due in this weather or we would be doing a home birth and the midwife would have to be the gentle giant because even she could not make it to our home! YIKES!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
knowing tomorrow I will be baking Christmas goodies all day with my kitty cats and an Amish woman (she will be showing me some of her family recipes!).
I am loving:
The fact a huge winter snow warning begins at 2 am in our neck of the woods
I am cherishing:
Our ultrasound today and praising the Lord that the Dr. said, "You have one of the healthiest babies I have seen" and that is coming from a high risk maternal fetal medicine MD today!
All of your wonderful comments and "meeting" all of you online
I am remembering:
Why we moved here and how happy we all are about this decision even if some do not understand it...
I am thrilled:
That our children are finding some new and wonderful christian friends at our new church!
I am excited:
That 1 of my daughters will be playing the piano in the praise and worship band and another daughter will be singing in the praise and worship band...
I am relieved:
That school is finished until after the New Year but the real learning will continue and this is what really counts...
I am thankful:
For our first 8 weeks here being so special to all of us and bringing us closer as a family and to the Lord.
How about you?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Whenever I seem to be fighting gravity constantly, or well, just fighting the simple things in life, it is usually when I am working something out spiritually. Like when I pray to God, "I need to be a sweeter vessel Lord", "I want a sweet fragrance about me, to be used more for you", "I am ready for the next level Lord, help me to mature"... Well that other guy, which I will REFUSE to give credit to here, comes along to wreak havoc and see what I am made of! ACK!
I will prevail! With only the Lord's help of course! J
This week has been our most challenging here yet, for some reason. I am certain it is due to my resolve to mature spiritually! People will never believe my "story" here if I only write about good things... J
- "You didn't turn the pump off"!!!! Other person says, "I thought YOU turned the pump off"…
- "You told me you were going to tighten that door!!!
- An extremely LAME realtor
- A friendly visit from the Jehovah's Witness' (I could never fault them for their resolve and guts to witness door to door, but...!)
- A wet closet, that still has to be discovered, "WHY"?
- Extra bickering for some reason among the camp…
- Spending 2-3 hours, per someone's request to order family photo cards, to have them say, "Maybe we shouldn't do them this year" !!! WHAT???
- For the last Monday I went to the laundry mat to finish my last few loads... I waited patiently the 38 minutes for the wash load(s)... I won't even begin to tell you about the morning that day (you have an imagination right?) Well, I was praying the entire time while waiting for my wash to be completed… I was alone and it was a nice time, as nice a time you could make a laundry mat be… (they do have free coffee J, you have to imagine, I was huge spoiled brat before moving here too. The prettiest laundry room on the planet, hanging and folding stations to boot, now I am at the laundry mat, but NOT complaining…) I was finished with the wash. I put my 3 loads in my baskets and hauled them to the car with my pregnant body… I then went back in to get the last load and opened the wash machine. THE WASH WAS GONE!!!!!!! VANISHED!!!!!! Just a few suds… I looked around and saw some innocent people folding their laundry and I wondered who the thief could be! I thought, "that lady looks much to nice to be a thief"…. I felt angst well up inside me as my wash was stolen, right in front of me as I was praying??? "God, you have got to be kidding me? I really don't even care about the clothes at all, but this is just too much with the morning I just had…" I thought, now what do I do? I thought, just for giggles, I would go down the row and see what was in the other washers…. After 5 checks of empty washers, I opened the 6th washer, right next to my empty wash machine, except for those few suds… There was my wash, still dirty, with some laundry detergent on it… I had put the $2.50 in the wrong wash machine!!! I was happy to have found it, but now I had to wait another 38 minutes… oh well, at least I found it… But I had a Mother Daughter Christmas Tea to attend that evening and I had to make a cake yet!
- I finally made it home, we hung all the laundry in front of the wood stoves, and I started to bake the cake for the Christmas Tea that eve… My 1940's Magic Chef oven is finicky. The "upstairs" burners work great, the oven, different story! I had trouble lighting it… Finally the flame took hold, singing the hair off my hand and right arm up to the elbow, as well as burning the heck out of each… This is the same day still people… I didn't cry, YET…
- Saturday came along… THE WEEK WAS STRESSFUL… I was excited to try the new wringer washer this day, but not at 6:00 am when I was awakened, not on my own account J. This would be our first attempt with the machine hooked up to the belts and pulleys to the gasoline engine… Now I know why they heat the water… The wash machine worked fine, but I had to feed the soapy clothes, as well as, the rinse clothes through the wringer… THE WATER WAS FREEZING! (before you panic I am washing in cold water, there is no scientific evidence to wash clothes in hot vs. cold water to make them cleaner, except whites, I did this in hot soapy bleach water) After an hour inside, or should I say it felt like outside, an unheated wash room and my hands in FREEZING cold water… I was getting used to it… (Remember now, I told you I KNEW laundry would be the biggest challenge here, and I was 100% correct)… One of the parts was ready to fly off because we had to rig this part together to save a trip to the hardware store this morning and just get going on the laundry! I had to really hurry with the rinsed clothes through the wringer! I put my nice white fluffy bath robe through and prayed it would make it before the part broke, then I could finally be finished with all the laundry! Well, I am very happy to report to you that I did finish all that laundry, and I even had 2 of my fingers from my right hand go inside the wringer with my white fluffy bath robe… I wove a tapestry of profa… Ok, I WAS SO ANGRY!!! I am glad the only person around was the Gentle Giant! It hurt so bad, I did not even want to cry, it hurt too much to cry… TOO MUCH!!!! I popped the blue button and out my hand came… I think my hand made it to the knuckles because it was numb from the icy cold water… But knuckles do not fit through a wringer, NO! THEY DON'T! Not crying yet…
- Ok, when the wash was finished, that should have been enough for one person, for 1 day! We had promised the kids we would set up the fresh cut Christmas tree from the night before… They were so excited! I, well, we still have moving boxes around so I was not excited to start a "new" other project… But, remember that prayer of wanting to be HIS vessel… Well, I wanted this to be a good day for the kids, so we would put up the tree, even though we had to leave in a few short hours for hubby's company Christmas party… But when the numerous boxes of Christmas décor and garb started coming out into the main living area, to add more chaos upon chaos, my chest tightened and then I quietly snuck into my bedroom, closed the door and wept like a baby (pregnancy can do this to you) … I had just had enough! The week had peaked for me and at least it can only get better from here J…
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
we laughed all night doing laundry as we never quite imagined we would be doing this at 17 years of marriage!
We couldn't quite get the wash machine hooked up yet but we did finish the laundry by hand as a family affair. It was fun. The kids remarked they remembered Charlie from the Willy Wonka Movie how his mother stirred the laundry... Little did we all know :)
Friday, December 5, 2008
"Living off-grid to most people usually means still using all modern conveniences but not paying for electricity or power. I would consider us more to be living simple, rather than off-grid because we are not trying to duplicate the life we lived while having all modern conveniences... We are actually trying to cut back on lots of things and live simpler..."
We traded this Maytag wringer wash machine below so no cash was exchanged.
The goat breeder, a man who looks a lot like St. Nick, came and PICKED UP the goats, brought them to his home, fed them a few days, had them bred and delivered them back home safe all for some bales of hay. He said hay was worth more to him. I was glad not to part with $50-!
I think its neat people still want to deal the old-fashioned way!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Hello everyone. Hope you are well and blessed.
I get a lot of questions in email and try to answer them right away. This was a question I received a few days ago and I felt it more important to answer here because I think about this actual analogy a lot in my personal dealings. I hope you do not mind me sharing it here, and I guess you don't if you are still reading J
Here are portions of the email from a friendly reader:
BORDERLINE CITY, HELP ME! Was the title of the email…
"Hi Angie, ... You seem like that you live my fairy tale dream. I am slowly moving towards a much simpler life… Something is really pushing me towards simplistic ways. I have become more spiritual in the past year and my heart is really pounding to live simpler and non materialistic and I want to go off the grid, but this will take some time. We cut the cable plug 9 years ago so we are not as tied to the TV as we once were and I have lost my dishwasher and started enjoying doing the dishes by hand and no the Bulk buying for grains and such is starting and I have began to Can again and well where to go from here is the question. How can I turn my home into the dream that I want? Douse the lights and use Oil lanterns, clothes line drying? What would you suggest? My sisters think that I am going crazy, lol but I have started crocheting and well I have began my window quilts for the winter we are just getting started.
Thanks for all of the info that you provide for us!!!
Ok, I have so much to say and I am not the greatest writer to put my thoughts into words, but here goes:
Do not feel that you must move to turn your home into the dream you want! NO WAY! I would say that you should make the home you have your dream and be content there. If you can do this, you have ultimately become the simplistic being you want to be, just by staying where you are. We all have things we are not content about in our lives. In my life I am not content with myself at times where I feel I am not doing what I always should, but instead of reinventing me , I should work on resolving these issues within me… Get it? It would most likely be more complicated to up and move than to make your home your haven of simplicity, even if near the city. Just because you cannot be 100% off-grid or live in the country does not mean you have failed at being simple. Becoming who you want to be is a life long journey and that's what makes life, life (I call it an adventure J)
I read somewhere or someone once told me you will always find someone "better than you" or someone who can do what you are doing better… For example, Instead of eating the white bread we all grew up on, one of us decides to break the mold and start buying whole wheat bread at the grocery store. We feel so proud of this accomplishment because we are feeding our family more healthy than how we grew up. Then we meet a woman who buys organic whole wheat bread from a posh health food market, and she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread in her bread maker everyday! Then she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread but kneads it by hand everyday rather than using a bread maker…. But she meets a woman who grinds her own organic wheat berries each day and bakes her own organic whole wheat bread and then she meets a woman who GROWS her own whole wheat to bake her own bread but this lady even meets a woman who grows her own whole wheat but hers is actually organic! YIKES! I could keep going on and on couldn't I…?
- What do these women all have in common? They all want to eat healthy and they are trying the best they know how to do it! So, in reality, aren't they all great examples in breaking out of the mold of eating white bread, even though some take this further than the others? I personally think so!
So dear reader, even though you live near the city doesn't mean that you cannot pursue a simpler lifestyle at all. Be radical where you are, I say. Use some oil lanterns, make cloth napkins for your family to cut down on waste (for financial reasons as well as recycling), bake your own bread, even if that means you pick up a used bread maker at a thrift store, compost your leftovers for your raised garden beds in your yard, even if you only have 5 beds next to the sidewalk, cut down on your spending in all areas, buy used before new anytime as you look at your organized list you carry in your purse that you keep a constant tab of what you need when you are out, recycle your magazines, cans and newspapers for free (not for the earth's sake but to cut down on your trash bill!), buy in bulk if you can but don't beat yourself up if a few weeks you can't, make your own cleaning products (I love this book), stop buying tons of self help books and just open the Proverbs in your Bible, hang your clothes on the line but don't feel bad you use your wash machine to wash them, make your own laundry detergent, can veggies but if you can't grow them, no worries, shop your local farmer's market in the summer months… Ok, it goes on and on!
I do have to say this, in my personal opinion (oh, this can be so stinky at times) the best way to live the most simplistic life is to be REALLY ORGANIZED! I am working on this CONSTANLTY, and it will be a goal (or should I say struggle) of mine until the day I meet the Lord! I know when I am at the top of my game organizational wise, my life is so much simpler, no matter where I have lived (on a busy street or my 40 acre farm)… If I follow a schedule it is so freeing to me. When I follow a schedule, for some reason I save more money, I have a very tidy home, I am less stressed, I can enjoy my family, I appreciate the silence, food goes farther, I get more done, the home is most peaceful and I am well rested. Isn't this what the simple life really should be all about?
Basically, bloom where you are planted, become organized, enjoy your daily journey with the Lord's leading and you could actually live more simplistic than an organic farmer who lives on a 100 acre off-grid farm in Oregon! Seriously…
And now some confessions here… A list of what I am working on to make my life much simpler…
#1. Keep a grocery budget!
#2. Stop eating out! Ok, I can't give up the date night with the gentle giant but we do eat out on occasion (Sunday is nice after church J)
#3. Mt Vernonize this new home (this is an organizational tactic I use and can share more later)
#4. Stick to my ever evolving schedule so I can have those things happen more in my home that I underlined above…
#5. Listening to the silence… And when I do, I can hear God's still small voice ever so LOUDLY!
#6. Spending more time in God's Word and more time in PRAYER to Him, my best friend!
Ps. I don't like the woman who grows her own organic whole wheat…
Monday, December 1, 2008
The Gentle Giant and I were laughing and discussing what our favorite House on the Prairie episode was…
The Gentle Giant's favorite episode was when Laura sold her horse Bunny to Nels Olsen for Ma's cook stove. Pa went into the mercantile on Christmas Eve to purchase the stove and it was GONE!
My favorite episode(s) HAVE to be when Laura and Almanzo (Manly-that name always creeped me out) were falling in LOVE!
So, what was your favorite episode?