Category Archives for "Life is Beautiful"

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Life is a Balance of Effort & Surrender

I’ve got big transitions and tiny living downsizing to share with you! Yes, you read that right, we already live tiny, but we are DOWNSIZING even more!!

When we purchased our Alfa 5th Wheel, we only planned on living in it for about two years. It has been three and a half years now!! That much time, two people, living in 325 sq feet….you’d think we’d be tired of it and ready to move on! Well, we are!! But it’s not the kind of moving on we anticipated.

Our plan was to live in the 5th Wheel as a way to “live within our means” so that we could purchase our own land to settle, build, and homestead. After living comfortably in the RV for a couple years, we started shopping for land. OUTRAGEOUS! We couldn’t even dream of “living within our means” and purchasing even 1 acre of useable land anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. It just wasn’t going to happen. We considered the whole mortgage idea, but it goes against our core values in life! Debt free living is very importance to us. Besides, we don’t really want just 1 acre, we’d like at least 10 – 20 acres for our future homestead. And so the wheels began to turn in our minds as we searched for solutions.

In January of this year (2017), my husband landed a great deal on a 2003 Fleetwood Truck Camper, and purchased it as a fixer upper project. Initially, he thought he’d just give it a rough fix, and use it for solo trips around the country in search of affordable and useable acreage. As he dug into the project, he found more and more things that needed fixing, and as he spent more time on the camper, his creative mind began dreaming up all kinds of amazing solutions for this tiny living space! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me share pieces of this incredible project.

I really don’t know what lead to what, but between June and September, our plans had shifted drastically! You may have noticed the blog slow down a bit during this time, as I was trying to sort out where we were even going and what direction to go with my blog. One thing lead to another, and after many long chats over warm coffee, we found ourselves on the other side of some big decisions. Hubby would no longer be taking the camper out on solo trips. He dropped the idea of a “rough fix” and dove head first into a thorough remodel and camper renovation project!!! We decided to put the 5th Wheel up FOR SALE and move into the truck camper, living the RV lifestyle on the road!

The camper project is far from completion, but we are moving forward regardless! With the Oregon rains settling in, and no shop to keep the project dry, it’s time to get down the road. The 5th wheel is scheduled to roll out of here this week, and now begins our adventures living full time in the Truck Camper! Stay tuned for updates as we live in the same tiny space we are trying to renovate, search for our future homestead, and enjoy life moment by moment during this season of our journey.

“Life is a Balance of Effort & Surrender” This is our motto as we take on this stage of life. We are putting in effort to create a lifestyle we love, including work, home, and location. We are surrendering to the challenges and sacrifices we have to make to get there. And we are enjoying the journey, life itself, along the way.

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Old Fashioned Simplicity in our Modern Day Era

With January coming to an end, I am considering some of the goals I set out to work on this year. So much has happened in just one months time! Many things have changed, plans have proven a need to be flexible, and a lot has been accomplished as well. At this point, I am feeling pretty good about how things are going!

So far I have made some headway in my business endeavors, put intentional effort into building relationships with others, improved in my homemaking practices, and stuck to my workouts and self care.

Time to get Smart

For many years, I have put off getting a smart phone. Part of me was afraid of becoming addicted and using it more than I needed to, therefore letting it be a time waster in my life. Another part of me just valued the old fashioned way of life and wanted to hold onto it as long as possible! This week I took the plunge.

Welcoming my Samsung Galaxy S4 into my life, I had fun exploring useful (and helpful) apps, shopping for a phone case, and just learning how to use this new tool. And yes, I intend to treat it as a tool!

So far my favorite features of having a smart phone are the fitness tracking apps, always having a decent camera in my pocket, and ease of texting…since everyone (including myself!!) seems to be afraid of talking on the phone these days.

Simple Moments

Feeling like I needed to get out of the house, I invited a friend to go walking with me on Monday morning. That’s how I started my week…sweet fellowship with a friend, some fresh air, and exercise on a cold, but sunny morning. I tracked our walk with my smart phone.

Later that same day, I headed out early for an evening appointment. Winding along the country roads, I enjoyed some beautiful scenery. To top it off, I noticed the sun setting over the river as I crossed the bridge. Thankful that I had left the house early, I found my way to a nearby park on the river and stopped to take a few pictures…with my new smart phone. 😉 I was marveling that I was actually running ahead of schedule and able to take time to stop. I don’t think we were ever meant to rush through life like we do. God created so many simple beauties in life, but we are usually too busy rushing ahead to notice them.

Kitty’s Wake up Tactics

On Wednesday morning I got up extra early to meet a new friend for coffee…online. Wait, what!? I met a friend on the internet for a coffee date? Yes! That’s right. The internet has changed our world in so many ways! I am reminded of Steven Covey’s book talking about expanding our circle of influence. The internet has certainly enabled us to have a much larger circle of influence, allowing us to reach people far and wide.

Anyhow, back to waking up extra early…I discovered that my smart phone has this awesome feature called “Smart Alarm”. It allows me to choose some peaceful music to start playing very softly 5, 10, or even 15 minutes before my alarm is to sound and gradually get louder. So cool! I remember when I was in college I had an alarm clock that would let me play music from the radio for 15 minutes before it was time to get up…but it didn’t start soft and gradually get louder. I am thrilled! Only trouble is, the music wakes Kitty Macchiato up faster than it does me, and she proceeds her usual rude awakening tactics….nose licks, sticking her head in my face, grumpy glare, etc. I find it easier to get up if I’m able to wake up slowly but Kitty thinks I should get up immediately to let her outside for her morning romp. I keep reminding myself that I would miss her antics if she was gone.

Ambitious Creativity

I don’t know about you, but I start my weeks with Monday and Tuesdays “To do” list jam packed, with less on Wed – Fri. I head into the week feeling so ambitious but I know my “eyes are bigger than my stomach” so to speak and I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Knowing this about myself, when I plan my weeks, I leave room in my schedule Thursday and Friday to play catch up with the To Do’s from earlier in the week. So far it is working quite well for me. Consistently planning my weeks has been one of my new goals for 2017 that has proven itself quite effective and enjoyable.

Feeling a little burnt out towards the end of the week, but still feeling a need to be “productive”, I spent several hours working on my latest cross stitching project. This hobby allows me time to think about life, slow down, and just rest when I need to. I often feel a bit like an old gramma sitting in her rocker doing needle work, but I know it is important to keep creativity in our lives, and also to have an activity that allows our mind and heart to rest and be thankful. Maybe I embraced the future by buying a smart phone, but I’m still holding to the old fashioned simplicity of embroidery.

What old fashioned ways do you still value and hold onto in your life? Hand written letters? Cooking from scratch? There are so many simple joys that our modern day lifestyle has tossed to the side. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Macchiato the cat blog post

Introducing Macchiato, Cat in the Country

I want to introduce our sweet kitty cat to you as I know she will show up on the blog frequently. She is always close by, and very curious about every new project. Since joining our home, Macchiato has developed the nick name “Inspector Coffee” as she is always looking over our projects before giving them her stamp of approval.

We welcomed a new ball of fluff into our home spring of 2015. Macchiato is our 3rd kitty cat since we’ve been married and we are so thankful to have her in our life. She provides a lot of entertainment, cuddles, and trouble around our home. Here are some pictures from her kitten days.

  
Her name came along as a good fit because she always seemed to be on an espresso high! She was such a frisky kitten! Until it was time to sleep that is…

  Her coloring reminds me of a fresh brewed cup of coffee just as you stir in the creamer. She is such a beautiful cat! If course she choose my hubby as her person right from the beginning even though he bought her as a gift for me. Everyone knows a cat chooses her owner.

We are glad she has grown out of the kitten stage. She is nearly 2 years old now! She did play a bit rough when she was a kitten and she is the first cat we’ve had out grow that kitten stage. It is nice to own a cat instead of a kitten. She continues to mellow out as the months go by and we are glad to see it.

Here is a picture of one of Macchiato’s first trips to the garden. She has always loved following us over to the garden and playing in the garden beds and nearby woods while we do our work. It’s fun having an eager garden buddy too!

  

And of course she makes a great lap warmer! I always savor the times she chooses to sit with me, as she is usually after daddy cuddles, but I can’t complain because she is actually sitting in my lap right now as I write this post! 

3 House Warming Gift for a friend by Wife in the Country

House Warming Gift

I love putting gifts together. Perhaps it is partially because I can’t buy new things for myself all the time due to the simple life that I live. It is fun to buy new things and arrange them into attractive gifts. It is also pure joy to share some of my homemade hard work with others!

Today I went to a house warming party for a college friend from our days at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. It was good to see her again, catch up on life after college, meet her little family, and help them celebrate their new home.

I never seem to prepare my gifts ahead of time. 🙂 I am always rushing around at the last minute trying to pull something together. Well, here is what I came up with (overnight) this time.

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Vanilla, Lemon, and Cinnamon extract, all homemade. Italian infused vinegar, a cute honey bear, a dozen eggs, and some springs of Rosemary for color. I put these items together, then stopped at the store on the way to the party to grab the “wrapping”. I was so please to find such a cute basket; just what I had envisioned! Thanks to Ross Dress for Less!! One of my favorite stores. Then to find a smaller round basket…..ok, a bowl will do….for the eggs. And wahlaw! A gift basket. Okay, so it is lacking the “foo-foo”, as my MIL says, and a professional arranger but hey, I was happy with how it turned out. And my friend seemed excited to try the goods in her cooking!

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These cute canning labels are available from: BotanicalPaperworks.com I was so happy to find them, also at the last minute. 😉 And here is a link to my favorite Homemade Extracts page: DIY Flavored Extracts. Basically, you put a few pieces of the desired flavor into a small jar, cover with vodka, and wait….for 6-8 weeks. So simple, so delicious!

Goals for a Beautiful 2017

As I looked back over 2016, I was surprised to see the progress we made on many of our goals. Trying not to be overly ambitious, I had made a Pinterest Board last year with a handful of things I wanted to improve. These were not “To-Do” items, or big dreams. They were just simple every day things I wanted to be conscious of to improv my lifestlye. I called them “Happy Goals”.

My husband is not such a fan of checklists as I am, and tends to keep most of his ideas in his mind. Sometimes I feel like we can’t get on the same page this way. However, more often than not, due to every day decisions and conversations, our goals line up better than I could have imagined.

One of my favorite bloggers, Unveiled Wife, made a post in late December suggesting that you and your husband make a date night out of a Goal Setting Session for 2017. I knew this wouldn’t work for us. It’s just not how we roll! So instead of trying to get my hubby to do something I knew he wouldn’t want to do, I set about my own goal setting for my life in perspective of our life and where I already knew his values and ideals were set.

I never expected him to “set goals”, I just did it for me, knowing I needed to have these things written down in order to actively try to improve myself. About 2 weeks after I finished ironing out my ambitions for the year, he shocked my socks off by presenting me with a life balance wheel he had drawn up, colored, and written all over stating that he wanted to work towards that kind of lifestyle. As I read each item or inspirational quote, I recognized that the goals I had written out and these items he had listed were all part of the same big picture and we were both headed in the same direction!


And so I must encourage you, don’t feel like you have to do everything like other couples or people do. Find what works for you. Through our day to day life, conversations here and there, and efforts on both sides, my husband and I wound up at the same conclusions and goals, without specifically talking about them together. We did talk about them, as we talked and lived life together.

This year, I decided I wanted to make life more beautiful in 2017. More joy, healthier lifestyle, contentment, more trust, and more adventure. A full and intentional life. Instead of saying I want to accomplish this big thing, I am saying I am going to keep putting intentional effort forward. Now yes, I do have some big things in mind, but I’m not setting them fast in stone, because I have already seen how much room there needs to be for flexibility in life. Even so, if we don’t move in a direction, we will never get anywhere.

I grabbed The Everyday Planner by Nina Hendrick to use as my daily planner. I record everything in my planner. My schedule, to do lists, goals, dreams, thoughts, notes…literally everything. It is my everything in one place mind dump! I can’t clear my head and move on until I write things down.

The Everyday Planner has a few pages dedicated to goal planning at the beginning of the year. It took me a good 3 weeks to think about things, write notes, and organize what I wanted to strive for in 2017 and then another week or so to write my goals into the planner throughout the year. Nina Hendrick has a special page each month to write your big goals for the month as well which I really appreciate. These reminders as the year goes along will help me stay on track. Each day includes 3 lines for your main goals for the day as well. One thing I am trying to do in 2017 is to plan my weeks and this helps me out a lot.

My big picture mission for 2017 is to get in shape, become more emotionally stable, put my home and role as a wife first, create passive income with work that I enjoy, be more adventurous, do more creative projects, and live more independently than we are now. Yes, I have some specifics in there, but I think it’s important not to set yourself up for failure when life takes a sharp turn in a new direction. The goals I am stating here are general and strive for a fuller lifestyle. Whether we end up in a farmhouse fixer upper on 20 acres (which would be AWESOME), or with a tiny home by the beach, these big picture items remain the same and leave room for that necessary flexibility in life.

What is your big picture mission for 2017? A lot of people were talking about their “one word” or “phrase” for 2017. I thought they were being kinda silly, but once I got all my thoughts organized, I found that this phrase pretty much sums up my goals for 2017:

“Live more out of intent”