Autumn Challenge; Creating the Life You Want

Life is really beautiful, isn’t it?

Ever since I was a small child, I always had the innate sense that time here on this earth is limited. That each day is anew with experiences and exhilarating breath. I feel like I blink and my husband is kissing me goodnight again. These days go fast. Better be living in a way that brings about joy! How do we balance living in the present, moving towards a future that we dream of, and learning from the past?

Let’s start with the past. Okay, great- now let that go. Seriously, the past is filled with learning lessons and decisions that got you where you are now, of bittersweet memories of when the children were little and of people past, and traumatic experiences. Tip your hat at it, close the door on it when things pop up, and then look around you in the here and now. Breathe. Look up. There is simply no time to waste on it.

Present. No time like the present. Several times today, just look up. Look around. Smile. No matter what is going on. Gratitude can get you through anything. It can fortify the best days. Notice the details. There is a breeze kicking up. The mountains look bright against the deep blue sky and the horse across the street is running circles around his house- all muscle and brilliance- to wake his dad, who has apparently forgotten breakfast. I am writing- my favorite occupation and pastime- and, I am afraid, I made my coffee too weak. The kittens are running around the house. All these moments make up a life here. Seemingly minute details of everyday life, each decision we make, moves us towards a life well lived, and affects the future of the next generations. How do you want to live?

In my lowest moments I have often wondered what is the point? If we are just going to be struck down dead at any given time, what is the point of pursuing a new career, or completing a dream, or dreaming at all? We are painting a picture of the new world to come, of life for future generations, for- depending on your beliefs- our own future when we come back to try again.

Each one of us are given a set of lessons to learn here. Every circumstance and coincidence in your life is a means of learning and mastering the lesson. Every passion, every talent, every dream is there on purpose to move you towards and through the lesson and gives you an opportunity to paint a brighter world and future. We are always one step into the future. Already, everything I just wrote is in the past. Let us live moving forward.

I tend to get stuck in the status quo, what always has been done, how things have always been, and figure they are the way to be. But we change, things change, our dreams change, we must morph with it. Even if it doesn’t make sense, or if it doesn’t seem possible, if you have it in your heart, and it feels right to you, then it is good. If you lead with kindness, and lead with love, you cannot go wrong.

My last post prompted me to reanalyze how I am living my life. I do that often, particularly this time of year, as Autumn always seems a good time for contemplating. Ask yourselves the same questions and see where they take you:

  1. How do you feel physically? How do you feel mentally/emotionally? How do you feel spiritually?
  2. Does your work bring you joy? How does it serve others? How does it serve you? (It has to go both ways.)
  3. What are your dreams right now? What are your goals? If you could do anything and not fail, and had ample money to do it, what would you do for work? What would you do for play? What experiences do you want?
  4. What is heavy on your heart?
  5. What are you passionate about?

I tend to look at the past to govern my future, but the things that made me happy before do not do so now. The ways I have lived in the past do not serve me now. So, even if it is difficult, not socially acceptable, or risky, answering these questions helped me paint in my mind what I do want my life to look like. When you paint that in your mind, the universe goes straight to work painting it with you. (So, watch your thoughts and words!)

Using bullet words helps it all come together. Animals. Farming. Herbs. Writing. Health. Homesteading. Family. Vitality. Life. Kindness. In my life now, I don’t feel the need to be a professional herbalist in the ways that I have been. I don’t feel the need to do a lot of things I used to do. My job and life desires have changed, as I have.

Create a new mantra. I do this every year and it really helps me make decisions and move myself to where I want to be. “Never make a decision based on fear” was one year’s. I think my new one will be, “Lead with love and promote life.”

My daughter and I are now working as Doulas. (http://SacredHeartbeatDoulas.com) A new way to use my herbs and my expertise but very different from what I have been doing. I have a great desire to farm, and I can visualize my herb gardens, my vegetables gardens, the orchard, the wild land left untouched so the wild life have a place to be and the wild herbs can flourish, and the animals. But the animals are not going to be for meat and milk. We will rescue some furry farm kids and allow them a life of fun and ease and love. That feels tremendously right to us. I will eat plant based, because I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthier when I do. I will continue to write to inspire. My family is the most important aspect of my life. Everything else will be filed under, the past. All of that matches my new year’s mantra;

“Lead with love and promote life.”

What will your mantra be?

Saving Money with Free Activities

Maybe you would like a cheese press, or a new hoe.  Maybe a few goats or maybe you realize that every hour of your life is valuable and perhaps you would like a few of them to not be working a job, but rather enjoying your homestead.  In everything, we save money so we can spend on something else, whether it be a new tree or time in a lawn chair with a good book.

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For us, our budget buster is entertaining ourselves.  In a weekend we can easily blow through a few hundred dollars just by visiting a fun strip of antique shops, a few restaurants- it goes fast!  So we try to entertain ourselves with as many free things to do as possible, so we can maybe save for a down payment on a farm in the country or pay the caterer for our child’s wedding!

We had a habit for a long time of meeting our growing family for a meal.  The kids live in all directions and it was just easier to find a central spot and enjoy dinner.  A few hundred dollars, a loud restaurant, and a bit of chaos later, we knew there had to be a better way.  Due to the screwy weather around here, we celebrated Father’s Day yesterday instead of last week.  We still donned winter hats and coats but the sky stayed clear and only a few rain drops threatened our merry band.

We all brought something to eat to share.  Andy and Bree brought chips and prickly pear soda.   Shyanne baked triple berry hand pies and poppy seed muffins.  Emily and Reed brought homemade mini quiches.  I made a mulberry coffee cake and brought along a few thermoses of coffee.  Andy also brought along his ukulele.  What a treat!

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We met at a glorious hidden park in the middle of Colorado Springs filled with hiking trails and trees, rock formations, and wildlife.  Acres and acres of breathtaking beauty, as only Colorado can dole out.

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Cost?  Free.  Priceless time together.

 

Some other ideas for free entertainment:

We have an antenna on our television set instead of cable.  We can see basic channels so we can watch The Voice and most Bronco games.  The rest of the time it stays unplugged behind a painting.

We get free movies from the library.  If it looks interesting, we grab it.  We have seen a lot of wonderful films this way.  We jot down movies from the previews of the films we like and the list goes on.  We particularly love clever British films, especially with Maggie Smith.  New movies are at the library as well.

We utilize the library for our reading.  Reading is free and perhaps the most wonderful entertainment of all, as you can travel the world, see sights, eat foods, meet characters, live different lives, laugh, cry, get inspired!  I do buy books that are not available at the library, but the vast majority of my reading is from the library shelves.  For free.

Museums and zoos all have free days.  Museums and zoos in small towns are a lot more affordable and often less crowded and more fun.

We take long, meandering walks.  It gives us time to talk without distractions and we get exercise.

Play an instrument.  Have fun with the piano, guitar, or ukulele!  The chickens love good music.

I wouldn’t venture to say hobbies are free but there are ways to make them affordable and are a wonderful use of time.  Crocheting, cooking, sewing, painting, wood working, and so many more activities are actually homesteading activities that sweeten life and lead to a simpler, more peaceful lifestyle,

Pull up a lawn chair and grab a drink and set up in the chicken yard.  There’s nothing better on cable television than that!

 

What activities do you do that are free to entertain yourselves?

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The Importance of Hobbies (doing more of what we love)

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What did you love to do as a kid?   Or a young adult?  I used to love to do many things drawing.  I do a good job of trying to keep up with my hobbies and passions but a few things start to creep in.  My closet is already filled with paintings!  Art supplies and frames cost money.  What will I do with all of them?  I sell about two paintings a year.  Now what do I do with the rest?  And then there is the ever, well, I am not quite as good as other artists…I try to quiet down these rogue thoughts that try to keep me from doing hobbies I love.

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I have moved to an enchanting place.  It is the most beautiful and most magical place I have ever lived.  I have seen bald eagles, two different types of owls, hawks, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, antelopes, horses running across miles and miles of open pasture, and sunsets and sunrises that have left me in awe.  Without the neighbors and buildings so close, like in town, I have been able to greet the dawn as soon as she makes her way over the ridge of prairie grasses and it fills with me a sense of peace as I admire her colors and paintings.  I want to capture them as well.

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I purchased some pastels and paper from the store and woke up before dawn each morning and painted a different scene from each window.  There are more dawns to capture, and sunsets too, as soon as the weather warms.  I placed them in frames that were on sale and will take them to a local coffee shop.

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If you are an artist, a previous artist, or a budding artist, you can call around coffee shops and ask to hang your art work.  Many of them will let you sign up for a month at a time.  They get rotating art from local artists and you get exposure and perhaps sell a piece or two.

Another piece I will display this month.

Another piece I will display this month.

I am also going to look into Etsy.  And art galleries.  And displaying art at our shows (though I do not like doing outdoor markets with art.  Too nerve racking!  One gust of wind and….eek!)  The point is, if we love to do something, even if it doesn’t bring us an income, then we should find ways to incorporate it into our lives and if it is only because things are piling up in the back room that we stop, then we should share our hobbies with the world.

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I gave art as Christmas presents this year and sold one.  This month at the coffee shop I will bring my new pieces and a few of the old.

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The landscape out here is different than any other I have lived in, even though I am a Colorado native, it’s like I have never seen my own state before.  Out here feels like one western painting after another.  Like every piece of fine art portraying western scenes was painted out here.  I also bought an inexpensive set of oil paints.  I used to paint with oils and I would like to try it again.  Why not?  When it gets warmer I will be out on the roadside attempting to capture a snippet of what God’s painting looks like.

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How to price art?  Let’s talk about that.  Few can afford fine art these days.  Don’t price your art according to the huge dealers downtown.  One would be hard-pressed to get $700 in a small town or even a big town these days.  Price it reasonably.  Then you’ll have more room to make more art and a little change in your pocket.  I am going to sell my pastels for $20.  After the 20% the coffee shop takes and the cost of frame I will make $11.  But I loved creating it.  It made me get up and view the dawn, to greet the day, and it was a pleasure pursuing what I love.

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What would you like to do this year?  Grab a sketchbook?  Start quilting?  Start a blog?  Learn to make cheese?  Take a dance class?  Finish a project from a long time ago?  Go to a knitting club?  Let’s spend this year doing as many things as possible that we love!