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The Big Picture….. July 28, 2011

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So here’s the deal.  When I went into this challenge, I didn’t take into account something.  That something?  The fact that we are here to have fun.  It’s the whole point of life.  Living in the moment.  And to some people, a big part of enjoying your moments is feeling good in your own skin.  Representing your SELF with your style.  I hadn’t taken that into consideration when I put restrictions on our shopping.  I had thought that we could buy new(to us) clothes at value village and such, but hadn’t really given a thought to things like undergarments, accessories and bathing suits. I had hoped the need for these things wouldn’t come up during the year, but let’s be honest, there are six of us in this family.

I guess I wasn’t really looking at the big picture. 

The big picture being this.  I am a twenty nine year old woman, who recently remembered what it is like to get dressed with more in mind than how easy an outfit is to nurse in discreetly.  I remembered what it is like to dress in certain things because they make me feel good about ME.  And I realized, however belatedly, that I am raising two young ladies who also care a great deal about how they represent themselves, and each have their own totally individual style.  Upon realizing this, I promised them I would assist them in vamping up their “looks.”

As a side note, I also realized that I NEED a new bathing suit.  As my old one has completely stopped being stretchy.  Makes for opportunity for embarrassment there, don’t you think?

So, we are going shopping.  Some of the items we buy will not be second hand, as I refuse to buy a bathing suit or undies second hand.  I’m just not that hardcore.  Of course we will be hitting up value village as well…..but you get the picture.  I’m a big fat failure at my own freaking challenge.  Meh.

So while maybe I haven’t lived up to my own expectations, I have learned something at this half way mark in the year.

Things aren’t as black and white as we think they are.  Whatever your cause is, there is always a grey area.  For me this grey area comes in realizing that while I want to walk as gently upon our beautiful planet as I possibly can, I also am here to live in the moment and enjoy life.  And sometimes enjoyment is found in painting your toenails bright purple, dying your hair,  buying a new bra, or enjoying a fabulous cup of coffee.

I could potentially live my entire life attempting to cause absolutely no harm to our home planet and it’s inhabitants, while also feeling quite deprived of some of the niceties this age on our earth has to offer.  And while there are many niceties I have no interest in, there are some I would very much miss.

Or I can do this.  I can live in a way that is comfortable to me, being conscious of my choices at all times, even if i acknowledge that some of those choices are less than ideal.  If all of us made this small effort, the effort to boycott those things we don’t support, and pick and choose the things we do, it will have far more of an impact than one persons individual, though very admirable effort of a lifetime ever could.

So, are you with me?  I still plan on my “challenge” being with me every day, every purchase I make.  But I am, at times, going to cheat, or modify the rules, to suit my family and situation.

Yup, that’s me.  Total rule breaker.  Such a rebel…..

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Barn-Warming….. July 24, 2011

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We have some seriously generous, wonderful people in our lives.  Getting started with this property would have been much harder without them.

We have been gifted lovely outdoor wicker furniture, beautiful wall hangings for the house, plants for our flowerbeds (complete with volunteers who planted them!), and a wonderful dishwasher (can’t believe I’d been missing one of those…..).

All of those things were given to us as house-warming type gifts, to help us get settled in our new home.

But, as my mother pointed out, our home does not just consist of a house.  There is also a barn….and alot of yard.

And so we received barn warming presents as well.

These took the form of fifty-four bales of hay, and five laying hens.  Like I said before, these people are generous.

And to top it all off, we were also given a yard warming gift.  A nice little used john deere lawnmower complete with a red bow tied on it. 

I was starting to feel pretty strange about all of the wonderful things we have received in the past while, and commented to my father in law that although I understood that a flow of giving and taking is how the universe works, I didn’t feel we were giving nearly enough to deserve all we have been receiving.  His response,

 “You have given us four beautiful grandchildren, we can’t top that.”

That comment made me think.  It made me realize that these people all want to help us get started, because they have all been here before, or will be here again.  And that while we may not be able to repay them all in our lifetimes, we will have our chance to give more than we receive in our future, with younger generations. 

Because that’s just how it works.

It truly does take a village.  Not just to raise a child, but to live your life.  We are so very thankful for our village.  You know who you are.

And then there were two…… July 18, 2011

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Yesterday my lovely husband finished my pasture by building the gates.  Yes, he loves me very much.

While he was at the hardware store with our sons buying the hinges we needed to hang said gates (yup, another new purchase, gasp!) I rode my paint mare two concessions from my parents home, to our home.

This is where I will explain that my mare is not in the best athletic condition, having been retired for a couple of years.  And not only has she been retired, her previous job was not very strenuous in the first place.  So the ride took quite awhile, as we walked the entire way.  And when I say walked, I mean I also walked on my feet for part of this “ride”.  I am so glad I have her on my property now so that I can give her the excercise she so depserately needs.

But oh my, the deer flies!  My overweight, lazy friend actually wanted to jog at times, because they were biting her so much!  An aspect of summer trail rides I had totally forgotten about……suffice to say we were both so glad to get home.  And we are both fairly sore today, as I am not in the best riding condition myself after a break of over a decade.  My bum is sore today!

But the best part about our fence being finished and Blessing living here now didn’t arrive until today.  That best part arrived in a trailer, neighing her large, fool head off.  Boy, was Blessing ever excited.  She still is, although her new friend has tried to kick her several times since they met.

My lovely sister, devoted mother that she is, bought her horse crazy ten year old daughter her very own horse last weekend.  When we bought this property I told both my sister and neice that they were welcome to keep a horse here as well.  I had to offer, having been a horse crazy ten year old once myself.  (and now being a horse crazy twenty nine year old….)

So, I introduce you to Luna, the almost-too-large-for-her-owner new addition to our farm.  She seems to be settling in just fine, and I hope she will be a wonderful match for her excited young owner.

My apologies for the craptastic phone pictures.  My camera batteries are dead, and I’m entirely too lazy and impatient to wait for them to charge.

Life Without a Dryer….. July 5, 2011

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I’ve been dryer free for over two months now.  I still own a dryer, but it has never gotten hooked up since moving in to this home.

Do I mind you ask?  Not in the least.  In fact, I think it’s quite wonderful.

For years now I have wanted to get rid of my dryer, but haven’t been able to because I didn’t have the space for an indoor clothesline to line dry year round.  In this home, I do have the space.  Both indoors and out, I will have clotheslines.  (Huge thank you to a dear friend for the clothesline poles!)

The thing is, hanging out our laundry is a chore I actually like.  Shifting it from the washer to the dryer takes less time and effort, to be sure, but it just isn’t the same.  I like hanging it out, I like seeing our clothing hanging on the line, and I don’t even mind our towels being a wee bit crunchy at first.  It’s well worth it to me for the energy that we save by not using a dryer.

So tell me, what household appliance that we deem necessary in our modern society could you do without?

And, does anyone need a dryer?  Mine is taking up space where a nice big laundry sink could be…..