I’m enjoying my semi sabbatical already. I’ve downloaded and scheduled out over a month worth of past Coffee with Kate videos and disabled the comments so I have no need to get on line at all. I’m free! Besides a little bit of email and some paying of bills online with my bank…I am offline.
And I already feel rested. I also am already feeling somewhat inspired but I’m going to force this rest this time and make it long. I have no guilt as I’ve set everyone up with a library of some rustic but charming old vlogs and I have been going through all of them one by one to weed out the boring and post the ones with something to teach or inspire. In so doing, I have inspired myself! I have also realized how far we’ve come and how much my family and I have changed in the last three years. It’s been an interesting experience.
Not being online is something I have talked about for the last few years. Now doing it I am remembering the peace, the quiet (except the kitchen radio, of course) and what it’s like to be present in my life with my family. I feel like I have so much time stretch out for me each day and I feel my mind wanting to continue to work, but I remind it to stay silent…we are on vacation to rest mind, body and soul.
Every vacation or retirement I attempted to take in the past couple years was really time I took off to work through buying a house and go through all that drama or to tend to a foster child. I never took time off to truly rest. I took vacations and filmed them, I visited family and filmed it and so on.
If we don’t take seasons to rest in quiet, almost isolated contemplation, we do not renew the spirit, fill the soul with new and fresh life. As artist our wells go dry and if we keep going it is akin to continuing to haul up empty buckets and not giving the well time and to refill itself.
I’m a little addicted to working. It is hard for me to lay about reading novels and staring out the window to ponder the theory of nothingness. But I need time to do just that. I need to shut it off, the hum of the working mind, the flashes of thought, the mill working 24/7 on useless and boring thoughts and memories that should have been packed up and donated to the thrift store long ago.
So, I walk all three dogs and two boys each day. I search Craigslist for any household necessities in the Free section. I clean shelves and purge boxes and bags of unnecessary things to put on the street for others to now enjoy. I chat on the phone, drink too much coffee and then clean some more. I’m playing with recipes and we are eating well.
I’m playing with my house and doing it all for free. What ever I order is from a gift card I earned. What ever I bring home was free off Craigslist. Such as that stove in the first photo. And this microwave and all these wonderful toys Sam is have a great time playing with.
I purchased this cheap cover with my gift card to make our free (off Craigslist again) chair look new.
Used an old oil can for the plant start, a jam jar for my pepper container. And for free I created new spaces for Arjan and I to do our much needed work. His school work and art and my home secretarial jobs and later my writing and filming.
I spent last night arranging this in my mind and with a hot cup of Bustelo I got to work this morning. I used everything in the house and on the porch. I’m so happy to finally have a desk. This was inspired from my old videos where I always had a desk. Arjan loves his space, he chose all these pieces and then decorated.
Sammy doesn’t have a desk but the man that gave us the stove and overhead microwave gave him a huge storage tupperware box filled with all those Playmobil toys. There is the ship and people, parts and gadgets, police station, zoo and so on. Christmas came early for that kid.
Other free delights are all the good music channels on YouTube I’m enjoying during the day when I don’t want a lot of news and racket. And a channel one of you suggested that I’m loving!! Green Renaissance channel on YouTube. They are little documentaries on peoples deep thoughts, simple life, loving yourself, the Earth, finding your purpose and so on.
This is the coffee music channel I was listening to today.
This was the beautiful, free forest art the boys and I found while walking the dogs in the forest. Sometimes we find some trash, sometimes we bring a bag and clean it up. Not often do we have to deal with garbage. But this was a surprise treasure.
There are so many things we can enjoy that are free. So many things we can find that we need, also free. But you have to search patiently. I find that being home and not wasting time online gives me time to hunt and peck and find goodies on the street, at thrift stores, garage sales…and then online with Craigslist, yes. I have time to feather our nest and play around with it so everyone has a room or some corner and the whole house is pleasing for us all. I have time to enjoy nature and take my human and furry children out for walks to play and explore.
I continue to blog now and then when I have something to share. In time I will return to my channel and do a fun, charming, rustic style vlogging to inspire and teach others to take up a simpler way, dump the “stuff” holding them hostage, and create a life that serves them instead of being slaves to a mortgage, a commute, a dreary job. It can be done. I’m living proof.
We’ve worked long and hard to get to this Utopia. But we had to be willing to sacrifice the mainstream life for a life of happiness and easy living. It wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a gift we never would have experienced had we not been open and willing to live a small life, to have one car for years, to live debt free and paying in cash, to learn to make our own bread, milks, yogurts, and scratch cooking to save big bucks on groceries, to walk to town and become well known at the local library.
But what joy I get from cooking from scratch (not all the time, but most days), to knead bread in a warm kitchen and ponder life, to hang laundry out in the sun and take some time to be alone, or working in the earth to grow free, organic vegetables and fruit. I don’t know why the smell of the Earth soothes me. I feel all’s right with the world when I go out to water my garden and the first shoots have sprouted.
There is also something so deeply satisfying about fixing up an ugly and forgotten house. You can’t help but fall in love with it after you have spent seasons scrubbing, painting, tearing away ugly carpets to reveal the old beauty beneath.
Living cheap and sometimes free takes some work, some planning and navigating. I educated myself on frugality and kept trimming out all the unimportant things to save money and time for what truly mattered; raising my children, being at home permanently, having shelter we can afford, eating healthy, clean food, paying utilities with ease.
I have learned to plant a kitchen garden, can and preserve food, to halt online shopping or earn gift cards, and throw any pridefulness out the window when accepting hand me downs or searching through a box on the street with a free sign. But hey, I also put out a lot of boxes of free stuff and post on Craigslist often in the free section myself. What goes around comes around. I give something that doesn’t work for us anymore and then I receive something perfectly suited.
We are on our second fixer upper. These houses were no beauties. The first house had been forgotten for 13 years before I saw it and said, “I suppose we should put a bid in?” with much hesitation. But after we turned it into a charming cottage with just fruit trees and paint, the next ugly house was a solid, “we’ll take it!”.
Be open, take some risk, think outside the box, downsize, simplify…times might be getting harder before a turn around. If you prepare you will sail through hardship with ease.
We’ll cover that soon.