Keep Calm…and Don't be a Jerk, ok?

April 1st

This year for April Fool’s Day Rob and I decided to play our own little joke. At midnight we both posted a picture of Rob, grinning, holding a pregnancy test, to our Facebook walls; in the hopes to create a gossipy stir amongst our friends and family. (We are NOT pregnant; we checked we didn’t want Karma to bite us in the butt.) Now, this may seem a little cruel to some, giving false hope to our loved ones. But allow me to explain why we did this;

Rob and I have been married 1yr+, we’ll have been together for only 3years this summer.

Now in our society there are certain expectations for the timing of your life as you grow older. You should date someone for a while, then get engaged, have a long engagement, throw a wedding that will drown you in debt but impress all your “friends” and family, then when you’ve been married for 6months-1year, you should get pregnant, commence baby making, helicopter, organic parenting stage, then when your little darling is 2-3years old, you should have another baby, and continue on this cycle for approx. 3-5 little heathens…I mean darling, talented, special, brilliant, children. And so on until you’ve sent them all to college and paved their way in life at any cost, at which point you attempt to retire somewhere and live out the rest of your days being cared for by people who are not your family.

                So according to society, Rob and I should have one baby by now; we are not following the unwritten timeline. AND PEOPLE ASK US ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME! Or feel that it’s ok to insinuate that we might be.  Really people?

Since when is it ok to poke into other people’s lives, particularly with such old-fashioned expectations? Its 2012, we have been blessed with so many wonderful things in the modern world, which has given us more freedom of choice than ever before, let’s have a little respect for people and their choices or lack there-of. We live in a wonderful era, it may not seem like it all the time, but make a study of any period in history you’ll find we have it made here in America.

All I ask is that you take some time to have a meaningful, or fun, or silly, or philosophical conversation. We love those kinds of questions much more than “So, got any little ones on the way? (Or variations thereof)” as they say all nonchalantly, dripping with curiosity. Or go on pinterest and get your baby fix there. Don’t leech it from us poor untraditional 20-somethings

  Now, I’ll get down from my horse and just say this; Rob and I are not in our ideal place to start a family yet. We’d like to at least have a house (which we are currently working on), then we’ll consider it. So in the meantime we are taking measures to stick to the time that is right for us. Though if God decides to bless us with a little one we would be ok. And we’d really appreciate it if everyone quit asking us about it. If we have real news to share of a new addition, I promise it will be all over Facebook as soon as we know.

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Hard Times Come Again No More

Me and my Ukelele, not great but getting better.

In other news, after taking our parents through the beautiful house, we are doing some hard thinking about whether or not this is the right thing for us. I still love the house, but I’m not convinced anymore on the price or logistics of it. So we shall see, in the meantime it’s almost time for summer to start up again! Which means our annual move back to Mackinac Island! Now I just need to figure out how exactly to pack up a 3 bedroom house…….

Change on the horizon?

Life has been pretty hectic these last few weeks. First things first, I got a Ukulele for my birthday! (which is 2 months from now, but hey! who doesn’t love early presents. 😀 ) So I’m learning how to play that, it’s surprisingly easy.

Rob and I, also have traveled nearly the entire northern half of the lower peninsula in just the last week visiting friends and family and going to classes. Needless to say, I am sick of being in the car.

But our most exciting news, is that we have an opportunity to buy a house, our dream house, complete with the little bit of land we need to pursue our dream of homesteading. About a month ago I was heading downstate to meet my mom, to travel with her and my grandparents to Virginia to clean out the apartment of my great grandmother who passed away January 15. As soon as I left Mackinaw City, I knew I was in for a long trip. The day before the weather had been unusually mild and warm, so a lot of the snow was melting. Overnight, temperatures dropped below freezing, just in time for me to leave early that morning. Everything was ice. The highway was just a sheet of ice with a little bit of snow on top. The trip to Gaylord usually takes about 45min…it took me nearly 2 hours to get there. Gaylord sits on the 45th parallel, which seems to cause a lot of crazy weather. It was nearly whiteout blizzard conditions. I stopped in Gaylord and walked around some of the stores trying to put my organs back where they belong. Meanwhile I was on the phone with my Mom, who’s in Kalamazoo, she was online looking at the weather reports and maps trying to help me figure out a different way to get downstate. Finally, navigating over the phone for me, we were able to find a small country “highway” that led to a county road, that led to 131 (where I needed to be). As

Driving through a nerve wracking blizzard on County Road 42

I’m driving down the snow covered county road, with big trucks and semi’s flying around me. I pulled over periodically to let them pass. The last point along the road, I had pulled over onto this small side street and when I looked up there, across the road, was this beautiful old yellow house.

WITH A FOR SALE SIGN! AND, a Land Contract sign attached to it! Which is how we had planned on buying our property. I wrote down the number and continued on my way. I made it safely to Virginia and back.

Now my story picks up again a few days after I got home from Virginia. I called the phone number from the sign just to get more information about the house. I assumed that it would be WAY out of our price range, like most beautiful historic homes are.

The guy who owns the house, Rick, called me back that afternoon and began to tell me all about the house. How it was built in 1903, for the head railroad executive, much of the house is original, or been nicely updated. The Parlor (yes..it has a PARLOR instead of living room 😀 ) has beautiful old growth oak floors, the kitchen has beautiful maple floors. The whole house has gorgeous hardwood floors. He stripped and repainted the kitchen cabinets, which have a flour holder/sifter built into them! He tore down and rebuilt an addition that had been added onto the house, to create a large laundry/mudroom. The house has all new electrical up-to-code wiring, new plumbing and brand new furnace, new water heater, new well pump, he put on a new 100 year tin roof, added on to the front porch to make it a wraparound, the ceiling for the porch was taken from a house on Mackinac Island. It has 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, plus an extra sink outside the bathroom. It has a michigan basement, with easy inside access, which would make a PERFECT cellar. The road that it’s on is very busy which is Pro/Con. Pro, we can have a roadside stand (there’s no zoning restrictions) and all that traffic means customers! Con, well it’s a lot of traffic. The house is 2 miles from 131 and about 15/20 minutes from Gaylord and 75. But it’s still in the country and feels like country. There are power lines on the property, which is an advantage, when we build outbuildings we’ll be able to hook up electricity fairly easily. It sits on 2 acres which is honestly more than enough to do what we need to for the moment. Rick also owns the property next door, which has 20 acres some of which he’s willing to to lease or let us farm. It is our dream home. Rick mentioned it, Rob and I have talked about it and it really feels like God is at work here. He put me there to first see the house, He’s been sending help our way  left and right. We just need a little bit more. The total price of the house is $80,000. It’s ours for $15,000 down then $600 a month after that. Keep us in your prayers, and if you feel moved  to help us out, you can Donate (just click it, it will open in a new window) directly to our PayPal, every penny goes towards the homesteading dream.

This was taken a few weeks after the snowstorm, you can see how beautiful it is.

If you want to learn a little bit more about what we have in mind, check out the page at the top “The Wayfaring Homestead Dream”

“One Bite at a Time” Book Review

I just finished an e-book “One Bite at a Time; 52 projects for making life simpler” by Tsh Oxenreider.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Bite-Time-Projects-ebook/dp/B005MZGZ84/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328553258&sr=8-1

(she has a blog “Simplemom.net” which I have not checked out yet, but will!) I highly recommend this for really any modern woman. In her book she presents 52 “projects” which are mostly good habits to foster. These are all things that she uses and implements in her own life. One of the ones that I almost immediately adopted was her daily “To-Do” list. She emphasizes over and over again throughout her book to do what you can, take baby steps until you reach your full goal. Project 39 is to create a daily to-do list. Most people’s lives are too unpredictable to make a minute by minute schedule, so instead she suggests making a “skeleton” to-do list, with no more than 10 things on it. You create this list one day at a time and make sure that your list is reasonable. (for example, if one task is going to take 3 hours, than maybe that day will only have 8 items) She also doesn’t put a time on anything unless it requires a time. (like appointments or mealtimes) and each day has 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) so if nothing but those three things gets done, its a good day.

So I started this habit, except given my current retirement I have less pertinent things to do, the day before I pick 3 things to do. (Writing this post was one of them today!) I got this great App on my Kindle Fire, Tasks N Todos. (their website is http://www.handy-apps.com) which is where I put my list. But paper is also great for this! 😉 Then the next day I do my quiet morning stuff (Project 3) and eat my frog (project 1) then do my three tasks. Since I’ve started this, I’ve been able to cross off things on my “I wish I had time to do this” list. On my own, I think about all the STUFF I have to do, and then end up not doing any of it, because it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. So by taking my list and turning it into bite size tasks, I can get more done. I don’t have to worry about the rest of the list, or the project or anything, all I have to do is the only little piece I wrote down, and if I do more, it’s a bonus! And once it is done, I get to cross it off my list. (which for a visual, list-oriented person like me, it’s very satisfying) and I can do the things I want to do, like play games, without feeling guilty.

Tsh’s whole book is full of good habits and methods and wisdom. It’s by far, the most reasonable, down-to-earth, homemaker advice book that I have ever read. All of her projects are reasonable, reachable and they really make a difference in making life run smoother. She does a good job of utilizing modern perks (She uses Pintrest, and Netflix) and more traditional methods (like Project 23, Turn off your TV regularly) I am really looking forward to (unlimited) home internet, so I can spend more time browsing her blog. For the rest of the world, I would highly recommend picking up an e-copy of her book, it’s $5 in the Amazon store, and totally worth it!

Between The Scenes

This is a somewhat crappy recording I took in Colonial Williamsburg at a special program called “Between The Scenes” where the wonderful costumed interpreters there performed some of the short skits that would have originally been played during scene changes in the 18th century. They were really really wonderful.

The Christmas Letter

Growing up my mom/dad always used to write a little letter about the highlights of the past year, and include it in the Christmas cards they sent out. There was also the occasionally family that sent similar letters to us. In any case it’s a nice way to keep up with people you don’t get to see or talk to all the time. And since Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year, I didn’t have to time to send out cards, so this is the letter I would have included to each of you with my card.

2011 has been a year of changes and of challenges and blessings. Just before the year began, on Christmas Eve of 2010, Rob and I said our vows to each other and got married. The past year has been at times a challenge for both us, as we learn what it means to be husband and wife, and to live with each other and communicate (well try to!) with each other. Most of the time, God has blessed us greatly with patience and understanding and above all happiness. We spent the first four months living with his mom and her guy in their rather large split-level house, with a small herd of cats (much to my delight! J ), before we made our annual move in May to Mackinac Island. There both of us worked for Mackinac State Historic Parks as historic interpreters. Rob worked mainly as an 1880’s American Soldier until the Blacksmith took him under his wing. Rob apprenticed with the Blacksmith for the remainder of the summer until taking over his duties in full in the Fall. He also worked as a tour guide for the Haunts of Mackinac, leading ghost tours around the island.

I worked the same position I’ve had for the last 5 years, as a historic house interpreter, which meant anything from cooking over an open 1830’s hearth, to leading visitors in 1880’s dances, to blacksmithing. I was sort of the jack-of-all-trades for the parks. I also worked in a new coffee house that opened up for it’s first summer, “The Lucky Bean” I was a barista there in the mornings. That job was a blast, I learned how to make delicious drinks and got to meet a lot of cool people! My boss Carolyn, was also kind enough to allow local artists and crafters to sell their goods in her shop, and I had great success selling handcrafted wood-burned jewelry there.

Several times over this summer, God blessed us repeatedly, he provided housing and income and but Rob in the right place to become the full time blacksmith (which includes a raise). And once the season was over and we left the island for the winter God continued to bless us. He connected us with a cozy 3 bedroom house we share with our friend LeeAnn. He provided enough money this summer that neither of us have to work this winter, so we “retired” I get to spend my days however I please, crafting or drawing, or playing games. I have time to cook yummy dinners and I even learned how to Can food this fall! LeeAnn’s been great  showing us around all the cool music things Northern Michigan has to offer, we play music every Wednesday with a couple older guys in the next town over. We’re also able to have our feline friends with us, Pax, our new-old cat, is a 12 year old guy we rescued from the Shelter. He’s been a joy to have around. We’ve also got one of my old friends from Rob’s Mom’s, Orange Kitty, (a big orange tabby) Who’s taught Pax a thing or two about sharing.

2011 was a good year, and I expect the next one to be even better. God has truly blessed us, more than I can imagine, and I know He’s got even more good things in store.  May He bless you too as you start your New Year.

Thankful

ah, yes it is that time of year again. When American’s everywhere are gathering with friends and family to sit down and eat themselves silly, planning their Black Friday shopping bonanza. This wonderful holiday called Thanksgiving. There is much discussion in our house about the origins of Thanksgiving, about the way the First Thanksgiving actually happened. Personally, considering the modern holiday in and of itself, it’s by far one of my favorites! I am so excited about the pie this year…..All that yummy food….

But there is also the meaning of this particular holiday, to give thanks for the things we have been blessed with. Now, we really should give thanks every day of the year, but it’s easy to forget to do that in all the hustle and bustle and stresses of life, so when this time of year comes around that reminds us to be thankful, we ought to do it. And that’s what I’m going to dedicate this post to.

 

I am thankful.

 

I am thankful for the way we’ve been blessed. I am healthy, Rob is healthy. We are warm, we have good food to eat, and plenty of it. We have electricity and running hot water. Time to slow down and enjoy life. We are safe. We are so blessed. We have good friends around us, good family back home.

I am so thankful, for everything. I am thankful for Rob, to have been blessed with a loving, kind husband. I’m thankful that he does the dishes and always offers me the last bite of whatever treat we’re sharing. I am thankful for all the little things he does to make sure that I am safe and warm and comfortable. I’m thankful to him for encouraging and supporting me in all the quirky things I do, in my artwork, in my new quest to find my voice, in my cooking (though he benefits greatly from that 😉

More and more I am so, so thankful to my parents for providing a phenomenal childhood, for their endless support and guidance and encouragement. I’m thankful to my siblings, as crazy as they may be, for being awesome and funny and I count all of them as not just siblings but friends. I am especially thankful as I realize that not everyone is that blessed to have friend siblings.

And I am always thankful for all the ways God has seen to bless us in. It is truly amazing.

 

I don’t know that there have been many times in my life when I have been as utterly content as I am now. Life is good.

 

I look forward to another year of blessings, and will do my best to remember to give thanks every day.

 

What are you thankful for?