Friday, October 2, 2015


The Intentional Living Project

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thank You...

This is the post in which I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of the Goats Milk Lattes community.  Thank you for the kind comments, and helping me believe that I could actually give this blogging gig a real shot.

I hope you will continue to be part of this journey over at my new site Sarah On Purpose.
You'll find Thankful Thursday and Simple on Purpose over there now... as well as my soul's cry for kindness, mothering and the search for church.  Join me tomorrow as I launch Sarah On Purpose.  There will be a giveaway... just in case nothing else I wrote entices you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple on Purpose: Myths About Simple Living

One of the things that scared me about simple living and minimalism at first was that it would mean huge sacrifice and feeling like I was lacking.  In case you have those same fears let me dispel some of the myths surrounding this lifestyle change for you.

Myth #1 You won't have what You need when You need it. 

The Truth:
First you need to discover the difference between needs and wants.  I get it!  We are creatures of comfort.  Sometimes a want feels like a serious need.  Do I want to have the perfect wool coat to wear with my little black dress to the once a year Christmas party I attend?  Absolutely!  But reality is I have a perfectly fine ski jacket and really my outer wear will only be seen briefly when I arrive and when I leave so I can be perfectly content with it and I only need one warm coat.
Second surely you won't purge anything you use on a regular basis.  If you are a smoothie nut... keep your blender and that specific long handled spoon that reaches all the way to the bottom of your blender to scrape out the delicious drips that linger down there. 
Third anything you don't have that you absolutely genuinely can't make do without can probably be picked up in a thrift store fairly easily.  In fact Tsh Oxenreider has a mind blowing post about using a thrift store as a storage unit it's quite brilliant.

Myth #2 You'll feel like you're lacking

The Truth:
I used to have an enormous wardrobe.  I mean spilling out of drawers, covering the floor, couldn't find a thing I wanted to wear because I couldn't find a thing anyway.  And every single item I owned was cheap.  I bought it because it was on clearance, or a screaming thrift store deal, or because someone else was eyeing it up at a garage sale so I had to have it!  It didn't matter that the shirt was high visibility yellow... it only cost $2!
Since I've moved on to a capsule wardrobe of 33 items or less I get to be much more intentional about my purchases and choose quality items that are better made and have a better fit.  I still buy the things I want on sale sometimes, but it's because I have waited for it to be on sale, not because I walked in to the store and it just happened to spot it on the clearance rack.  I'll write more about capsule wardrobes in another post.
Now that I love everything I wear I do not miss any of my old cheap outfits.  

Myth #3 You won't fit in with your friends anymore.

Thrift store shopping and yard sales are 2 of my favorite ways to spend time with friends, but what's the fun in that if you don't need to buy anything and you won't want to bring home a bunch of stuff to re-clutter your house?  Here are 2 ways I tackled this fear:
  1. I still shop.  I love to wander around looking at other people's junk.  The difference is I have a purpose in mind.  For instance, at the moment I am on the hunt for a teapot.  I have recently started to enjoy drinking tea with my family and it would be a whole lot easier if I could just make 1 pot rather than brewing each individual cup.  So when I go out treasure hunting I have a specific treasure in mind.
  2. We find other things to do... There are pubs and coffee shops to chat in.  I've taken in more than a few concerts and plays since I've started this minimalism gig.  And if you're really stuck for something to do there's always (gasp) physical exercise.  Go for a hike, take up kayaking, or join a class together. 
If you're worried that you won't be keeping up with trends in your group of pals... don't worry about it... good friends just won't care what you wear.  Well unless you break out the booty shorts and crop tops.  I say purge those.

What am I missing?  What fears are you holding you back from taking the plunge?  What questions do you have? 


Friday, March 13, 2015

How to Prevent a Mommy Tantrum

Child!  Why must you do so many things that stress me out?  When will you understand that I NEED silence?  Please please let your food go from the bowl to your mouth without spilling for just one meal time today!  

I can feel the pressure building inside of me.  I'm trying to breath deep.  I've been successful at holding it together up 'til now... what's a few more hours?  

I'll go to Pinterest... there's bound to be some inspirational quote or blog post on how to not lose your shit on your children.  Seriously kid!  Stop asking me for a story!  Can't you see I'm trying to self improve here!  More deep breathing... this time with my eyes closed.  All of those bloggy, Pinterest moms already have it all together anyway.  What would they know about wanting to vaporize your children for just an hour of peace?

I know!  I'll get proactive... It must be the clutter driving me crazy... not my children.  Small victories... the counter is cleared and wiped, the dishwasher unloaded and then loaded again... What the heck!  What in the world made you think it was a good idea to take the clean spoons I just put away and scoop dirt out of the plants on to the shag area rug.  Really kid... you just aren't quite understanding the gravity of the situation here are you?  


I should call someone.  Except that would mean admitting that I feel like I am on the verge of being a bad mom.  It means losing my pride.  It means exposing my most vulnerable place.  Plus who has the time to hear my miseries.  I'll just sit here and wallow in being afraid and make up excuses, and telling myself lies. 

There is a truth though, the truth is I want to be told "You are not alone."  Not so I can continue along the same life sucking path. Not so I can feel like I have permission to actually explode.  Because this is not every day... And the guilt that comes after a mommy tantrum is way worse than trying to clean potting soil out of the carpet. Maybe the next sentence can be "Have courage friend, I'll pray for you and then you can try again."  Then I will gain strength, and head back to the trenches with a little healing, and try to do better.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday #30

Each Thursday write about what you are thankful for.  It can be a whole list of things or a post focused on the one things you are most thankful for that week. 

This week I'm thankful for:

Podcasts... I listen to them when I'm doing chores, when I'm driving, even when I'm in the bathtub.  My favorites are:

  • The Moth a collection of people telling very interesting stories.
  • The Robcast Rob Bell's new podcast
  • Happier Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft giving tips on how to be happier and answering listener questions.
  • The Art of Simple Tsh Oxenreider and a guest have charming conversations about life and the ways they are making simpler choices. 
Jackson Pollock inspired artwork

New Art... New, one of a kind, cheery paintings. Created by the little finger that live here... they greatly improve the log wall don't ya think?

Friends... The ones who send me pins of cute orthotic friendly shoes... the ones who are just a text away... and the ones who take risks with their vulnerability. Thank you for being in my monkey sphere. 
Yummy yummy taco

Taco Tuesday... Cheap tacos and that delicious red sauce from Senior Froggy's.  Plus the company of my Craig.  Who could ask for anything more?

Daily Photos... Finding the little moments and capturing them. 

Coffee... Enough said.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Simple on Purpose: My Story

I  had a messy bedroom my entire youth.  Oh sure every once in a while I would be inspired to clean up all of my crap... cramming it into drawers and my closet, only to see it all toss itself on the floor and pile itself up on every flat surface it could find within a couple of days.

Then I became an adult and I soon had an entire house to fill up with "treasures"  and junk.  I would buy clothes that I loved... for a little while.  If it was cheap and on sale, the chances that it would end up belonging to me increased at least 75%... if it was free it was definitely coming home with me.  I loved yard sales and thrift stores and would spend weekends on "thrift" shopping sprees.  Adding to the heaps of stuff I already owned.

Side note: I still love yard sales and thrift stores, but I approach them with much more intention than I used to.

Unfortunately all of these prize possessions started to create more havoc than pleasure.  My cluttered house was a heavy burden.  My attitude was crumby.  I was stressed out.  My stuff was making me a basket case.

Thrift Store Treasures...
It took me stepping back and realizing that nothing I had ever purchased was helping me be a better mom, a more loving wife or a kinder person.  Not a single knickknack, piece of clothing or gadget made me a better human being.  In fact my serial consumerism was even making me a worse citizen to the earth.  My consumption of  cheap goods meant that I was exploiting people who worked in abhorrent situations. Think sweatshops and slavery.  And my habits were also causing more landfill waste.

I needed to change.  And that's what I did.  Do I still have to stuff?  Yes.  Do I still love clothes and unique decor? You bet! Do I still have toys for my kids to play with?  Of course!  We are just more selective about the things we actually love, use and bring home. 
I want you to know that simplicity and minimalist living isn't something that I'm naturally good at.  It takes intentional choice and a considerable amount of forethought. My ideas of living simple on purpose is going to look different than your ideas, my hope is that we will inspire each other.

Dear friend if you are surrounded by heaps of stuff, if your house seems to be closing in on you, I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are feeling shameful of your current house situation, take a deep breath, if you want to change that you can. If you are overwhelmed by all of the activities and events on your calendar, you can create more white space and freedom.

Stick around and we will journey into a less complicated lifestyle  that is much more in line with our individual purposes, together.

photo credit: New at Rikki's Refuge Re-Tail 1/10/15 via photopin (license)

How I'm Creating an Environment of Belonging

I've been on the road quite a bit over the last few day, and that has given me some multitasking moments to finish Daring Greatly by Brene` Brown ...on audio book... Don't worry, I am not so confident in my multitasking to think that I can read and drive at the same time.
Now I know I wrote about this same book last week, but it's had quite an impact on me... and well it's my blog and I'll write about what I want to write about. :)

So Brene` and I have been travelling around together and she is making some phenomenal points about whole heartedness and being the adult that I want my children to grow up to be... and then she brings up the difference between fitting in and belonging.

A Facebook status she wrote in 2012 sums it up quite well... 12 year old wisdom on fitting-in vs. belonging: "If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, it's fitting in." Amen. 

I don't often write about homeschooling on this blog... in fact I have a whole different blog for that... but I do write about mothering and sometimes the homeschool part of my parenting overflows.

One of the reasons I homeschool my children is because I want them to have the freedom to be who they want to be in a place where they feel like they belong no matter what.  I want them to be able to experiment with their mannerisms and tweak their personalities in a place where they feel safe to do so and are free from peer influence that may dictate that they experiment with other peoples behaviors, or be demoted to the bottom of the classroom pecking order.

The scary part is, after making a statement like that, I need to examine whether or not that is true in my home.

Ways I'm creating an environment of belonging well:

  • I have been exploring who I am and modelling growth and positive change for my kids. Since January I have completed the Upstream Field Guide, I have been working through The Grief Recovery Handbook with a friend, and I have sought out books like Daring Greatly.  All of these courses and books are adding awesomeness to the way I think and move through life, and hopefully showing my kids that we never stop growing. 
  • I'm empowering my kids to make their own choices. It's taken me 30 some odd years to be able make solid decisions about opportunities that come my way.  And I'm still not that confident about the my final verdicts.  I am starting early with my kids and letting them decide about a lot of the events and classes available to them.  Not all of them though... because really I am still the mom.  
  • I try new things. On a recent trip to Vancouver I tried Ramen for the first time... did I love it? No... but how would I know unless I tried.  I didn't make my kids try it.  They ate tried and true pasta and meat sauce, but they saw me try it and I hope they took notice.  I've also taken a mug making class which inspired my 2 oldest children to sign up for a 10 week pottery course.  We are working o being adventurous together.
  • I step back. Sometimes I have to hold my hands together to keep from "correcting" an art project. I have to close my lips about a "creative" outfit choice or hair style ... but I do it.  I do it because this is their time to figure out what they like and hopefully they will have a strong sense of what it means to belong vs. fit in. 
  • I am available. As much as I step back, I am also there.  I am there to give guidance on a project.  I am there to hear the story of how so and so's heart was broken by an unkind sibling.  I am there to join in the grief and joy of their childhood.
I will try embrace this silliness

Ways I could improve our environment to be have more belonging:

  • Embrace silly. I really struggle with silly.  The immature senses of humor of my 3, 6 and 9 year old children sometimes make me cringe, but if my goal is to allow my children to explore who they are in a loving and safe place... I need to get on board the funny ferry and laugh along.
  • Talk about it. Working toward greater belonging just might go unnoticed if I don't actually inform the rest of my family of my goal... but telling people about your goal and then sometimes failing in front of them is a scary, vulnerable thing, which obviously makes it a conversation we need to have. 
  • Asking for help. I tell my kids all the time... bring me your books, just ask me for help... but I'm not a very good example of this.  I really don't like to be the student and I am often stressed out to ask question to clarify things.  I don't like to look or feel stupid.
Brene` has a printable on her site called The Whole Hearted Parenting Manifesto.  It's a beautiful declaration of who I want to be as Hudson, Meadow and Delaney's mother.  I have plans to print and frame it. 

Is your home a place of belonging or of fitting in?  What are you doing well?

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