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Random Realizations

I’ve spent the last 30 years making someone else happy. Putting money in someone else’s bank. Paying for someone else’s family vacations. I’ve made huge salaries and worked long hours.

I have all the things that society says I need to have. When someone asks me what I would like for my birthday or Christmas, I really can’t think of a single thing to say.

I don’t ever have time to do the things I enjoy.

I have three kids that are all so wonderful. I feel like I feed them, make sure they shower and drive them around to the places they need to go. But I don’t spend much one on one time with any of them.

My wife is a dream. Truly an angel that deserves more than me. I hate to always disappoint her.

I’m overweight. I know what it takes to lose weight and get in shape. I’ve done it before. But I’m too lazy to do it now.

I don’t sleep enough. I’m always tired.

I spend more time in my car commuting to work than I spend with my kids everyday.

I don’t have a single friend that lives close to me. All my friends are from the past and live 100s of miles away.

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This video touches my soul

John Butler – Ocean

I listen to it almost every day. It makes me happy and the world just melts away.

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Free Minimalist Kindle Ebooks

Amazon has some great FREE Kindle ebooks pertaining to Minimalism. Check them out:

  1. The Joy of less: Volume 1 Discovering Your Inner Minimalist
  2. The Quest of the Simple Life
  3. Minimalism: Minimalist Living for Beginners – Frugal Living – Simplify your Life (Minimalism Lifestyle – Minimalism Made Easy – Minimalist budget Book 1)
  4. Minimalist: A Minimalism Guide for Decluttering Your Life and Living a Wonderfully Simple Lifestyle
  5. Five Bedrooms to Five Boxes: Living Simply with Purpose
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Back for more!

I think we are back?!

After two years of not blogging on this site, I need it back in our lives.

Update coming soon.

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My Journey is Over

It has now been 3 months since my last post here. I’m starting to think that my minimalist journey is over.

I don’t feel like I need to write anymore about this topic. I haven’t given up on minimalism, it is just a way of life for me now. I don’t have to think about. I just do it. I live with less and worry less.

I may blog about something different. I have new interests. But I’m not sure.

If I do I will provide a link here. If things changes in my life, the blog could come back alive. But don’t hold your breath.

Thank you for help from so many people during my journey. My life has changed so much.

So for now, I am saying goodbye.

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Turn Down the Noise

Life is noisy.

Work, traffic, neighbors, children, pets, relationships, politics, religion etc…

Eliminate what you can. Quiet the rest.

Listen to the beautiful silence.

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2013 New Year’s Resolutions

I know it is the end of January. But like last year I think that by this time most people have already failed at their New Year’s Resolution. So this seems like the perfect time to post ours.

Family Resolutions
1. New house – Five people in a three bedroom house is crowded. We will be looking for a four bedroom house with a game room this year.
2. Debt pay down – Slowly chip away at this.

Marc’s Resolutions
1. Gym – As I have posted in the past, gaining muscle is much easier for me then losing weight. So instead of saying that I will lose xx lbs. during 2013. I will create some lifting goals.

  • chest/triceps – add 60 lbs. to my bench press
  • legs – add 100 lbs. to my leg press

Both should be fairly difficult to accomplish in a year time frame. But I’m excited to see how close I can get..
2. JavaScript – I’ve used it since the mid-90’s but I have never really become an expert at it. EVERYTHING in my work world is using it more and more. Its time to really buckle down and become a guru.

Lisa’s Turn
I don’t do New Year Resolutions. Never really understood them. If you have something you want to change about your life, why wait until January 1st to do it? No, I don’t do New Year Resolutions. But I do have personal goals. They are organic and interconnected. They ebb and flow. They are malleable. They take turns in priority, depending upon where I am in my life and who is sharing life with me. Overall, I seek balance. Balance. And that means focusing on the whole instead of the parts. I am uninterested in focusing on two–or ten–goals to the exclusion of the whole. To do so would make as much sense as fertilizing only specific branches of a tree. No, I look to provide nourishment for the whole. That said, I do have areas in my (our) life where I’d like to see growth. So instead of New Year resolutions I offer an accounting of my whole.

Physical:
1. Weight – I see this as relatively balanced, despite the fact that I’m still overweight. Because I’m going in the direction I want to go, slowly and steadily. I’ve continued to lose weight without any real “plan.” I like that. It’s just coming off. Probably as a result of the life-changing happiness that I’ve experienced as a result of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Marc. Since I’m not sure how I’m doing it, really, I can’t say how I’ll keep it up but I hope that my general practice of listening to my body and responding as carefully as possible will result in a continued, slow, permanent weight loss.
2. Fitness – This is fun to write about. After FINALLY moving to Houston to live with my amazing (AMAZING) husband after 18months of LDR–six of that as husband and wife–Marc and I have become workout buddies. I love it!! Our aim is to get to the gym for strength training at least three times a week. The holidays made that schedule almost impossible but we’re getting back to our normal routine and looking to add two days of cardio to make our gym activity a five-day-a-week habit. I’ve seen changes in my body. There are muscles where I swear there never had been before. I’m increasing the weight lifted. I’m getting stronger. And I actually crave our workouts. This is something I very much intend to develop further in our lives. So I guess this is as close as I’m likely to come to a “resolution.” We’d like to increase our gym activity to 5day weeks. There. I said it.
3. Health – Yeah, this is a big place of imbalance for me. I deal with chronic pain. I’m wrestling with my blood sugar. And I’m winning. But there’s still work to be done. I left the most awesome doctors when I moved from Dallas to Houston. I’m really not all that interested in finding local replacements but I do understand that’s not sustainable. While I do still plan to drive to my “real” doctors for annual exams and special testing, I do need to get us settled in with a local doc for nuisance illnesses like flu and allergies. I found Marc a doctor at the beginning of the year. The idea is that we’ll get the kids to go to her, too. And I guess I’ll give her a call when I eventually get sick. Just not looking forward to seeing anyone other than “my” doctor in Dallas. Feels like I’m being unfaithful. Not good!

Mental:
4. Education – I am a teacher. But the idea of going back into the classroom hurts my stomach. Mass education in a rigid environment where teachers aren’t given the freedom to teach makes little sense to me. I believe in identifying a student’s learning style, helping them identify their interests, and providing them with whatever they need to follow their own, individual, educational path. I believe that tests are tools that should be used to measure knowledge and not a means of generating income. So, I homeschool my kids. It’s a completely different lifestyle from the one led by most everyone else we know. And it wasn’t a decision that came easily. I agonized over it because by staying home I’m not pulling my weight financially. By staying home, I’m a financial burden instead of a contributor. But Marc sees the need for and the benefits of homeschooling our kids and he’s in complete agreement that we should do it. We made the decision together. I’m glad we are. But there is imbalance created as a result. I am looking for ways to create income by working in the homeschool community. Having moved to Houston only recently, I’ve made few contacts but I will continue to work to meet people and seek out tutoring and teaching opportunities within Houston’s huge homeschool world.
5. Financial – The biggest imbalance in our life right now is financial. I have a little country house in rural Dallas that we had big hopes for selling. We put it on the market at the end of August and there has been no movement on it whatsoever. In fact, as it sits there vacant, it becomes worth less and less and time goes by. Because of thieves. Since we moved out there has been $10,000 worth of theft and damage done to my little empty house. They’ve stolen every piece of equipment and copper wiring there is to take on my 1.67 acres around the house. As it stands now, there is no electricity, no water, no septic, no air conditioner. And none of the theft or damage is covered by home insurance. This is the biggest imbalance–the biggest problem–that we have. This is what I want to change most during this year. If I made New Year Resolutions, if I thought that making a wish on January 1st would do the trick, then I’d need to find some way to make getting out from under this property my one and only New Year Resolution.

Emotional:
6. Happiness – here is one aspect of our life where I embrace imbalance. We are outstandingly happy. We have a love and a respect and a partnership that is unrivaled. Together, we make an amazing team. We are far happier than is believable. I’m talking Disney/Hollywood kind of happiness. Chick-flick happiness. Gooey, yummy, make-everyone-in-the-grocery-store-stare kind of happiness. We exude love and contentment. This part of us, this facet of our lives shines so warmly and brightly that it makes everything–any problems that we have–better. This imbalance, with the scales completely tipped in the direction of happiness, brings all the other closer to balanced.

So, really, I’m astounded because I find myself right this minute inspired. To resolve. To make a resolution. I know I said I don’t make resolutions but this little accounting exercise has brought sharply into focus that I do have a resolution of sorts after all. It’s not new. It’s not something I haven’t been doing all along. But it is an overriding, ever-present resolution that I make every day. And New Years Day is a day, too, just like all the rest. So here is my New Years Day resolution. Not your typical resolution, but then I’m not typical, either.

I, Lisa Morgan, resolve to continue to focus on the wholistic happiness and health of my family; to continue to work happily every day of my life to nurture them, to support them, and to enjoy them; to make make memories, observe traditions, and to bathe them in love, acceptance, and understanding.

Happy EVERY year, Everybody.

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2012 New Year’s Resolution Recap

I was married in 2012. Lisa and her two kids moved in around July/August (after the school year was over). We decided to keep the three bedroom rent house I was in till we sold her house in the Dallas area. Then get a four bedroom house after that. Well it still hasn’t sold. So we are still a little crowded in the same house.

As far as last years resolutions, I was not able to really complete everything. So much of my list was very single (marital status) focused. Sure I talk about family activities and goals, but I wasn’t really thinking like a married person yet. I think small goals are possible as an individual. But big things in a marriage have to done with your spouse. Working together with Lisa is a joy. I can’t wait to create the 2013 list, to see what we can complete together.

Here is my 2012 list:

  1. Start a family exercise program – This has only been partially successful. Lisa and I go to the YMCA two to three times a week. This is going well. We really motivate each other. We are doing strength training and a little cardio. I’ve never worked out as a couple, it is certainly different from working out with another guy. But we do exactly the same thing, just use different weights. I have made better progress with my wife, than I ever did with a male workout partner. We both look forward to our gym days. Getting the children to the gym or active has not been as successful. At age 12 YMCA allows the children to take a class and have access to all of the fitness equipment. The two oldest kids both turn 12 this year. Maybe that will help. All of the children now have bikes and enjoy riding them. But it is not a consistent yet. I don’t want to push major exercise routines on them. Just regular activities.
  2. Finish paying off my debt – This is getting closer. Over $5000 was paid into debt last year. With rent and a mortgage being paid now, not a lot of extra money is going into the debt reduction. Hopefully that will change in the first quarter of 2013.
  3. Start a daily cooking routine – This has actually gone real well. Lisa and I love working in the kitchen together. Very few of our meals are at restaurants and none of them are fast food. I want to start adding food posts to the blog soon.
  4. Continue my woodworking passion – No real woodworking projects to talk of. In fact, I can’t even get to the workbench right now. I had no idea that combining two households after a marriage would fill up a garage so much. We even have a storage unit to store overflow. Lisa and I have been working hard to eliminate duplicate household items. Then minimizing the remaining ones. But there is still a lot of stuff. Woodworking requires open space and honestly we just don’t have it now.
  5. I want to install my first solar panel – Nothing on this. Renting a house makes this hard. I don’t even have a place to put a solar panel. I think some creative thinking will have to go into this goal.

2013 is a new year and I will post new goals soon. What is nice is that I have a partner in life now. Lisa and I can accomplish anything when we work together.

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My wife came with a map?!

No, not like path to find her or some sort of owners manual. But rather, a US map of places that she has traveled.

Here is a picture:

You will notice all of the pins and badges that decorate it. Just about every state has at least one pin that was collected from a National Parks or tourist location.

The first time I saw the map, it blew me away. You see Lisa has vacationed and shown her kids some of the most amazing place that US has to offer. Her children have memories that my son has never experienced.

My boy has seen Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. That is it! He has never even been out of Texas?! Now before my family gets upset at me for trivializing the cities mentioned, let me put in the disclaimer. All of the Texas cities mentioned have family members in them and family is very important.

But I have never “roadtripped” with my boy just to see something cool. So (with some encouraging and planning from Lisa) that has changed over the last few months. He has now set foot in three new states.

1. Louisiana (this was just a ride over a bridge with a picture)
2. Oklahoma
3. Arkansas

We went to four national parks (Ft Smith, Pea Ridge, Buffalo River and Hot Springs), did Junior Ranger programs, visited The Ozark Folk Center, hiked around the mountains, skipped rocks in mountain streams, shot guns, saw wildlife, had a cowboy cooked meal, browsed rock farms, rummaged through antique stores (bought lots of good cast iron), spent time with family and drove 1500 miles.

It was a blast!

Along the way my son started collecting his own pins. My wife (his step-mother) bought him his own map. Here is a picture:

It is a good start. Check out that cluster of pins there in Oklahoma and Arkansas! His first of many road trip trophies. We will add to them as he grows and travels.

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Vibram Shoes

My wife and I both bought new shoes. We choose some of those funky toe shoes, that only weird people buy.

After a week of wearing them, I am really happy to inform you that being weird is very comfortable.

We wear them everywhere. At the gym, hiking, driving and just normal everyday life. I really wish that I could wear them to work too.

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