Saturday, December 7, 2013


We live a pretty simple and quiet life... David works from home now. We aren't involved in any outside organized activities. We get outside and walk or run each day. We take care of our chickens and enjoy their eggs. We enjoy meals out once or twice a week. We have one car. We are living on our savings account and David's supplemental earnings until our "retirement" age where we can start drawing from our retirement accounts without penalty.

We've always lived pretty frugally by America's standards. Which is how David was able to retire at 52 and take a year off for travel. It is no different now. We still live by a budget but are comfortable. But there are times that I think it would be nice to go out to eat more than we do. There are times when I want to be able to fund my crafting desires "right now". And I'd love to be able to eat "very locally". But our budget doesn't allow for these desires. So at times I find myself thinking maybe I should get a paying job to be able to fulfill these desires. Then I come back to reality and realize that if I spent my time working to fund these things, I wouldn't have the time (or energy possibly) to do them. Well, eating out I would. But then I'd have to exercise more to make up for the extra calories. 

So by the grace of God, I'll be content with my simple and quiet life.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

gratitude:: Autumn in Texas

Adventuring with different lifestyles...

That title could be taken in a wrong way. What I'm talking about is suburban vs. urban vs. rural vs. nomadic vs. small town living. We've done all of the above!

Suburban: When our boys were growing up we lived in the suburbs of Denver and loved it! Our jaunt with rural living had me wishing that our boys could have experienced that and I was telling my oldest this and he responded that he LOVED living the suburbs as a kid. So not knowing anything different I guess it was the best for them! We lived in one middle class subdivision for 9 years, then "moved up" a bit into a newer neighborhood and my boys enjoyed it there. We did too! It was what we needed and wanted in that season. 

Urban: We lived in urban areas when our boys were babies (Denver); for a 6-month stint when Austin was a Sr. in high school and loved it both times! I loved being able to walk to just about anything we needed. Homes were older but had way more character!

Rural: When we moved back to Texas we wanted rural... and we LOVED it! We had almost 3 acres; had chickens and a garden; were neighbors with goats, sheep, donkeys and horses. We loved the quiet and how bright the stars are at night. We loved not having to keep up with the Jones' with our "yard". We loved the slow pace and the down home folks. The only reason we left this lifestyle was to venture into nomadic living.

Nomadic: As most of you know, we lived and traveled in a fifth wheel for a year. We knew that this was probably a short term arrangement for us but we loved it all the same! 

Small-town living: Where we are now. We live in a town with a population of about 6000 people. We can walk to just about anything and can actually walk to the end of town in any direction and it wouldn't be hard at all! We love the quiet, the simple, the down-home folks. We have multiple Mexican food restaurants as well as many other very good places to eat. We have a very nice HEB, hardware store, department store and lots of convenience stores. We have a town square and a library and many churches. We have big store shopping anywhere from 15-40 minutes away depending on which big store you want to shop. We've only lived here 6 months but we feel like we have enough to realize which one we really like the most. 

Which one do you think we like the most?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Travel bloggers...

My two favorite travel bloggers are back on the road! I really enjoy reading about their adventures! You might too!

We had the privilege of meeting Derek, Teresa and Cassia earlier this year as they passed thru Central Texas and we are hoping they pass thru again this year!

We haven't met Jer and CJ YET... but she has followed our blogs for a while when they were preparing to hit the road and now they are living their dream! They have plans for Texas and we are hoping to meet them soon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lately, in pictures

Mason jar to-go cup!

Morning coffee

My favorite Fall mix!
My grandmother passed away. She was 96 years old and a beautiful lady! 

While it is a very sad occasion, I did get to spend time with my little sister and my favorite 3 year old. They flew into Austin and spent a couple of nights with us before we drove down to the Valley. And one "must stop" is Torchy's!

This photo is blown up large and hanging in my Grandma's house. We were going to try and recreate the photo but never did... Kelli is missing in this photo cause she wasn't born yet! It was the first time in over 30 years that all the cousins were together.

My brother and dad

I got to see family I haven't seen in a long time!  And yes, we ate Mexican food!

My mom, me, Kelli and Kenzie

My cousin, Tracy and my brother... I think they look a lot alike!

Leaving the Valley... I miss those palm trees!

My dad's name scratched into a mirror

My mom made fried apple pies... they were so good!

I love open shelving in the kitchen... in photos. Thought I'd try it to see if I like it in real life!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Authentically me...

My "one word" for 2013 is authentic. I thought I'd share some thoughts and things I've learned in living out my word. Some days I'm so "confused" as to authenticity in my life... and other days, I'm right on it!
  • Slow is a word that keeps coming up to go with living authentically. For me, it's slowing down enough to hear my own voice which I constantly pray is the Holy Spirit inside me. Slowing down even in simple tasks like sweeping (how the name of my blog came to me) is hard for me. I'm a "get-it-done-quickly-but-well" kinda gal. But being intentional about being in the task I'm doing is what this year has been about for me. One of my challenges for September was to hoop 30 minutes a day for 30 days... So I would set my timer on my Iphone and turn up the Itunes radio and get after it. Well, I found myself wanting to check to see how much time I had left often! When I caught myself doing this, I reminded myself to just enjoy the time and the "hooping flow" as I've heard it said. It made it more than just a thing to check off my list each day. I started actually looking forward to it most days. And yes, I did it every single day for 30 days!
  • I truly feel like our home is authentically us. We still have a lot we want to do and that will come in time, but what we've done so far fits us and a lot of it we agreed on and some things we've compromised between each others likes. But a couple of months ago I felt a restlessness that I wasn't sure what to do with. Maybe we've been on the move so much for the past 4 years that it's hard for me to think of settling down in one place. I know that my heart's desire is to be content where I am. So I'm working on seeing what I have been blessed with and not seeking what's on the other side of the fence. I have a great life and am appreciative of it. I just see so much more and wonder if that's where I *should* be! =) Now that a couple of months have passed since I wrote this down, I am feeling much more content here in Small Town, Texas. This lifestyle has so much that we adore!
  •  Two quotes that spoke to me recently: Nurture an inner life instead of concentrating on the outer trappings to achieve personal harmony. (This may be key to my "bloom where you are planted") and, Invest my emotions in authentic expression and not in specific outcomes. (Relinquish all expectations).
  • I'm growing out my gray hair... again. No more coloring for me. I just turned 52 and I'm okay with that. I don't feel the need for people to think I'm 10 years younger and there's a lot of freedom in being just who I am. This is my second time around for going "natural" and I even said before I'm never coloring my hair again, yet I gave in. Fighting roots is just not a battle worthy of my time or money. 
  • Still exploring who I truly am and getting out of my comfort zone. I tend to think in terms of "if it's uncomfortable, it must not be me"... but I don't think that's entirely true. I do want to grow and change in ways that are beneficial to me and also just try new things that interest me to see if I'm committed to those things... which involves leaving my comfort zone.
I love the way focusing on one word for an entire year is a way of learning more about myself at the same time changing in ways that I desire. I don't actually sit down each month and make goals toward authenticity. It's more of an organic flow or movement. And a lot of it is in thought which leads to changed behavior. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interest vs. Commitment

I recently came across this thought and once again, someone has put into words what I've often questioned/thought about. Just because I'm interested in something doesn't mean I'm meant to live it or experience it.

I have lots of interests... resourceful crafting, upcycling, gardening, homesteading, running, eating healthfully, traveling, creating art, outdoor living... and I could go on! I don't think there's anything at all wrong with trying out the things I'm interested in. At one point I was very intrigued with tiny house living. We experienced that in our RV. We lived very well in a small space BUT after living that small for a year, we realized we like a bit more space! So yes, I was interested; tried it; and realized that it is something I'm not committed to.

Same thing with gardening: I LOVE the idea of having a functional garden (doesn't even have to be extravagant or beautiful) where we would eat a lot of our meals from and therefore save money at the grocery store. BUT when it comes down to all the work it takes to maintain a garden here in Central Texas... yea, not committed. It was actually pretty easy and convenient to have a garden in Colorado - no bugs, short growing season, rare 100-degree temps) and I did enjoy it there because of the convenience of it!

This goes right along with something else I've been wrestling with... Just because something is fun for someone else doesn't mean it's fun for me. I've got to stop trying to enjoy the things I wish I enjoyed and start enjoying the things I actually enjoy doing! I want to enjoy homesteading and gardening and living off the land and maybe even living off grid... but that's just not me. And I don't think any amount of work I do to try and change what I like will help me like it more. If something is fun for me, then I will look forward to doing it and find it energizing, not draining.

God made me the way I am for a purpose. Who am I to deny who he made me to be because I want to be someone else. Or even like someone else! There is no one like me anywhere. I can choose what I do but I cannot choose what I like to do. I need to relinquish my fantasies of what I wished I found fun and that will allow me more room to do the things that I do find fun! I am happier when I accept my own real likes and dislikes, instead of trying to decide what I ought to like.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

53 things

  1. See a live starfish in its natural habitat. Hold one if I can?
  2. Try stand up paddle-boarding
  3. Visit Asheville, NC
  4. Visit Charleston SC
  5. Visit Savannah GA
  6. Get a tattoo
  7. Buy coffee for the person behind me at a drive thru Starbucks
  8. Sit by a fire on the beach
  9. Go to a drive-in movie theater
  10. Walk barefoot in the rain
  11. Knit a pair of socks
  12. Go on a dinner cruise
  13. Take a cooking class
  14. Attend a yoga class or two
  15. Read 52 books 
  16. Volunteer at a food bank
  17. Make a patchwork skirt
  18. Refashion 12 clothing items
  19. Attend/participate in an art journaling class
  20. Attend the State Fair of Texas
  21. Blog once a week
  22. Take more photos
  23. One month challenges x 12
  24. Visit St. Augustine, FL
  25. Go ziplining
  26. grow out my gray hair - no more fake color!
  27. Paint master bedroom
  28. Paint master bathroom
  29. Paint studio
  30. Make the back patio a place I love to be
  31. Send out happy mail at least once a month
  32. Give baked goodies to someone once a month
  33. Make grilled pizza
  34. Make creme brulee
  35. See a concert at Nutty Brown Cafe
  36. See a concert at Stubbs BBQ
  37. Chicken Fried Steak at Threadgills
  38. Eat at Shady Grove
  39. Camp at Inks Lake
  40. Camp at Canyon Lake
  41. See King George one last time
  42. See NYC at Christmastime
  43. Explore metal stamping
  44. Run a 5k (once a year as long as I can!)
  45. Run a color run
  46. Get a stamp in my passport
  47. Make a Pinterest project, or two
  48. Sip coffee on the back patio and watch the sun rise
  49. Visit Mary's Finds
  50. Browse at Uptown Country
  51. Attend an auction
  52. Attend a Lampasas Warehouse sale
  53. Live every day like the adventure it is!
Whew! Here's to an exciting year!

Friday, September 13, 2013

No longer a slave to Starbucks...

I have not been to Starbucks in about 6 months... and even in the last year and a half I've been probably a total of 7-10 times. Coming from an almost "every day" habit, this is so freeing!

Today I ventured into the "big city" for a day of fun for me. I had a free drink for my birthday thanks to Starbucks so that was my first stop. I've had the Starbucks app on my phone for a while now but never used it like it is supposed to be used. When I approached the cashier, I told him that I had a birthday reward but had never used the app so he needed to guide me! It was very simple and so very cool! I even used the balance of a gift card I've had for over a year right from my phone! VERY COOL! So I ordered THE drink of the season, Pumpkin Spice Latte and my old favorite, an old-fashioned doughnut. I waited for my drink, then because I arrived early enough in the morning, I headed outside to enjoy it. It was still in the upper 70's at this time so it was quite pleasant outside.

Yea... the PSL was okay, but really not something I'd pay for these days. It almost tasted "fake". It's hard to describe but had a chemical-y taste to it. I didn't even finish it which is disappointing. But in that same breath I'm so happy that I've finally broken away from the bondage of Starbucks!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

52 things before I turn 52

On my last birthday I had this grand idea to list 52 things I wanted to do before my next birthday. We were on the road traveling and a lot of this list were places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do. Once we settled back in a sticks and bricks, I knew I could still accomplish some of them. Well, life takes over (living life to the fullest #52) and most of what was remaining didn't get done. But I'm proud of the things I did do! If I hadn't thoughtfully made out this list I probably wouldn't have done half of what I did do!

Am I doing another list of 53 things I want to do before I turn 53? No, not quite. We are revising our bucket list but I doubt there will be 53 things. But maybe there will be!

  1. See a live starfish in its natural habitat. Hold one if I can?
  2. Try stand up paddle-boarding
  3. Kayak a river or lake
  4. Run a 5k race once a month at least for the rest of our travels, if we can find a race that works for us. (I did run a 5k distance in September but nothing that far since then… I’ve lost my enthusiasm for running!)
  5. Visit Washington, DC
  6. Visit Asheville, NC
  7. Visit Charleston SC
  8. Visit Savannah GA
  9. Visit as many "homies" as I can (Kristen, Crystal)
  10. Get a tattoo
  11. Make a supper and invite any "late-arriving" camper that is close to us to share it with us.
  12. Make soap in our RV (in our home)
  13. Spend the day in Central Park in NY
  14. Highlight my hair with a wild color
  15. Buy coffee for the person behind me at a drive thru Starbucks
  16. Finish my granny square quilt ( my goal for September 2013)
    The last "square"
  17. Finish my scrap knitted scarf
  18. Bake treats for grumpy campground hosts (or friendly ones if we don't encounter any grumpy ones) How about pumpkin bread for the guys at the Collision Shop we lived at for almost a week?
  19. One month of primal/paleo eating
  20. Swim/wade in the Atlantic Ocean
  21. Lie on a beach and read
  22. Run on the beach
  23. Recover the valances in our RV
  24. Make covers for the dinette benches
  25. Figure out some kinda cover for the loveseat
  26. Buy fresh eggs from a roadside stand or have our own chickens!
  27. Eat New York pizza
  28. Eat shrimp and grits
  29. Eat vegetarian for a month
  30. Sit by a fire on the beach
  31. Cook a meal over a fire
  32. Go to a drive-in movie theater
  33. Walk barefoot in the rain
  34. Knit a pair of socks
  35. Drive the truck pulling the RV!
  36. Switch "jobs" with D for an arrival/departure day
  37. Go on a dinner cruise
  38. Try a new-to-me kinda food/restaurant (Indian, Thai, etc.)
  39. Take a cooking class
  40. Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail
  41. Attend a yoga class or two
  42. Read 52 books (40* read)
  43. Be a work camper somewhere
  44. Volunteer at a food bank
  45. Make a patchwork skirt
  46. Hoop every day for a month (happening this month)
  47. Make a dream catcher
  48. Refashion 12 clothing items (I've done 2)
  49. Allow D to pick a challenge for me and do it! YIKES!
  50. Spend Christmas in Florida Texas with my kids
  51. Go to an art exhibit or art museum
  52. Live every day like the adventure it is! Wherever we are!
 *books read:

  1. The Gutter – Where Life is Meant to be Lived, Craig Goss
  2. A Watershed Year, Susan Schoenberger
  3. Practical Theology for Women, Wendy Horger Alsup
  4. Crazy Love, Francis Chan
  5. The Reunion, Dan Walsh
  6. The Power of Half, Kevin Salwen
  7. Hollywood Nobody, Lisa Samson
  8. The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks
  9. Touching Wonder, Jon Blasé
  10. Finding Joy, Charlotte Davis Kasl
  11. Hold Love Strong, Matthew Aaron Goodman
  12. The Trouble with Angels, Debbie Macomber
  13. Finding Hollywood Nobody, Lisa Samson
  14. The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian
  15. Far From Home, Anne Degrace
  16. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain
  17. Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self, Sarah Ban Breathnach
  18. The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, Mark Buchanan
  19. 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
  20. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
  21. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Jen Hatmaker
  22. Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott
  23. Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, N.T. Wrights
  24. The Next Always, Nora Roberts
  25. Cherry Cheesecake Murder, Joanne Fluke
  26. Vintage Veronica, Erica S. Perl
  27. My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word, Mike Ashcraft
  28. Trailersteading: Voluntary Simplicity in a Mobile Home, Anna Hess
  29. Mourning Gloria, Susan Wittig Albert
  30. Cat's Claw, Susan Wittig Albert
  31. The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree, Susan Wittig Albert
  32. The Last Boyfriend, Nora Roberts
  33. Summer on Blossom Street, Debbie Macomber
  34. On the Island, Tracey Garvis-Graves
  35. Firefly Lane, Kristin Hannah
  36. What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, Rex Russell
  37. Simply From Scratch, Alicia Bessette
  38. The Accidental Mother, Rowan Coleman
  39. The Middlesteins, Jami Attenberg
  40. Going Gray, Anne Kreamer

Saturday, August 31, 2013


I'm really enjoying looking back into our blogs and on my calendar to see what we were doing a year ago "today". We have such great memories from our year of travel!

While we have slow down our lives tremendously, we are still making memories right where we are! Here's what we've been doing lately...

  • After a spending a fantastic summer with my 8-year-old niece, our lives have quieted down  alot; but we also have our freedom somewhat back (still have a puppy to deal with). 
  • We kayaked twice this summer on Inks Lake... once with my niece and once, just David and I. Inks Lake is only a short drive from our house. 
  • We've explored eateries here in our small town and still have more to try!
  • We boarded Sadie for a whole day (& night) and started our day with breakfast at Bluebonnet Cafe. Then enjoyed the Hill Country driving over to New Braunfels on the backroads. We spent 3 hours floating on the Comal River that was just divine! The water was the perfect temperature and you can see to the bottom the water is so pretty and clear! From there we headed back north with no plans for dinner but were looking for something. We saw that Buc-ees was just up ahead and decided to stop in and check it out. We'd heard cool things about Buc-ees. It was... HUGE! Once home, we learned that this is the largest convenience store in the world..."In May 2012, the company opened its largest store in New Braunfels, Texas on Interstate 35 and FM 306. The New Braunfels flagship is the largest convenience store in the world at 68,000 square feet. The store features 60 fuel pumps, 31 cash registers, 4 Icee machines, 80 soda fountain dispensers, tubing and water gear for the Guadalupe River, and a farmer's market that features Grade 1 fruit and produce." ('s). They serve food in there but do not have any seating to enjoy it! From there, we took another new-to-us back road headed to Pecan Street Brewing for dinner. We've had this on our list to visit... Cute, cute place with friendly wait staff. They brew their own beer and David tried their most popular and really enjoyed it. 
  • David has found some online work that he can do from home and is enjoying exploring that... It's not a whole lotta work but gives him something to do and gives us a bit of spending $$.
  • Work on the house has halted and will pick back up come Fall when we can enjoy having the windows open. We have two more rooms we want to paint!
  • Sadie has been a whole lot more work than we had anticipated! We've had 5 dogs between us and none of them have been as high maintenance and stubborn as this little lady. We've determined that she needs more space and/or other dogs for the energy that she has! The lack of outdoor space for a large dog was a concern when we got her, but we are glad we did as the circumstances she came from we've come to realize weren't the best. So we look at it as rescuing her and give her a healthier start over in her life.
We are in the process of making a "new" bucket list. I have my 52 things list that I made on my birthday last year that has pretty much been at a standstill... but I will update that on my upcoming birthday.

We have dreams of doing a bit more travel soon and have realized we love the traveling part of RV'ing, just not the traveling in an RV full-time part. So we are trying to compromise and figure out what it is we want to do!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013