Decluttering Social Media

Social media website logosWhen we think of decluttering, we usually think of things around the house that we need to either put away, throw away or give away. In my quest to minimize my life, I have found I also need to declutter my online life starting with my email.

If you are like me, you may have more than one email address.  I have a public email, a private email and two business emails.  The longer we have our email, the more places we share our email, the more cluttered our email inboxes become.  Pretty soon we are sifting through all sorts of newsletters, special offers, updates, announcements, notifications, statements etc. to find the things we really want or need to pay attention to.  We end up spending more unproductive time sorting through everything and getting distracted than we do connecting with the things we need to accomplish.

This also happens to our Facebook and other social media accounts where we are sifting through the pages, group posts, and irrelevant memes to find those few that are important.

I am taking some time today to declutter my social media.  I’ll be going through my inbox and deleting all those emails that I’ve never read, going through my subscriptions to weed out the newsletters and subscriptions I don’t need anymore, and making sure I am keeping only those that I really want or need.  I’ll be going through my blog feeds to weed out the ones I’m not interested anymore or the ones that aren’t active anymore.  I’ll be going through my Facebook and other social media accounts to get rid of all the pages, groups, apps, and yes, even friends, that aren’t needed or active.  And I’ll even be going through my phone to delete unnecessary apps, files and contacts.

My hope is that by doing this decluttering I’ll be better able to focus more on the relevant content and better, closer connections to the people that are most important.

How about you?  When was the last time you decluttered your online life?

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September 11

weddingdayJames 4:13-14
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Yesterday hubby and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary.  We had a lovely dinner with our son and bought new bath towels.  It was very low key but we enjoyed it.  I did take a vacation day from the diet and had cheesecake for dessert.  It was so good, but after not having sugar for so long it was very, very sweet.  I’d do it again.  My pain levels are up a notch today though.

auntiemargieToday we remember the 9/11 attack, I also remember my beautiful aunt we lost a couple years ago.  Still hard to believe her beautiful smile is gone.  I loved to sit and listen to her tell her stories.  She loved her family dearly and she is missed dearly.   Cancer is horrible.

I continue to pray for family and friends who are in the path of fires, floods, storms, and hurricanes.  So much going on around us.

For me it all comes down to this:  We aren’t promised tomorrow.  Things happen so live today as if it is your last and love everyone as much as you can.

1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all that you do be done in love.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Soaking Grains

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Soaking Buckwheat and Quinoa

I’ve been interested in soaking grains for a while now. I try and soak grains we eat (when I remember to) like rice and oats. Right now I’m on a special eating program for my joint pain and it calls for eating a lot of quinoa and buckwheat. And so I’m soaking them overnight to maximize the health benefits. I simply add the grains to the canning jar, add the warm water, and add an acidic medium such as apple cider vinegar. You can also use yogurt, lemon juice, kefir etc. Rinse well and cook with equal amount of fresh water. I like to add a pinch of salt to mine.

Right now my quinoa is fairly plain while I work on healing my gut, but I do like quinoa and if you to go The Nourishing Gourmet you can find some great recipes for it.

Since I’ve been on this program my joint pain has decreased. I can actually close my hands fully into a fist. The pain isn’t gone, but there is a noticeable decrease. I fully believe diet has a huge impact on our health and can reduce and/or eliminate many health issues as well as reduce/eliminate the need for prescription drugs. I still may have to use medication at some point, but I want to do as much as I can control myself. It’s not easy, but trying to avoid being on prescription medication for the rest of my life is worth the effort.

I’d love to hear what you do to keep or stay healthy.  Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know you stopped by.  I’m off to play in the garden. I have many beans, tomatoes and peppers to harvest.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Planning Long Term

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Grandma and Grandpa

I see a lot of people taking the plunge and moving to homesteads, going off grid, and generally moving to more sustainable, self sufficient living.  There are lots of benefits to these lifestyles that far out weigh the negative.

What some people don’t realize is that there can be a lot of hard work attached to these ways of living.  I wonder if these people who say they are in it for the long haul are just living day to day or are they really considering the long term?

My birthday is right around the corner.  It’s a big one.  A lot of the things we had hoped to do are starting to fade.  I am finding out now that my bad joint pain can be limiting.  The heat and humidity in the summer send my asthma into attacks.  While I consider myself in pretty good shape for approaching AARP age, I have to face the fact that I’m not a young anymore.  While I’m not yet out to pasture, now is the time to set things into motion that will make those years easier.

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Me with Hubb

We actually started thinking about it when we bought our house 12 years ago.
While we didn’t mind having a basement, we wanted a ranch style home so that if this is our final home we won’t have to worry about getting around it when we’re older.  This was important because we had seen older family members who were having a hard time with stairs including one who fell down a flight of basement stairs.  If we move, we will again look for something that will take us comfortable into our older years.  So, while we don’t want to limit ourselves, we also don’t want to make things harder down the road.  It takes thoughtful planning.  Gardening, raising animals, caring for the home and property…how will you handle these things in your older years? For example:  chopping all your firewood by hand isn’t as easy at 70 years old as it is for a 40 year old.

20141028_081817I know many of us are optimistic about these things in our later years.  “Oh, we’ll manage.”  Will you?  Even the average American lifestyle is challenging to the aged.  I’m not aged (*sigh*) and I have a hard time opening jars and bottles due to the joint pain in my hands.  I wonder how this will effect my gardening and canning?  How will this effect my butchering meat?  How will this effect my crochet business?

Have you thought about it?  Now is the time to plan and put things into place for your lifestyle long term that will make your older years easier.  It’s much easier to do it now while you are able than to wait until the day you find you can’t.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Prepper? Homesteader? Survivalist? Other?

2016Aug25Chickens“You’re NOT a homesteader!!”

Yes, I’ve heard that and no, I’m not.  I don’t fit into the homesteader mold nor do I fit the prepper or survivalist molds either.

While many things I do are popular in these lifestyles, I don’t really fit the mold.  I have a totally different philosophy and goal than most others.

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Making slippers for Christmas gifts,  just like mama did.

I’ve always been on the frugal side.  Sometimes more frugal, sometimes less.  Much of what I do is just what I had learned growing up.  I’ve always been interested in the outdoors, gardening, camping, hiking, farming etc.  Growing up in the city didn’t give me many opportunities for them, but I really enjoyed any chance to be outside with nature and camping/hiking became and still is one of my favorite activities.

 

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Celebrating my birthday with my great-grandmother…a homemade cake and homemade party hats.

I heartily understand the philosophy behind prepping and I agree with most of it.  I don’t feel like I need to live barricaded in militarized zone with 30 years of food and supplies put up in my hidden armored bunker.  If you do, that’s fine.  I do feel, however, that as the manager of my home I need to be as prepared as possible to care for my family in what ever situation comes our way.  We live in crazy, fragile times.  But I firmly believe that the extreme form of prepping goes against what the Bible teaches.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, to take care of the orphans and widows, feed the hungry, visit prisoners.  It doesn’t say only do these things when times are good and stop when “stuff” hits the fan.  I will do my best for my family, but together we serve God first.

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Canning grape jam.

There are so many ideas of what a homesteader is. To some it’s living completely off grid and to others it is simply adopting a more self sufficient lifestyle where ever you might be at.  Living off the land is hard, hard work, but can also be rewarding.  We live in a small town on a small lot, and while I do a lot of things that homesteaders do, I wouldn’t classify myself as a homesteader.  But again, a lot of these things I do I learned growing up.  For example: I learned gardening…organic gardening…from my grandfather.  In the big city.  I learned to make things by hand from my mother and great-grandmother.   I learned to be frugal from my grandmother…like using old clothing (read: underwear) to mop the floors and putting left over bread that is starting to stale in the freezer to use in the future for stuffing.  When I moved out on my own, I appreciated the farmers market that was right across the street, and I found out first hand how practical being frugal was.

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The garden goes all the way to the wood fence.

All these things became very real for our family when my husband lost his job a while back.  This area of Indiana suffered a great blow with many automotive, trailer and RV manufacturers laying people off or closing.  Hubby’s company closed and sent the work elsewhere.  Not being burdened by lots of debt and having a well stocked pantry with a garden got us through the hard times when many others were going under.  Not only were we able to keep our heads above water, but we didn’t have to rely on any assistance, food or utility programs.  And even then, we were able to help out others when they needed it.  I’m not saying it didn’t hit us hard because it did.  Only now are we starting to get caught up on things that we had to put off during that time (like getting our roof fixed, replacing appliances that stopped working etc.)  But being frugal, prepared and doing as much with our land as we could, we made it through when many others didn’t.

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Curing onions in the garage.

So I guess you can classify me under what ever category you would like.  I’m not prepping for any zombie apocalypse, but for real life circumstances for my family and those around me.  I’m not living on an off grid homestead with livestock, but we are trying to live more sustainable where we are.  If you asked me what I would call it…I guess I would call it living Proverbs 31.  I’m a homemaker.  Regardless of what circumstances arise, my main responsibility is to God first, then my family and my home, and then helping others as I can.

What about you?  Do you fit the mold or are you an outlier like me?

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Where has the time went?

13-11-08snow

Fall leaves by the garden a few years ago.

It’s the last day of September.  How can tomorrow be October?  I love fall, it is my favorite season, but it seems summer slipped by somehow.

It is a bit odd not to be harvesting from the garden.  We didn’t purposely leave it fallow, we really did intend to put in a great garden this year.  It just got put off by so many other things.  In the end, leaving it fallow isn’t a bad thing for the garden, but I do miss the fun of reaping the harvest of what we planted.  Now it needs to be cleaned up and prepped so that we can be ready for spring.

But we do have eggs.  Our three hens Marigold, Lucy, and Izzy are laying some beautiful eggs and they are such fun to have around.  It is time to start buttoning down the coop and run for winter and start making plans for what we need to do.  Since this is our first winter with chickens it will be a lot of trial and error for us.  I’d love to hear some winter tips from experienced chicken owners.

13-08-08harvest

One of our past harvests.

We might not have a harvest from our garden, but now that it is cooler I will still be doing a bunch of canning, freezing and dehydrating.  We can get some produce here locally (golly the prices have gone way up since last year!!) and we’ll be getting meat as we find some good deals.  Apples are in season so I want to start off with that, and I’ll see what deals I can find locally.  I also want to try using the apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar.  We’ll see.

The end of summer has brought a real struggle with my health.   I’ve been having a real battle with my asthma and all the medication that goes along with that really scares me.  Fall is always harder for me anyway because there is a lot of leaf burning around here and the smoke seems to hang in the air.  I really want to find some good ways to help my asthma that would reduce the medication or maybe even eliminate the need for it.  I can hope.  I have tried a lot of stuff but have never really seen any benefits.  The biggest thing I know I need to do is get back to eating healthy and avoiding foods I know do not help…like dairy and sugar.

6thgrade

Throwback, first day of 6th grade.

Homeschooling is also in full swing.  Hard to believe it is the last year.  Also hard to believe that we homeschooled 12 years.  Wasn’t always easy, but I would do it all over again.  It is going to be weird hanging up this chapter of our life and not homeschooling next year.  I also can’t wait to see what God has in store for our son as he moves on to college.

That is it for now, off to do some chores around the house.  Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….