Category Archives: freedom

Taking stock…

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I’m now three weeks into my sabbatical. The days are flying by me. No regrets so far so that’s a good thing ๐Ÿ™‚

Just taking a little stock today…in the Saturday morning quiet.

I’ve become a frugal DIY type person almost overnight it seems. I’ve made laundry detergent, hand soap (liquid), toilet bowl cleaner, drain cleaner, toothpaste, and deoderant (and YES it works!). I’ve tightened up by not using my dryer at all… and by incredibly rarely using shampoo or conditioner or any other hair product or makeup and shutting air vents in rooms I’m not in. I continue to try and think of new ways to cut costs.

I’ve been working on my house. My porch is my favorite room right now just because it’s fresh and simple…I got rid of any clutter. And it’s a room that actually for the most part stays clean. I’m in the process of painting my bathroom, hope to finish today. I’m sure it will be lovely when it’s done, but it’s been a much more tedious process already. Painting moves along quickly when you have big open spaces…not so much when you have small ones with lots of trim and extras. I still need to paint my tub…hoping to soon.

I’ve been starting new piano and voice students. This fall I’ve add 4 new piano students and 2 new voice student to the ones I already had (7) making a total of 13. I really hope to still add 7 more. I’ve also started accompanying for the 5th grade choir at school once a week.

I’ve started yoga on Mondays and I now walk approx. 4 times a week with two friends (we usually walk about 4 miles), and I still bike when I can. Biking is still probably my favorite sport. So much good thought time available. I like the variety of exercise I have these days. Some on my own, some with close friends, and some in a group. Balance.

I’ve started a body scrub and soap business. Which has meant a whole lot of change in our lives. Learning how to do it in the first place. Shopping for supplies. Making of supplies. Marketing and selling the scrub and soap, etc. Being self employed is new ground for me. I’m loving the process of creating. I’m loving working with the many different scents that I make scrub and soap out of. I’m loving seeing the finished product. I also think that I’ll enjoy connecting with people as I have opportunity to in the future while selling my products from “Something Lovely”. This week I’m going to start going to the Farmer’s Market. I’ve called, found out the information and am ready to get my stuff together and go for it. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve also conquered the shipping aspect of my business which feels good. I have bars of soap curing on baking racks over my fridge and I’m very hope filled about this business and part of my life.

I have tried to make more time for friends and for my girls. I try to stay connected with their homeschooling, although I can tell you, as high schoolers they pretty much are on top of it for the most part on their own. I’ve been more available to help others and had the flexibility to do so, which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve preached a sermon and kept up my usual involvement at our church. I think I’ve been more sensitive to the needs of others.

I’m at peace with my life and grateful for each day.

A year ago I wasn’t. I was getting through each day. I often felt trapped.

I’m actually enjoying the month of September this year. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that way. Honestly. I’m noticing each small change in the season, new leaves on the trail as I bike, change of temperature as I do yoga out on the deck of my friends house. Days getting just a bit shorter every day as we walk a little longer in the dark before the sun rises. I’m aware.

I’m not nearly as numb to life. My life is not on a repeat cycle these days. I experience new things every day. Which has breathed incredible new life into me. I’m not saying that you can’t go to the same job every day and be fine and full of life. I believe you can, and many do. But for me…I’ve needed that to change.

Just this week I was biking and thinking about abundant life and I smiled to myself as I realized….I’m living it. Often in the past I thought…yeah right…abundant life….

It’s not about money, that’s for sure. I’m tighter than ever probably. For me…it’s about freedom to be who God made me to be in this season of my life. I am so thankful that I had an idea that became a vision and goal and that I had the courage given to me to go for it in taking this sabbatical. Nobody would’ve just given it to me without me asking. Nobody would’ve suggested it, in fact most people were against it. My two girls, who know me best are probably the only people who really inspired me to take courage and go for it.

Keep in mind that the same probably holds true for you. Nobody is going to encourage you to go against the grain or make a radical change. In fact, most people will discourage you. Nobody is going to just offer it up to you on a silver platter…you will have to ask and plan and dream and envision what things could be, mostly on your own. You live with the consequences of your choices and make them work for you.

We have to be in tune with our own soul enough to know what we need and where we are to go next. I think many, many people are so out of touch with that part of their life they have no idea and so just live life in repetition and then wonder why it’s so unfulfilling and stressful. I admit, it hurts to get in touch with your soul and realize how out of sync things are. It’s frustrating and overwhelming. But only at that point can a new dream be given life. That’s the part of life I’m living in right now…a new dream given life.

Bursting with creativity

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My home is a crazy place of creativity at present!

Seriously.

I’ve got paint and paint supplies ready to take on my next room in my house on my year path to clearing the clutter and freshening up my house. My next room is my bathroom ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve got soap drying racks sitting on top of my refrigerator and more soap supplies than you can imagine on their way, or on my grocery list or in the cupboard that I’ve designated just for soap. I’m eagerly looking forward to making bars of soap. (I have about 15 recipes that I’m getting ready to try.) I hope to make a bunch and have some friends and family sample them this fall ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also got various sizes of mason jars sitting around my house and will soon have every type of sugar and epsom salt body scrub going on in every flavor possible to test out the possibilities with different oils and see what ones the most people like so that I can sell those next spring.

I’ve even got a book on canning vegetables and fruits that I’m going to read and see if I might try a recipe or two. The mason jars just reminded me of my grandma and her jars of peaches and various other fruits and vegetables on her basement shelves when I was a kid. Such a great memory. Lauren wants me to try pickled beets first. (A Grandma Jackson speciality)

I’ve got piano and voice books sitting around my house as I start new students this fall. I’m up to 11 students…my goal is to reach 20 this fall. If you know of any place local (Alton, IL) where I can put my business card or information please let me know. Or if you have any way of passing on my information I will be forever grateful. My ad is running in the Telegraph for a month and I’m blogging regularly on my business website at ruthgoingsolo.wordpress.com If you haven’t “liked” my facebook page called Going Solo yet please feel free to ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also got material cut out for Lauren to start learning to sew and she’s presently wanting to collect/gather any soda/tea glass bottle caps for an art project she is making…if you have any or collect any this fall/winter please bag them up and I’ll come pick them up… she will recycle them into a creative project that will add beauty to the world ๐Ÿ™‚

Life is incredibly full right now with all of the DIY stuff I’m trying. And every day I think of new little ways to cut costs and live more frugally. Ironically enough, that seems to be also about becoming more earth friendly. I would’ve never put myself in that description…I kind of came late to the recycling party, but I’m there now.

So far I’ve tried…

Home dish soap (I’ve actually tried two different recipes and am much happier with the second.)

Home made laundry detergent (Love it and it makes such a large amount that I will probably only need to make it 2 or 3 times a year.)

Homemade toothpaste (Works just fine for me. When my kid’s stuff is gone, I’ll have them try it and see what they think.)

Homemade liquid soap (Right now my has a eucalyptus scent to it and it’s actually quite nice. I also purchased a lovely mason jar pump which cutened it up for my bathroom.)

Homemade drain cleaner (Just used it last night…love it, worked like a charm and with three females in my home it’s a regular need.)

Homemade body scrub (Just made it last night…love it. It was so easy to make and already all 3 of us are using it and enjoying it. The potential for scents, and variety of options is something that I know we’ll have great fun with. If you’re hands and feet, elbows, etc. are anything like mine…it’s amazing!)

When my other store bought cleaning products run out I’m going to make my own cleaners.

Homemade paper towels (Ok…so they’re not paper…but I’ve purchased micro fiber clothes in different colors for kitchen and bathroom usage. Easy to use, easy to wash and air dry…no more throwing away paper towel or swifter sheets.)

Drying Racks…I know I’ve already said it multiple times…but wow I love not using my dryer anymore.

Window coverings…I’ve added them to the areas of my home where the sun was making our air conditioner run to much. I’ve decided you don’t have to go all or nothing. I have window coverings on some windows and not on others. It works for me.

Unplugging unused items…I’m still working on this one, but with each room I go through I’m trying to make that small adjustment.

I plan to make some homemade deoderant soon… we will see how that goes.

And Ketchup and mustard and mayo…

Creativity is a wonderfully addictive thing! My kids are catching the bug too. They’ll be starting their first art class in two weeks…knitting. How fun to learn a new skill!

I never dreamed that I would be a self employed business person…but I am and fast becoming more so. I have no idea where it will lead. Today my girls who are an incredible encouragement to me…they inspire courage well…suggested that I focus heavily on my music business…”Going Solo” in the fall season. And that I make product throughout the school year and then focus heavily on my soap/body scrub/? business in the spring as I go to the Farmer’s Market downtown and possibly other events and places over the summer when music lessons kind of lighten up.

Right now I’m trying to think of a name for the soap/body scrub business. If you have any inspiring ideas feel free to pass them on. Lauren thought of “a la naturale'” which I like a lot but is probably a little overused. I thought of “lil bit of kindness” mainly because I think my product will be a way of giving yourself a little bit of kindness or will make great gifts for others. But…I haven’t settled on a name yet. Any thoughts?

I love the excitement I feel these days. I love the new ideas and directions in my life. So incredibly refreshing to live in new wide open spaces in my life. In the past, my life has felt so repetitious, so day after day the same, so many repeated lessons over and over. So much repeated music. I’m loving this experimental time in my life. This is my year…we’ll see where it leads.

Yeah…I think I can.

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Today after church I had a couple of ladies come up to me and ask me if I might be interested in getting together tomorrow morning for yoga at the one lady’s house, about 9:30am. In my normal world…I would never get to take advantage of that kind of thing. Monday through Friday day time was just gone, unavailable and because of that my evening time was hugely precious. I was trying to fit in a few hours what I would’ve liked to do during the day.

I paused and said…”yeah, I think I can.” In my mind, I thought of anything that I was maybe going to try and get done tomorrow and realized real quick none of it was absolutely essential or something that couldn’t wait and decided “why not?” After all…I do own a yoga mat. In fact, my girls are going to go too. They’re homeschooling, it’s a great way to get some P.E. time in and we have the flexibility to do this kind of stuff.

This is all new territory for me.

It’s a Sunday, before the first full week of school and I’m not scurrying today to try and make sure I’m all ready for it. I’m not feeling stressed or overwhelmed at the thought of a five day week with kids.

In fact…I plan to work on my flower beds this week. I plan to actually clean them out and have them not only look nice in the spring but maybe even in the fall. I plan to power wash my house. And I hope to fix our basketball hoop this week. I might even get new windshield wipers put on my car. That would be exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a new student starting piano lessons tomorrow so that will be a new adventure starting.

I’m very flexible and free. I have no need or desire to commit my time away, but going to a friends house to do yoga…sure why not ๐Ÿ™‚

This off the ride thing is still so new to me that I find myself being pleasantly surprised at all of the options and choices I have in this season of life. Gratitude is my daily theme.