Do you remember watching the Jetsons? I do. The year 2062 doesn’t seem so far away now, less than 50 years, but I can remember thinking the year 2000 was in the way out future. Here we are entering 2016!
With all we faced in 2015, we are led more and more to live on purpose. This means being aware of each moment, seizing each opportunity, and making deliberate decisions that align with our goals and lifestyle. The reality is this is easier said than done. Surprising, huh?
Our Journey to Living on Purpose Begins
If you subscribe to our newsletter, then you know about some of the situations we passed through in 2015. We lost jobs, and the family made decisions that forced us to have to leave the family farm, and this caused us to make a life-altering move. We moved from the Deep South to northwest Idaho. Yep, this southern-born and bred girl is now in the mountains of Idaho and I’m loving it!
Not only did we have a total change in climate, but we had a lifestyle change. We are living in a friend’s cabin. A real old-fashioned log cabin. No electricity, no plumbing. It’s been quite an adventure, but we find it very freeing, for us. We are enjoying every moment together and with our friends.
As we watched what we thought was our life’s path close and take a whole new direction, there were some stressful times. There were times of great anxiety, I must admit. In reality, these were just times I was focused on our circumstances and not on the God who rules over all things and is in control. Once I became aware of my need for a change of focus, things settled down into a journey of learning new depths of trust, faith, and reliance on the only one who can be relied upon.
If you’ve read any of my writings, especially my Voices of Heritage series, you know my husband and I are generational, sustenance homesteaders. We felt we were living a simple life and were quite comfortable.
As in all of life, we each make the best decision we can make at the time we have to make it. That’s all we can do. So we can’t blame others for the circumstances we find ourselves in. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves and our decisions along life’s journey.
Our journey has led us to a simple life. A life of living on purpose. I guess a more recognized idea is living a simple life. But what does this really mean?
What Does Living on Purpose (a Simple Life) Mean?
Does it mean living isolated from the rest of the world? Is it free of electricity? Free of conveniences or technology? Well, no.
Each of us has to decide what a simple life would be for our family. For us, it’s free of debt (a work in progress to be achieved this year!), not being tied to the grid (any public utilities), and not depending on others for our food and water (almost there). We want to be as self-sufficient as we can and enjoy the freedom it brings.
What would a simple life be to you? Eliminating or cutting down stress? Decluttering your home. Going after that dream job? Moving to the location you’ve always wanted to be in? Have a garden? Raising your own meat animals? Just what would make you feel you’ve achieved living a simple life?
How to Start Living on Purpose
So how does one go about living on purpose? First, you have to set your goals. Decide what kind of life you want. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What can you do today that will bring about that simple life you want to live?
Then stop waiting for the one big break, for all the stars to align. Just make a step in the direction of your goal. One step at a time, one decision at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way.
Keep your eyes on the goal while focusing on the here and now. Make daily decisions and adjustments that will be in line with your desired lifestyle and above all, live! Don’t exist, don’t simply get by, live!
What do you do if you find yourself having to walk away from “stuff”? What stuff do you take? What stuff do you keep? These were the questions we were faced with. In a matter of a month, we had to sell everything we could, pack only what we would need, and could get in a 5′ x 8′ U-Haul, and leave.
What I’ve Learned
I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned. Stuff is just that, stuff. Is it nice? Yes. Is it necessary for a happy life? No!
I kept several family heirlooms, my photos, and a few mementos, but that’s all the sentimental items I allowed myself. Out of hundreds of books, we kept one box. We sold everything we could sell in order to pay for our move and help us through the first couple of months.
Was it hard? Yes and no. Letting go of things I used every day that would not be practical here, letting go of things we just didn’t have room for, and letting go of things I liked were all difficult in varying degrees.
Being put in the position of only being able to keep the bare necessities makes you evaluate exactly what is important and what isn’t. We had been preparing for the failure of the electric grid so I had many hand kitchen tools.
Of course, I only use cast iron for cooking so I had all I needed for the wood stove. We pared our clothing down to two bags and only took what would be appropriate for our new climate. We moved from the Deep South (West Central Louisiana) to northwest Idaho! Yep, talk about environmental shock.
We kept The Farmer’s Lamp Pack (Roxie and Bowser) but sold all the other livestock. Saying goodbye to the special animals was not easy, but it was best for them. That’s what you do, what’s best for those entrusted to your care.
I’ve heard all the criticisms and opinions, but those who are quick to tell you what you should have done or should do are usually those who have never faced the circumstances you find yourself faced with.
Cling to your spouse, your children, and those friends and loved ones who support you and offer you loving encouragement. Everyone else, ignore.
A rule of thumb to consider is if you haven’t used it in a year, you don’t need it. If you find something when you’re packing that you’ve forgotten you had, you probably don’t need it.
The things we left, but I have found there are a few things we should have brought which we didn’t.
- We left pallets by the stack, really should have brought at least 10 of them. Out of our 20 plastic buckets, with lids, we only brought two…big mistake. They’re good for all kinds of things.
- Food storage containers – you wouldn’t think that would be a big deal, but when you can’t run and get plastic zip bags you can see the use of bowls with lids. We are trying to get away from anything we have to keep purchasing so baggies is on that list. Plastic boxes for storing clothing and blankets, things of this sort which you want to protect.
- Lastly, the one I regret the most is my baskets. I had several baskets. I began collecting them when I was a young woman, something I gained the love of from my grandmother. She had a whole wall of baskets she had collected and she used them. I kept the ones she gave me and some my kids had bought for me, but I left the rest. I never realized how many uses baskets have!
Hopefully, you may not find yourself faced with decisions as drastic as ours. If you do, I hope I’ve helped you be better able to make those decisions with clear thinking. I am deeply moved for those families with children who are faced with losing their homes and lively hood. I can’t imagine the different degrees of stress these situations bring.
However, the change can be an enriching journey. Your journey. I say face it with love, laughter (Granny always said, “It’s better to laugh than cry.”) and the expectation of finding the truth of life. It’s not what you have. It’s not what you do. It’s about love. Those you love and those who love you. The one thing we take with us when we leave this world is love.
I’m sharing our journey with those who want to join us. We’re facing the challenges of hauling water, using an outhouse, cooking on a wood stove, and using coolers outside for refrigeration. We’re having a blast! Our friends are off-grid with solar power so we have access to hot showers and are able to charge our rechargeable electronics. They have internet through their solar power so we are able to access it too. So you see, we’re not totally off our rockers!
My hope for you in 2016 is that you embrace the change, face the challenges, and grab hold of the circumstances you face. Live every day on purpose. You only get one moment at a time, don’t miss a single one.
Lady Locust says
I just found this and am not sure how I missed it when you posted it. I know I “lost” a few blogs during one of the updates and had to refind them. We (sorta) recently downsized by about 40%. Not as drastic as your situation and we had more than a month to go through things, but your words ring true. It is surprising how much we don’t actually need. We probably have one more downsize to go but hopefully that will be a little easier since we’ve cleaned house so to speak. The less we have, the easier it is to see what we need and don’t need. Also, as you said, it allows us to live when our life isn’t commandeered by our stuff. Glad you are well & hope by now you’ve settled in to wherever it is you are calling home. We are only a couple hours away from N. Idaho – beautiful country. God Bless.
I’m so glad you found TFL again. This post is an older one, actually from 2015! I can’t believe how time flies. We are settled back home in Southcentral MS. We had dreams of Idaho, but God has His own plans and purposes and they stand firm so here we are. We are still living in a small space and finding peace in not having “stuff” all these years later. I hope you are well and living on purpose. I’m always here to help in any way I can.
Even though I followed your journey through the year, it still brings tears and smiles. We just did the move ourself, 5 acres, 4 horses, 17 chickens, our beloved dog and a cat that came with the house. I agree with “Patti” and you. Some of the things we have had to leave behind were family that did nothing but drag us down. We have lost both our children, different circumstances, (including cancer), but both way too young. One at 18, and one at 33. Gardening, our granddaughter, and our faith have kept us afloat. Survival Mode means getting rid of as much negativity in life as you possibly can. Our move took us from a brand new 3700 sq. ft. house to a 115 year old 1496 sq. ft. home. We had to part with a lot of things, and still more to clean out. Already I can tell an attitude adjustment. I can’t wait til spring, when I can get my fingers in the dirt again, and plan a new garden plot. I applaud your courage and your attitude. You have been a great inspiration to me.
Rhonda Crank says
Oh my…I can’t express my heart’s compassion for you. I’m truly sorry you have walked such a hard road with the loss of your children. I thank you for your kind words and encouragement. From the comments and emails I’ve received, it seems there are a great many people passing through this same thing from all kinds of circumstances. It is hard for some people to understand the walking away from physical blood relations, but my only comment to them is, “I pray you never have to do then because sometimes it is the absolute right and best thing to do.” I hope you will share your continuing journey with me. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. Your comments and thoughtful words are always a blessing to me.
Michelle Hedgcock says
I just can’t imagine having to make those hard decisions in a 30 day time frame. And to have to get rid of all your animals. So glad you were able to keep the dogs. You’re such a trooper for not only moving to a totally different climate but to have to learn to live off-grid so quickly.
I think it’s awesome that both you and the Trayer’s are benefiting in some way from your move. I see it as part of a master plan.
Keep on smiling that beautiful smile. I look forward to seeing you on Periscope!
Rhonda Crank says
Hey girl! Thanks for taking the time to let me hear from you. There is definitely a Master plan at work. Thanks for your support and big *HUGS* to you!
This is a great read! My daughters and I just bought a 125 yr old farmhouse that is in rough shape. The previous owners have torn parts of walls out and just left them. The entire house is the original plank flooring (not in good enough shape to restore), so it’s cold. We had no appliances when we moved in. We were told the stove could be either gas or electric and found a cheap electric stove, hauled it in the house and then found out the only 220 plug is in the big old pantry that has no lights. haha So you cook early or you cook in the dark by the light of one little lamp that is balanced on the back of the stove. We also found a cheap fridge on Craigslist. I kid you not, it’s a one door, probably 1960’s or 1970’s fridge. I had to explain ‘defrosting’ the freezer to the girls. LOL Half the house doesn’t have electricity (we don’t know why yet, nor do we have the money to hire an electrician.) The house came with a huge corn stove which turned out to be a pain to use and then promptly quit working in October… about the time Michigan gets cold. We were finally able to get the furnace fixed and a propane fill brought in, so the house is no longer at 45 degrees. Invariably, we’ve blown breakers that couldn’t just be switched back on, but had to be replaced. Well, you get the idea. It’s been an interesting 3 months. Many, or should I say, most of our family and friends think we are nuts and can’t wrap their head around people ‘living like that’. We just laugh, dust ourselves on and move on to the next challenge. I am hoping that maybe in ten years this beautiful old house will be, once again, in great shape and that we too will be a little more self sustainable. Good luck to you on your journey!
Rhonda Crank says
Kat, What grand adventures you guys are having! I’m excited to hear how things progress. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. Be sure to keep a journal so you can keep the feelings and thoughts in the moment. Please let me hear from you so I’m able to share and encourage you on your journey! Give your girls a high five for me! Good job!
You go girl!! My mom’s home burned to the ground 8 months before she died of breast cancer. She lost both dogs which was terrible but everything else was just stuff! In my heart of heart I believe this was meant to be. She was a very independent woman who would have never taken any help from anyone. She had to live with me for the 8 months and she enjoyed every minute she had with her grandson’s. From that day on it changed my ways and views forever. We downsized our home by 1/3, got rid of stuff and most importantly people who we should have never let into our lives in the first place even though some were family. I miss my mom everyday but she left me with a gift that I will have for the rest of my life.
You do what’s best for you! Life is too short to worry about what doesn’t matter whether that be stuff or people. It’s your life, you live it to the fullest!!
Rhonda Crank says
Wow, Patti! Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story. You made my heart soar. I know what you mean about letting go of family. We only have our sons and their wives left in our lives and we’re quite happy with that. You were indeed blessed by your Mom. Your strong encouragement is a valuable treasure to me.
Janet Garman says
I am glad to read this but not really surprised that you are finding joy in the journey. Blessings my friend I pray that 2016 is exactly the year you and your family need it to be. – Janet
Rhonda Crank says
Thank you Janet. Your friendship was one of the biggest blessings of 2015 for me. I’m looking forward to growing in friendship with you this year. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I pray 2016 be a year of growth and prosperity for you and yours.
Similar story. We sold/donated/trashed a lot of stuff in early 2014, to finance our move from VA to UT. We had a bigger U-Haul, though…26ft. A few years before that, we down-sized from a 2200 sq ft home, to an 1100, so we have gotten pretty good at chunking stuff. And really, that’s all it is/was…stuff. Funny thing is, we moved from a smallish house in GA, to that big ole VA house, and had to buy all that stuff that we ended up just getting rid of again.
I do have one more move in me, because my ultimate goal is Northern Idaho! God detoured me to UT, for reasons still unknown.
For some reason, I missed all of the news, about your moving, on your blog but saw it elsewhere and was thinking “what?”
You are where you need to be, when you need to be. God’s perfect plans, Although we wonder and question, it is what it is. Though I’m still wondering myself, I am happier then ever!
I pray for you all!
Rhonda Crank says
Thank you Angie for sharing your experience and encouragement with us. It is powerful to know we don’t have to know God’s plan, only to trust in Him. I didn’t share the story on the blog, but in the weekly newsletter. I wanted to keep it personal and it just didn’t feel it fit into a blog post. I thank you for your prayers, it means so much to me to know you are thinking on me in such a powerful way. I wish you all the best in this year and thank you for all your support.
Kathy Lindler says
Where is Bowser’s doggie sweater?
Rhonda Crank says
LOL! He loves the snow! His coat is so much thicker than Roxie’s so he doesn’t have one!
So true! I admire what you guys are doing!!
Happy New Year!!
Rhonda Crank says
Thank you, Cindy. Your support is a blessing to me.
Thank you for sharing your story. It is brave and shows great courage. I suppose you will get some unneeded criticism. How foolish for them, yet it is just part of their journey, not yours! You are brave,wild, and free. I extend my deepest appreciation to you for sharing your story and wisdom. I look forward to hearing how your story unfolds, and your new homestead is created! I appreciate hearing about the successes and the mishaps! This is real life folks! Thank you for keeping it real!
Rhonda Crank says
Krista, You’re sweet, thoughtful encouragement brings thankful tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for letting me hear from you. I look forward to sharing our journey. You are right, I’ve heard a great many negative things, but as you say, it’s just not part of my journey. As part of my new year’s goals, I started making life broadcasts on Periscope this morning. Please join me there. periscope.tv/thefarmerslamp It will be on Katch.me/thefarmerslamp tomorrow and on YouTube on Monday. I was a mess because of it being live, but it was fun!
Wise words. 🙂
Rhonda Crank says
Thanks, Kathryn 🙂
Can’t see how to make a comment here, so I replied. You and your husband are to be commended over and again for what you have done and are doing. When I was a little girl, we had an outhouse and no running water, so we would go to the water plant in town and get a huge tank of water which my daddy would load onto the bed of his farm truck for that purpose. We did have electricity, but a wood cook stove which I remember my mother having to prop the oven door shut with a stick of wood through the oven door handle and under the overhang of the stovetop. This was in the early ’50’s. So much more I could tell, but what’s important is that we were happy and trusted God for His care. After 40+ years of living in south Alabama, my husband and I have moved back across the road from my childhood home, but we have much more than we need to be comfortable. We did but an old wood cook stove and are using it outside to boil down maple sap into syrup. Keep it up and may God bless!
Rhonda Crank says
Brenda, Thank you so much for sharing your genuine, warm, blessed childhood memories with me. Learning to trust God is a lifelong journey. I’ve never heard any one on their deathbed say, “I trusted God too much.” But I have had them tell me they wish they’d trusted Him more. I’m so glad to know you’re happy and enjoying your journey. Your kind words and encouragement are a blessing to my bruised heart. Thank you and please keep in touch.