Everything, Always in the Natural Balance of Nature!

As winter is coming closer to the end of it’s cycle so too is my pattern of winter slumber. I am starting to feel those pangs deep inside me that desire to exercise once again. My body weight has hit a critical mass and my bones are stiff.

This year I have treated myself to a new treadmill as the one I had, although has outlived itself at 22 years of age, has been beat up to the point of no return. After much careful consideration I ended up choosing the NordicTrack T 6.5 s Treadmill. Purchase price was $599.00 which included free shipping from Amazon. It was delivered to my door by a delivery service on Saturday morning. Although I could have chose to have it assembled for around $100.00 I wanted to put it together myself, which ended up taking around 3 hours total.

Now my new friend proudly sits in my garage and awaits my arrival each morning to assist me in getting that blood flowing once again and building my heart. As always the process will start out slowly as I will walk no more than 10 minutes this morning. Each day will will add just a little more effort on my part until I am once again back in full swing with a 10 minute warmup and 30 minutes of sweat.

With the routine in exercise so too will my winter food routine slowly change to more healthier choices in food and fasting. The normal period of time for my body to adjust is usually between 4-6 weeks and it is this time that is critical to remain on a slow pattern of progression. Too many times in the past have I rushed to reach a level I left behind at the end of Autumn the year prior only to discover pain, discomfort and even injury.

Everything, Always in the Natural Balance of Nature!

Posted in aging, body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, frugal, health, intermittent fasting, life, minimalist, paleo, simple living, the whole 30, type II diabetes, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

America and Drug Addiction

Their rarely comes a day in my life where I don’t encounter a fellow human being who deals with major problems caused by drug addiction. Sometimes it’s during my work day and at other times it’s just stopping at a supermarket during my off work hours, but it seems that no matter where I go or what I do I see it right out in the open. I honestly believe that we as a nation have reached a critical mass when it comes to the problem of drug addiction.

The changes that occur to the brain due to the use of these highly addictive drugs have brought about chaos to our society as a whole. The newest trend seems to be the home security system as many are installing them at their front doors. Desperate addicts think little of any consequences they may have to endure if they are caught robbing and stealing from the vast majority of our precious neighborhoods and as we have pretty much run out of prison and jail space many counties are making the decisions to treat such crimes as misdemeanors and States promoting early release.

What do we do?

First we have to reduce the amount of these illegal drugs from entering into our country and treat dealers as the criminals that they are. We must close our southern border. Yea, but that won’t totally stop drugs from coming into our country… Maybe not, it is a start.

We have to change our view of the addicted from being a victim of society to being a victim of the fact that they just made some pretty bad decisions. True recovery encompasses the complete removal of the subject from their current environment while aggressively addressing the issues that caused the reason for addiction in the first place. We have to set the stage for opportunity upon the release of any program we introduce. Most life decisions are based upon the two thoughts of pain and pleasure.

Our public needs to be re-educated about the facts around addiction itself and all of the pain associated with it not only to the individual but also their family and citizenship. I know that this has been performed many times before throughout our history and no matter how we address it there will always be people of all walks of life getting involved with the escape that the drugs seem to provide, but by not addressing it at all certainly increases the numbers. Eg: Current America.

When we live in a society where many are afraid to go to a public park, a day out shopping or even leaving their homes there stands the need for change. Law and Order go hand in hand and without one you cannot have the other.

We need to heal as a country and allow the same God who inspired the brilliance of the doctrines of our forefathers to create this incredible experiment of freedom to exist to enter the hearts of us all. Yes Virginia, there is a God despite what we have all been taught in school since prayer was removed. And yes, it is OK to say the Pledge of Allegiance to this Great Nation’s Flag each morning. We must return to a Nation that focuses it’s attention on God and not on ourselves. There are lot’s of good and great people around the world all sharing different belief’s and faiths that are different then ours. But the truth is that our country is truly built around the teachings of the Holy Bible and that is the one factor that have provided us all with the opportunity and blessings that have contributed to making the United States the greatest country in history.

Lately it seams that our great Country is going in a different direction. There will always be challenges as there are never any guarantee’s that living a free life is easy. But it certainly is worth it.

Today we need to get down on our knee’s and pray for this United States of America and start supporting those elected officials who share our same views. It is time to make a stand for we have been silent for too long now. The problem with drug addiction reaching such a critical mass is directly the result of our silence. Of course we have so many other problems too to address, but I believe that once we can reduce the amount of people falling into the grasp of addiction many of those other problems that exist will fall by the way side.

It is time to wake up out of our slumber and once again roar like the lion. I have purchased a new Holy Bible and am re-starting the habit of daily devotional by reading a passage each morning and spending quiet time in prayer before I start each day. It is time to start living a life filled with Gods love rather than the hate I feel each day towards the directions I see society going.

Posted in aging, america, Christian Perspective, christianity, family, God, life, marriage, meditation, mindfulness, minimalist, prepared, simple living, united states, US Constitution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Without God The United States of America will crumble

Posted in Christian Perspective, US Constitution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Preserving the Past while Decluttering

As my pursuit of the “Simple Life” continues I keep finding more and more opportunities to reduce the amount of “Stuff” which has accumulated throughout the years. This winter I have dedicated my time to scanning and saving all of my wife’s photographs. As we both divorced years ago there are plenty of photographs saved from those previous lives we both have lived before we met. As I have already minimized my photo collection, Sharon too has made the decision to empty boxes of pictures from her past. She is finding great joy now in viewing those photos online.

I purchased a good photo scanner and started scanning pictures which she has determined to be worth scanning. The photos are being saved in multiple locations along with Google Photos. With Google Photos she can create albums to share with other family members.

Ultimately those memories are not only being preserved for generations to come but also being removed from a cluttered closet. Sharon literally has thousands of photo’s and many have been taken with the old style 35 mm camera and the quality no be so good. With todays technology I am finding it increasingly easy to make some pretty good improvements on those old photos. Of course there is certainly no way I could go through each photo and perform the photoshop magic to them. A task like that would take years to perform. So I decided that once all the photos are scanned and saved I will copy them to multiple photo cards to pass on to each family member as they can pick and choose those photos that mean the most to them and work their own magic on each one.

I love contemplating the thought of my family many generations before me having the same technology to preserve their past. But knowing that this wasn’t possible I also love contemplating the thoughts of my children’s children and far beyond viewing all the photos that I am now scanning.

Who knows? Some day I may be able to turn this whole process into a small business in retirement as I see Sharon and myself traveling the country in a motorhome.

Posted in adventures, aging, art, family, frugal, growing up, life, marriage, minimalist, photography, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Winter Body Fat

After Christmas and approaching New Year’s us humans are feeling the pressures of the few pounds we put on over the last month or so. The additional weight we added to our bodies are in the form of fat and it certainly feels a bit uncomfortable as our clothing is fitting much tighter than it did just a short time ago.

Unfortunately, this uncomfortable feeling we have is simply a natural phenomenon and has been this way throughout our history. As we enter the colder months of the year our appetites increase, we eat more and start saving body fat to get us through the winter months. It really is all a matter of survival. I don’t believe that there has been a winter in my own history where I haven’t gained 10+ pounds. Our bodies metabolism slows down and we want to sleep more than usual. I believe this whole phenomena is driven by the need to stay warm and also in the decrease of natural sunlight we experience during the winter months.

Our industries too are no strangers to the fact that we may be feeling a bit uncomfortable with the added weight we have put on. It seems like from Christmas day all the way into the month of March we see an increase in commercials all geared around exercise and weight loss products from gym memberships to exercise equipment to diet programs and more. This certainly does not help in taking away from the stress we feel and they know that many will give in to purchasing those items that we believe will help us lose that added weight simply out of the feeling of guilt and inadequacy.

My personal belief is that losing the additional weight at this time of year can be harmful to our health. There is certainly nothing wrong with getting a little daily exercise each day and I do encourage it, but by doing it to an extent to where we start burning that stored fat is not in balance with our natural winter cycle. What we find is that as we do start losing weight our hunger increases as our body pushes to return to that level of stored fat that it needs to manage our survival during the winter. I know that we no longer live in a world where there is not an abundance of food and although we believe that we no longer need to store fat over the winter to survive, our bodies simply do not understand that. By fighting this natural cycle we also put ourselves at risk of illness as we become more susceptible to losing the ability to fight off certain viruses because of the weakening of the immune system.

The key to getting through the winter months really has less to do with the additional weight we have put on and more to do with the emotions we experience and beliefs that we have associated around gaining weight. It is only through excepting the fact that we are naturally storing fat and it is OK. We want to stay the course of eating as healthy as possible and getting the minimum exercise we need to get through our winter days. As humans there are foods we naturally desire at this time of year due to our natural eating patterns throughout history. We hunted and continue to hunt in the winter and meat has become somewhat of a staple for most of us during this time of year. Meat also gives way to soups and stews which provided nutrition for many generations before these modern times we live in. We have the desire to eat more fat and that too is OK. I am certainly no expert in nutrition, but if someone hasn’t created a cookbook for human foods and the winter months it may be a good idea for someone to do so.

My advise to anyone who is stressing out about their body weight at this time of year can be summed up with the word RELAX. Enjoy the winter for what it is. A time to gather with friends and family, snuggle up with a good book and simply go with the flow of nature. Come spring you will notice more energy, less of an appetite and the process of slowly shedding those winter pounds will begin.

Posted in aging, diet, family, fitness, food, frugal, health, life, meditation, mindfulness, minimalist, nature, Oregon, prepared, simple living, stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Respect, Responsibility and Gratitude

As Americans we all share our God given rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is the basis of the US Constitution and these rights should not be infringed upon. Each one of us know that we can enjoy the freedom of knowing that those things we pursuit are attainable should we desire to reach for them.

With these things in mind I believe that it is important to point out that freedom does not come without a cost. There are certain obligations we must all meet and follow that allow these rights to shine for not only ourselves but for others.

We must all practice a mutual respect for one another despite our differences. We must practice not only personal responsibility, but mutual responsibility pertaining to those circles we live in on a daily basis. We must never forget the things we have and be grateful for this life we have been given and understand that even in the darkest of times there is always a light that shines through and with dedication and hard work our dreams are attainable.

Respect begins with understanding. We must all understand that despite the fact that we were all created equal, the matter of truth is that we are all indeed different from on another and these differences are the fruit of our great nation. Male or Female, the color of our skin, that native languages we speak, our level of intellect, and even our personal desires all play into who we all are. Communications and understanding amongst our differences are the true foundations to understanding and the ability to learn to embrace our differences and form the feeling of mutual respect.

Yes, we are all personally responsible for the decisions we make in life, the emotions that we feel and the actions we take. The act of control works only on ourselves and any attempt to try to control others simply does not work. One who takes control of his or her own life becomes influential in the hearts of others which can inspire positive change. Our judgement of one another can only be true judgement when it is based upon actions and not words. Even our children learn from the actions we take and not so much from the words we speak.

No matter where it is we are in life or where we believe we should be, it is important to stop and smell the roses. It is so easy to forget about all of the good things we have in life even when sometimes they seem so meager. The simple act of gratitude for living in a nation where opportunity and prosperity surround us can ground us to a feeling of well being.

No, freedom is not free and as we walk through life we may find many rules and regulations that may be placed in our way. It is these same rules and regulations that form the basis of what our majority deems important as a guideline to provide us all with the ability to find a mutual livability amongst our communities. There are certainly no freebies in life as everything comes at a cost.

As we walk through life it will always be Respect, Responsibility and Gratitude that will give our nation to thrive on basis in which this Great Nation was formed.

 

Posted in aging, debt, family, finances, frugal, life, marriage, mindfulness, minimalist, simple living, stress, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bonus Income

While I have discovered that by simply minimizing my spending habits have delivered the wonderful opportunity of paying down my debts, I have also discovered little techniques to increase my income. None of these are extreme income earners, but if every dollar earned has the potential to get me to my goal that much sooner then they are worth my time spent doing them.

We have a program here in Oregon called Bottle Drop. For each bottle or can that I deliver to the nearest facility I earn ten cents. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of money but I don’t know anyone who spots a dime lying on the sidewalk doesn’t stop and pick it up. Each Saturday I deliver a bag or two of bottles and cans to the facility and the dimes are added to my account. After that I simply forget about them and wait until the end of the year to cash out. This is the first year I started doing this so come the end of this year I will cash out the account and deposit the amount into my savings account.

I have a Bank of America credit card which I use to make purchases when I need to and earn points that turn into cash. I usually wait until the points add up to 100.00 dollars then have a check sent to my house and deposit this amount into my savings account. As I make purchases with my credit card I am also strict about paying the credit card bill off each month in full as to not incur any interest. So last year I made a few hundred dollars as we made a few large purchases for airfare and hotel costs on trips that we had to make.

With just these small tasks I figure that over the span of 10 years it can quickly add up to a few thousand dollars and who couldn’t use a few thousand dollars, especially when you are working to pay down debt.

I know that in the world of frugality there are many others who have discovered ways to add a little Bonus Income to there lives and I would love to here about them all.

Posted in aging, debt, family, finances, frugal, growing up, life, mindfulness, minimalist, Oregon, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Is it OK to Eat Out when you are a Minimalist?

One of the great things living in the Pacific Northwest is the many varieties of foods that are professionally created and served at our local restaurants. We take great pride in attracting some of the best chef’s to the area where we all have the opportunity to taste and appreciate the fine delicacies in which they artfully created. For many people they feel that this type of dining is slightly out of their budget.

One of the statistics that was reported recently was the fact that the average citizen in our area spends a whopping 10% of there budget on eating out. I find this totally amazing as one who has always enjoyed preparing food at home. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go out to eat just as much as anyone else here, but only do it on a special occasion or when my budget has the room for it. For my wife and I we may go out to eat once, or at times the most twice each month. Because we are frugal with our dollars we can usually make the decision to go somewhere local where specialty items are the main items on a menu. Yes, it does cost a little more than going to a fast food restaurant, but I have to say that there simply is no comparison. And the truth is that the cost is usually just slightly higher than eating mass produced foods.

So yes, for those of us who are minimalist or living a simpler way of life there is certainly room to celebrate life with splurging on the fine art of dining.

I dare you to take the 30 day challenge and write down every dollars you spend on eating out. This off course includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and Oh Yea, don’t forget about those Latte’s. When you add up your total amount for the month ask yourself if there is a more affordable way to replace this spending by preparing foods at home. Once you do I am sure you will find yourself in a place where enjoying a fine meal at a local restaurant will become an affordable option. I am sure that both your wallet and your health will thank you.

Posted in aging, debt, family, finances, food, life, mindfulness, minimalist, Oregon, simple living, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Time Well Spent

What is this life I lead all about? I wonder how many generations over thousands of years have asked themselves the same question. Somehow I always picture life being a little simpler for those who lived their lives in the many generations before me.

I don’t truly believe that life was easy for any one generation compared to another. Yesterday I spent 6 hours building a Google Chrome computer system. I have pretty much mastered Windows and Mac systems but the Chrome system had a big learning curve and I ended up doing more studying than actual building. I know that just one generation before mine didn’t have to deal with such things, but there were always other things that needed to learned before mastering. Many things change over time, but the one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that we have all had to deal with the difficulties of our times.

That cycle of life starts off so slowly then time seems to move increasingly faster as the years go by. Question now arise as things I have never thought about when I was a younger man. What legacy am I leaving behind and is it even that important to leave behind a legacy? The dreams I have lived with in my soul, have they been fulfilled? Am I living a life well lived where most days have brought me to the point of feeling that passion so deep down inside of me? Have I made the right decisions to help out other people here on planet earth?

Although I am just 56 years and plan on living many more years, there is still those thoughts of death as I see so many friends and loved one’s passing without a clue as to why. So the big question is – Am I living a life worth living? Yes, I believe that I am.

There are so many things I still have planned for the future and my dreams are still alive and I am discovering ways to fulfill those dreams. Yes, life can certainly be challenging, but it can also be all so wonderful. It really is about the small things and not the major events. It is never about the things we own, but rather the time we spend. Yea, I choose to always spend more on time than on things. Time well spent brings about the true treasures that I hold so dear.

Posted in adventures, aging, family, health, life, marriage, mindfulness, minimalist, Oregon, primal, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Retirement Visions

With just 9 more years of the working life I find that my mind is constantly focused on my visions of retirement. What will retirement look like for me when I hit the age of 65 and can lock in on a lifetime medical plan that I have been contributing to all of my working life?

Like most Americans I am worried after listening to all of the so called experts who constantly remind me that I will not have enough in retirement savings to allow me to retire at age 65. I certainly do not agree with most of their advice due to the fact that they base their advice on the beliefs that I want to maintain my current lifestyle. The truth of the matter is that as comfortable as I am right now, I certainly do not see myself maintaining a lifestyle that is fit for a rat who is busy running a race at a pace which is exhausting, but at times also exhilarating.

I see myself living a life of quiet solitude in a small retirement village for half a year while taking to the road in a small motorhome the other half. With grandchildren all over the country and so many sites to see and visit it sounds like a grand plan for retirement.

The plan itself sound pretty straight forward and affordable, but it also comes with several rules that I must obey to reach such a goal.

  1. The small retirement home I choose to purchase must be paid for. In other words there can be no mortgage payment.
  2. The motorhome too must be paid for in full with no monthly payments.
  3. Between a social security check and a few small pension checks and an annuity check from investments must be able to support this type of lifestyle.
  4. I must be healthy enough to maintain this type of lifestyle for many years.

To make such a dream an actual reality in just nine small years I must stay true to maintaining this minimalist lifestyle. I must continue to contribute and concentrate every living and breathing dollar to paying this house off in it’s entirety. Once the house is paid off I must then use those same dollars towards a Roth IRA based on an index fund.

I know that these visions of a promising future are simple in the form of visions can actually become less promising one day if all of the steps to prepare are not tended to.

No, I do not need 1.5 million dollars in the bank to retire, but I do need a plan in place to maintain a lifestyle during retirement that would allow for both the security of a small home and the excitement of traveling.

Who knows, nine years from now my wife and I may feel differently, but we both know that the sacrifices we make today will provide us with a whatever lifestyle we choose.

 

 

Posted in adventures, aging, camping, debt, family, finances, fitness, fun, growing up, health, hiking, life, marriage, minimalist, prepared, simple living, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments