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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

I am going to be abandoning this blog and letting it sit. Maybe one day I’ll start posting here and there, but really, all I have to say about living a life of freedom, I have said in my books. Everything else you might need to know, you can easily find out via online searches and buying other people’s books.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

The future of this blog and my online business

I am not taking down this blog. For one thing, I have too many places on the Internet (especially YouTube and my published books) that link back to it. I am going to keep it as my business hub.

However, I am not promising to write any more posts. The main reason?

God has called me to do something else. He’s been trying to get my attention about it for a while, but I only just recently got frustrated enough to figure it out.

My calling still revolves around writing. But it is not about helping adults to find success or get healthy. It is about ministering to children, specifically, writing a curriculum using stories that teach them the many principles found in the New Testament. It is geared toward Christian homeschooling families, but any Bible-believing family is welcomed to purchase it. If you or someone you know are interested in this, please click here to visit my Amazon author page and click the link to follow me. That way, you will receive an e-mail when I put the books up for sale.

No more writing romance novels, no more obligatory blog posts for the purpose of driving traffic and trying to make an affiliate income. I finally figured out what’s at the core of my purpose…

And now I truly feel like I’ve stepped into a life of freedom.

If you are on my e-mailing list, I will be canceling that service and you will no longer be receiving e-mails from me. But I promised you bonus books, and bonus books you shall receive. Click here to download each and every one of them.

And thanks for hanging out with me this long. I wish all the best for you, but remember, the best won’t just fall out of the sky. You have to take action, and invest in yourself.

Blessings to you,

Emily

 

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strawbpatch

Ever planted 125 strawberries over the space of two days? I did, last week. And oh, that does not include the twenty-five that I had to plant in our son’s strawberry tower. And that is on top of planting nine fruit trees, seventeen berry bushes, five raspberry canes, two kiwi vines, and ten asparagus crowns the day previous.

Are you exhausted yet? I was – and sore, too – but I’m feeling much better now, thank you for asking. 😉

Things are not always what they seem

Some of you have come on board this blog since last August when we had a miserably hot drought and I subsequently wrote the “My Fried Garden” post. I ended up ripping out my strawberry patch as I decided to start fresh this year. Why? I got tired of watering it by hand. It seemed that every day, I saw more dead, dried leaves, and I thought all my strawberry plants were dying despite my heroic efforts.

And I was so sick of watering the garden! So I solved the problem in the most extreme way, saving about 100 of the healthiest-looking plants (about half of which survived) and ripping the rest out of the ground.

About a month later, I began to find survivors in the large, bare plot in my garden. Baby suckers that had come off the mother plants.

Alive.

I had destroyed my strawberry patch for nothing. Although the heat was drying up the leaves, making the patch look terrible, the roots below were still viable. I could have had hundreds of strawberry flowers by now.

The power of patience

What took many days, weeks, months, years, even decades to build can be destroyed in a few minutes’ work with a wrecking ball. Or a pair of discouraged, stressed-out (would I have done it had we not been in the middle of building a house?) hands.

That’s the scary thing about building. Building a house, building a cathedral, building a friendship, building a business, building a career, building a family. Any of them can be destroyed in a fraction of the time it took to build them.

Like the song says, “build it anyway.”

But, what if you’re like me and you already destroyed something without thinking, something that you now regret having destroyed?

Start over.

Yes, it will take time, energy, and perhaps money. It will be painful, because you will be full of regrets and kicking yourself for allowing yourself to act so rashly during a period of discouragement. You will be acutely aware of how far behind you are, compared to where you might have been had you not destroyed in the first place.

But you will also work on the project with a heap more wisdom than you had before. You will realize that while the surface of a thing might not look so good, chances are, the roots are still viable and therefore salvageable.

So you will be much slower to destroy the second time around. You will think. You will pray for patience. You will know that feeling so discouraged today that you wish the world would disappear, does not mean that you will feel that way tomorrow.

You will know that the second build is worth it.

125 plants in the ground

For three days, my thighs ached and my feet were sore. One of those days, my old lower back pain came back to haunt me.

If anyone shows me a strawberry crown anytime within the next few months, I will run away from them screaming!

I will not have nearly as many strawberries this year as I would have, had I kept my old strawberry patch.

But all the time, work, pain, and money spent for new plants has been worth it.

And I won’t be making a mistake like that again, any time soon.

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Do You Need A Financial Planner?

financialplanning

Do you need a financial planner?

Do you need a financial planner? When I was just beginning my career as a schoolteacher, I didn’t think anything about that for a while. I knew that a certain percent of my salary was taken out of monthly paycheck and put into a teacher retirement fund. I knew that when I retired around age sixty, I would start receiving payments out of that fund in order to cover my bills.

Well, I don’t know that now. I worked only until age 36, when I became pregnant. But I suspect that if I had not done any independent investing, my monthly retirement from the state fund would have been frighteningly lacking.

Sometimes, ignorance isn’t bliss

I believe it was my second year teaching – could have been my first – that one of my colleagues approached me about seeing a financial planner. She was in her forties, and probably was remembering how stupid she had been about finances when she was my age.

She gave me a business card, I called and made an appointment, and began investing into annuities because my parents had made me afraid of the stock market.

That was semi-good. At least I got on the right track of not counting on a government agency to feed me in my old age.

Over the years, my financial planner from that particular company changed a few times. I even had the big boss herself help me out when the guy who had been my financial planner quit her employ. She was the one who finally told me that I was a big girl (I was thirty by then) and so I should branch out into mutual funds.

Then 9-1-1 happened a year or so later and the value of my mutual funds plummeted.

I told Christina to put my money back into annuities.

My ignorance made me lose a lot of money. And for some reason – though she must have known better – she never sat down with me and worked out the numbers to explain the average return of mutual funds over time, if you don’t freak out and pull all your money out when the stock market turns into a bear. So, overall it was good that I had a financial planner. I hadn’t been taught anything about investing, didn’t know until my mid-thirties that my non-investing, non-saving father left my mother with practically nothing.

The only thing I knew about finance was the importance of living beneath your means. Which is not a bad thing, of course, but not close to everything I needed to know.

If I knew then…

If I had known about The Permanent Portfolio when I was first starting out, I would have invested as much as I dared into it.

Maybe. But back then, there was no Internet. To do such a thing would require seeking out (and paying) a broker. A financial planner was the average person’s go-to for investing.

Why you don’t need a financial planner

My financial planners made two mistakes. First, nobody ever bothered to show me why mutual funds weren’t the huge risk I’d been led to believe. Granted, they are much riskier than The Permanent Portfolio, but they make a lot better return than annuities – even back then.

Second, Christina talked me into buying my own home, which turned out to be a condo because on my teacher’s salary there was no way I could afford a house in Dallas.

And I was NOT going to commute!

Long story short, I lost a good bit of money when I sold the condo. I would have been $11,000 richer if I had just continued to rent an apartment until I married Jerry.

*Sigh.*

My husband, by the way, never used a financial planner. He worked for a corporation with a 401k and was told to max it out every year, so he did, investing mostly in mutual funds.

If you work for a corporation that makes investing easy, that gives you a leg up right there. But if you are looking for super-early retirement, such as what my husband and I achieved, you will need to invest beyond a 401k or 403b, whose maximum annual additions are severely limited.

Do you need a financial planner to figure that out? Nope. You’ve got the books The Permanent Portfolio by Craig Rowland and The Ivy Portfolio by Faber and Richardson. You’ve got the Internet. You can go to the website of T. Rowe Price, Vanguard, or Fidelity and open a brokerage account, put money into it, then start dividing up your funds according to the portfolio type you choose.

All without the help of a financial planner – who would look at you like you had three heads when you told them you wanted to put 25% of your assets into a money market account! (That’s part of The Permanent Portfolio.) And who might also pressure you to make expensive mistakes based on mainstream financial advice, like, oh, I don’t know, buying a house when you don’t really want to.

If you’re serious about retiring much sooner than mainstream culture dictates, read my book, read the other books cited above (they are both available on e-readers), and start investing.

I accept in advance the thanks you’ll give me ten to twenty years from now. 😉

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My 2016 Re-Awakening

Spring has arrived, and my soul has awakened.

I’m not trying to be poetical. I feel like I’ve been in some kind of emotional slumber during the past few months. While it has sometimes felt like depression, it’s been mostly a kind of soulish lethargy.

I lost enthusiasm for gardening. I began to get tempted to cancel our nearly $800 Raintree Nursery order. (Why not just live on Masaji and bananas and be happy, and not try to produce our own fruit?) Recently, despite what I wrote in this post, I’ve wanted to quit blogging, maybe quit writing altogether.

Part of the reason is that my mood is strongly affected by the weather. Always has been, which is one reason I moved down South. I need more sun in order to be happy. But even here, the sun can disappear for days at a time during the winter months, bringing to me a mild to moderate Season Affective Disorder.

Another part is that I have been off track with my business. Let me touch on that first…

My online business struggles

They mostly have to do with YouTube. First, I read that a successful blog should have a video in every post. So I felt pressure to start creating more videos so I would have one to go with every post.

Second, I started a YouTube show about our homesteading life called “Our Underground Life.” Even to do only two shows a week takes an inordinate amount of my time. Our intent in moving out here was to live a life of freedom, but doing that show began to feel like a kind of bondage within a very short period.

Taking time to listen to that still, small voice within me the other day, I discovered that I am not supposed to be striving to make money with YouTube. It is not against God’s will for me to upload videos that I really want to create and share, but it is not supposed to be something I spend a lot of time and creative energy on.

I made a conscious decision to no longer care about how many videos I put out, how many subscribers I have, or how much money I’m making, and a weight lifted off my shoulders.

But my business struggles haven’t solely centered around “to YouTube, or not to YouTube.” As what has always happened when I’ve started a blog, I grew tired of it long before it became profitable. And I have two blogs right now, both of which I have been sorely tempted to drop during the past couple of weeks.

But when I’ve prayed about it in the past, the answer has always been that I am supposed to maintain both. So the other day, while asking about YouTube, I asked about the blogs as well.

Here’s what I got: I’m not supposed to follow the blogging rules. What rules?

  • All posts need to be over 1800 words in order for Google to like them.
  • All posts need Pinterest-friendly images.
  • All posts must be based on (and include) long-tail keywords (phrases at least four words long) that a lot of people are searching for.
  • All posts must be about a topic a lot of people are searching for.
  • All posts must make you sound like an expert.

Dear Lord, I’m getting frustrated and bored just writing that list!

So if I’m not supposed to be following the rules, what am I supposed to be doing?

Sharing my thoughts and experiences in an authentic way.

Kind of like, say, this here blog post. 😉

Continue to expect to see encouraging posts about working toward having more freedom in your life. But also expect to see more posts about my own growth, including my frustrations and disappointments because I know for myself that just knowing somebody else is making an effort to overcome the difficult parts in their life encourages me to keep moving forward.

What about growing food?

What can I say? With the sunshine and warmer weather, I am suddenly as excited about gardening as I have ever been. I have a renewed determination to do my best to produce all of our own produce – or at least, most of it. We like bananas and dates, and they kinda sorta don’t grow this far north. 😉

Maybe it has something to do with all the baby tomatoes growing in the bathroom. Maybe getting all of our fruit trees/bushes/vines in the ground the other day helped.

And here’s the other thing: if I’m not busting my rear to produce videos, I have plenty of time to focus on growing food, which makes my life a lot less stressful.

So even though I’m getting older in body (46 years in less than a month!), I actually feel younger and more alive than I did last fall.

Your turn. Tell me in the comments what positive changes are blossoming inside you this spring. 🙂

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