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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.

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.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,

Emily

 

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Humpty Dumpty Fell Off The…Bed

The other day, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Okay, so it was me. And nobody in their right mind would look at me and think, “Wow, she’s the spitting image of Humpty Dumpty!” (I am one of those women with a body which fat women like to call “skinny” in order to make themselves feel better.) But I fell nonetheless – not off of a wall, but off of our bed.

Now, picture this: two bright, college-educated people in their forties have a brand-new spankin’ house built, which they can furnish any way they like. When it comes to their bedroom, they’re going to think ahead thirty years and realize that they want a bed that will be easy to get in and out of well into their hundreds.

Right?

Well, whichever couple that is, it’s not us. While planning out our house’s interior, I say to J, “Hey! Our bedrooms are going to be super-small, so why not built a high-platform bed in our bedroom so we can store stuff underneath?”

To which he replies, “That makes sense.”

As a consequence, to get into our bed requires either a pole vault or a stepladder. I’ve had second thoughts about the bed ever since we moved into this house, but my third thoughts have always been, “Well, when we get old we can get the stuff out of our room and have a bed of normal height.”

What I didn’t realize was that one of the many afflictions of perimenopause includes clumsiness. Okay, so I’d read about it somewhere, but I thought it meant I shouldn’t try to balance trays of drinks on my head or try to simultaneously rub my belly and pat my head. I certainly didn’t think it would mean that one morning, after having gotten out of the bed for over seven hundred times with absolutely no incidence, that my foot would miss the stepstool.

Here’s how it plays out: I have just finished the main part of my daily core workout on the bed, and am stepping down to use one of the steps to do my morning calf stretch.

Uh, no, not that kind of calf. We’re vegans, remember? I’m talking about the part of my leg behind my shins.

The accident

I am sliding off the bed, thinking I’ve aimed my foot to land on the top step of the two-step stepstool, but I am wrong. Only my right big toe lands on the very edge of the top step. I lose my balance, and my left foot, instead of its usual graceful reach down onto the bottom step, mostly misses it. It’s already a twenty-six inch drop from the top of the mattress to the top step, making the extra nine inches down to the bottom step much more disconcerting than it might otherwise have been.

And when my left foot mostly misses that bottom step…BAM! A second later, I am on my backside after my left foot slams down on the tile floor. For the next two hours or so, I hurt from my neck to my toes. Literally.

“Blankety-blank-blank-BLANK!” I shout, bringing J immediately into the room. Because he is a mere seven feet away in the kitchen. And B grabs a piece of paper to write down the interesting new vocabulary words I have just taught him.

What do you think happens next? My husband sweeps me up into his arms and gently settles me on the bed and tells me to rest and not worry about a thing – he’ll do all my chores for me today, including the morning smoothie preparation? He brings me my mp3 player and tells me I’ll be getting breakfast in bed?

Let us dream together.

I think he was afraid to touch me. How would you feel if your independent and strong-willed spouse was sitting on the floor, spitting nails at God? (More on that in a moment.) So J just stands there, staring down at me helplessly – hoping, I’m sure, that I don’t find a way to blame him for my accident. Not that I would do such a thing. I am, after all, the Perfect Spouse who never attacks her husband in self-defense.

Do you hear my husband laughing in the background?

While alternately biting my tongue to keep my son from learning any more new words, and ranting about how much life sucks to J, I find myself feeling begrudgingly thankful to find that I have not re-broken my left arm. Three years ago, I had used my left arm to break a fall.

Instead, I broke my arm to the tune of a $25,000 surgery.

Being a masochist, this arm also decides to help out my left foot in trying to break my fall off the bed. But the impact this time is not nearly as fierce as it had been when I broke it, and in addition my right arm and butt both try to do their duty to save my head from bashing against the tile floor. Thus, even though the lovely knot of scar tissue from the surgery as well as the muscle on the underside of the arm are sore for a while, the arm is otherwise fine and dandy. And the muscle soreness disappears before lunch.

And it was all God’s fault!

Remember when I shared my revelation that from now on, nothing would really be my fault? I could have easily blamed hormones on this one, particularly because I was, indeed, P-M-S-ing. But when I’m hormonal, it’s never the hormones’ fault. It’s either my stupidity, my husband’s existence, or God.

Usually God. Because isn’t He in charge? Couldn’t He have done something to stop my from falling?

“God hates me,” I like to say at times like these. And so I do on this occasion.

“My hamstring is finally healed and my back was finally getting better,” I whine with tears threatening behind my eyelids. “I finally could dance again. But I guess I’m not allowed to be happy for more than two months at a time. God wants me to be in physical pain. I’m not allowed to be active, like I want to be.”

Yada-yada. And so it goes.

And as you can see, lightning does not strike me. Thank God, He knows the heart, and isn’t shocked off the throne when one of His children need to vent.

Anyhow. Yeah. This is all God’s fault. Because He hates me.

As I check my body for injuries, I am sure I have given myself whiplash. Think that my upper left arm is going to hurt for the next couple of days. Am positive that I’d pulled my left thigh muscle (not the hamstring; the one in the front), have undone all the healing in my lower back that I’d achieved, and have badly strained my big left toe as well as fractured my big right toe.

Exercise is worth it!

Some – or all – of those may have come true if not for the core workout, back stretches, and other exercises I’d been doing for the past several weeks. As it happens, none of them do. Well, except I do discover two days later that I pulled a muscle in my lower back, but it’s nothing debilitating.

Other than that, the worst outcome of the fall is straining the muscle on my right big toe because of how it landed on the top step of the stepstool. And that takes only three days to get back to normal.

However, all the other muscles just feel sore for a couple of days as if I’ve used them intensely and unexpectedly.

You know, like what happens when you are in a fender-bender. Or when, I don’t know, you fall off of a high platform bed.

And however much I am irritated by the condition of my toe, I am beyond relieved – and utterly grateful – that indeed, my lower back has not been re-injured. At least, not nearly to the extent I initially feared. If nothing else, this little incident showed me that the time I take every day to do my back exercises is totally worth it.

It also reminded us all that when I am having a day so bad that I am convinced God is out to get me, we can predict with nearly 100% accuracy a specific event that will occur the next day.

I am going to start my period.

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Brown Rice Turned White

This is why preparedness experts tell you not to count on brown rice for long-term storage (I’ve had this rice for over a year):

View from top of plastic container in which the brown rice had been living. It’s an old Amazing Grass container, so it should have been airtight…

 

What it looked like inside when I dug down an inch or so.

Oops.

 

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My Next Big Goal

I’m going to be the next Erma Bombeck.

Huh? What do you mean, “Who’s Erma Bombeck?” Five days of detention to you for making me feel old! Erma Bombeck is one of the greatest female…oh, wait. Hold on.

Erma Bombeck died more than twenty years ago, at the age of sixty-nine.

Oh. I guess I am getting old.

A-hem, Erma Bombeck was one of the greatest female humor writers, popular through the 1960’s and ‘90s with both her newspaper column and her books. She may have possibly been the greatest female humor writer to date.

Until me.

Understand that I say that with the greatest of humility. And three weeks after having declared to my husband that I am going to launch a singing career via YouTube.

About which I have already changed my mind.

Wishy-washy much?

But, here’s the thing. I need to do something.

Besides blending up smoothies and picking worms off broccoli leaves, I mean.

And while I’m good at singing, even decent at coming up with song lyrics, I’m not that great at coming up with melodies. And to add instruments, I would have to use software like Band-In-A-Box, which would ultimately give me a headache because it requires a lot of looking at the computer screen.

I actually purchased the MegaPak of that software, which I am now planning to return as soon as it arrives. Maybe. I think.

Leastwise, I ain’t plannin’ to be the next Carrie Underwood no more. (Read in a Southern accent.)

On the other hand, writing requires little more from me than butt-in-chair time and a few interesting ideas. It comes easily to me, and either sending off an article to a magazine or self-publishing a book on Kindle does not take very much away from my “eye energy.”

It also does not require hours of practice, agonizing over whether I’m putting the right emotion in the right places and whether it will sound original enough. Not to mention whether anyone will even like my songs.

Not that everyone has always liked my books. Some people just have no taste.

Regardless, writing comes much more easily to me than creating songs. At least, non-fiction and short stories.

Don’t make me rehash my trials and tribulations with writing novels!

So, why humor? And who am I to even think that I could compete with the likes of the Great Erma Bombeck?

First answer: Because I’m tired of telling people how to live their lives. And I’m tired of being serious. I’ve been so serious that heart attacks see me coming and run away.

And at forty-seven years old, I’ve had a lot of experiences that I can now look back on and laugh.

You know, like that one time I thought I would become a pop singer in middle age.

Second answer: I’m not going to compete with Erma Bombeck. How can I compete with somebody who’s dead?

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A New Level Of Freedom

I have recently reached a new level of freedom in my life.

I no longer keep track of the money we spend. I finally figured out that I don’t have to.

Who should keep track of household expenditures

If you have ever read my book Hatching The Nest Egg, you know that my husband and I did the budget thing for years. Since moving to our rural property, I ditched the budget in favor of keeping track of monthly expenditures per the recommendation of the authors of Your Money Or Your Life.

You also know that I insist that anyone working toward specific financial goals should either use a budget or (easier) keep track of monthly spending.

So, I am not condoning a laissez-faire attitude toward money. If you fall into any of the following four categories, you should keep careful track of your spending.

**1. You have incurred credit card debt that has interest accruing every month because you can’t pay it off. (You need to discipline yourself to stop spending money you don’t have.)

**2. Your household income just meets your household’s monthly expenditure needs. You may have a little to spare, but you can’t make large purchases blindly because there’s a chance you’ll clean out – or get frighteningly close to cleaning out – your bank account.

**3. You are trying to get out of debt, build up a nest egg, or save for a specific large future purchase (car, cruise, down payment on a house, etc.).

**4. You are a natural spender (even if you’re good about not getting into debt, your unnecessary expenditures could be a detriment to your future).

The heavy chains of the poverty mentality

Even though my husband and I declared financial independence several years ago (in our early forties), I have continued to agonize over our spending.

  • J’s car needs new tires? Aargh!
  • The car insurance bill once again. *Sigh*
  • I was hoping to spend under $1900 this month, but now we have to buy these garden supplies that are going to send us over that amount. WHAA!

Why? Why have I continued to stress out about how much we spend?

I was raised with a poverty mentality. By the time I was eleven or twelve years old, I quit asking my parents for things because the answer was inevitably, “We can’t afford it.” They weren’t blowing smoke just to get me (and my siblings) off their backs; my dad’s income was just at the government-designated poverty level, my mom quit her job when I was in third grade, and at one point they were in danger of losing our house.

I watched my mom cut coupons every week before she went grocery shopping, witnessed her passing the coupons to the cashier. My clothes usually came from garage/yard sales, and we didn’t get to do the things that our peers who lived in town – and whose dads worked for IBM and the Mayo Clinic – got to do.

I was never taught about investing. In my late teens taught myself how to save money because as a child of poor parents, I was going to have to pay my own way through college.

By the time I was going to college, I was chained fast to the poverty mentality, or fear of lack. It may not have taken me until age forty-seven to get free from that bondage, except for the car accident I was in at age twenty-four.

Long story short: an eighty year old woman sideswiped me, then sued me for damages.

It was the first time I considered suicide.

The good thing about was, a Dallas police officer witnessed the accident and knew that the old lady had been at fault. Also, my car insurance company paid for my legal representation in court.

The bad thing was, even though I ended up not having to pay the woman anything, I grew terrified that one day I would be sued again – and that time, lose. Not only lose my dignity and my good reputation, but lose my life savings. (Understand that in my mid-twenties, we’re talking under $4,000.)

From that time until I met J, I never allowed myself any frivolous spending. Okay, maybe a little bit – like houseplants and things like that – but I scrimped and saved, constantly living with the fear that one day, someone might try to take most of it away from me. And if they succeeded, I wanted to have enough left to feed and shelter myself.

After I married J, I let myself go a little more in the spending department. After all, he made twice the income as a computer programmer than I did as a teacher. I felt financially secure for the first time in my life.

Still, large expenses continued to stress me out. Having to pay a hospital bill to give birth after I’d already paid a midwife the same amount of money. Repairing one of the two A/C units in our suburban home (every single dadgum year!). Having our backyard fence rebuilt after a windstorm. And so on.

And then, just after we’d figured out we could be financially independent by 2011 or 2012 by the way our investments were growing, the crash of 2008 happened. At the time, J’s retirement was all in mutual funds. Like everyone else in mutual funds, we lost about 30% of our portfolio value.

Ouch. Discouragement and disappointment loomed high.

So I redoubled my efforts to save money. Joined an MLM company and started a blog, thinking I’d be able to retire my husband that way.

Right.

Eventually, our funds recovered most of the way, and we subsequently learned about the Permanent Portfolio and got of mutual funds a few months later. Finally, we declared financial independence in early 2013, and moved in 2014 having purchased our property in 2011.

Now my problem was: how well will the Permanent Portfolio work?

Why I am now free to not keep track of our spending

First: in summary, the Permanent Portfolio works. Marvelously. Since we moved almost four years ago, the interest we make on our investments averages what I had last received as a salary after thirteen years of teaching in a public school. This is basically what we were living on during our last four years in Plano – and it also happens to be more than one and a half times that which we have averaged in spending over the past four years here (not counting one-time biggies, like building a shed or finishing out our earth-sheltered house).

Second: J and I are both naturally frugal. Most of what we spend is necessary (food, items for gardening, and so on), and we don’t go crazy spending hundreds of dollars a month on “fun” stuff.

BUT…we can afford to spend around 1.5 times more than we have been doing!

Therefore, I decided not to sweat finances anymore. I am definitely enjoying this new level of freedom!

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