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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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The Story Of A Large Garden

Before we moved

1. I am going to have a NATURAL garden! I am going to grow everything IN THE GROUND – no more raised beds for me! I’ve read Ruth Stout, and if mulching with hay worked for her, it will work for me. No more weed or irrigation problems!

I’ll just kill my back trying to rake in this azomite (rock minerals) and dolomitic limestone (to raise the pH levels of this very acidic soil). I can do it. I will do it, all by myself…Damn, I’ve never seen so many rocks…

2. Oh, sweetheart, would you PLEASE finish raking in the amendments for me??!

3. There! Now the hay is all down. The entire 1600 square feet is covered in at least six inches of hay. It only cost $40 per bale, and thank God J was here to help me break the bales apart.

The first year

4. Look at that – it’s raining, AGAIN! In the middle of July! And our neighbor up the mountain told us that last year, it rained almost every afternoon all summer. That must be normal for this area, then. Hallelujah! Who cares if we don’t have running water? I can totally handle watering the entire garden by hand if it’s only four times a year.

5. What’s that? Oh, grass. Figures. I knew I’d get plenty of grass seed with the hay. Well, it’s easy enough to pull out.

6. More grass. Every day, grass. I know Ruth Stout said that I should just heap more hay on top of it so that it can’t continue to grow, but then we’d have to buy more hay. I don’t want to spend any more money on this garden then I have to…

7. (Late in the season) What? Why can’t I pull up this mature grass that’s going to seed? Doggone it, there’s a tangled web of hay grass root underneath all this hay that should have been keeping it from growing. I’ll have to get the shovel to get it out.

The second year

8. There are weeds and grass all over this property. Why can’t I just use that for mulch? It should work as well as hay, right?

9. A drought. A drought? Crap. I’ll bet the past two summers were just flukes. Every other day, I’m having to drag gallons of water to the garden. The weed mulch isn’t working – and I’ll bet the hay mulch didn’t do all that much to keep the soil moist, either. It was all the rain we had last summer.

10. It’s 100 degrees and humid and this sucks and I just want to let everything die but I’ll feel guilty and like a failure if I do.

11. A self-watering system? Yes, that’s exactly what I want! Forget natural gardening. Forget trying to amend this awful sand that won’t hold water for more than a day. I’m going back to container gardening. I’m going to set up this system that “Larry Hall up in Brainerd, Minnesota” talks about.

12. Forget that. I am NOT going to spend that much money just to grow food!

13. Besides, as convenient as this system is, it actually uses more water than I am now, watering by hand.

14. Back To Eden! My savior! Yes! Mulch with wood chips! Look, it’s worked for this lady up in northeast Oklahoma, and they must have the same soil as we do, right?

15. What a pain, having to collect all these wood chips from the side of the road.

The third year

16. What will I do when there are no more wood chips on the side of the road at a convenient distance, and I need more in a few years?

17. Hotter than last year, and a longer drought. The wood chips are helping some, but I’m still having to water something almost every day. I know, I know, I have to wait for the wood chips to compost some…

18. They have composted. I can tell by the lower levels. But I am watering as much as ever.

19. I never want to so much as grow a single cucumber vine or broccoli plant again.

20. But still. We live 2.5 hours away from Whole Foods, and we go grocery shopping once a month.

21. Last year I found out about sub-irrigation planters (SIP), or wicking beds. New idea: only grow as many plants as we absolutely need, and grow them in such beds.

22. (Late in the season) I am looking at my greens bed, realizing that even in the winter, I have to water it because the sand doesn’t hold the moisture very long.

23. Father speaks to me to mix peat moss into the soil.

24. I argue that peat moss is horrible if you let it dry up.

25. Yes, I argue with my Creator. Pray for me.

26. I think He tells me this so that I will do some more digging. Figuratively, I mean. On the Internet.

27. So I dig. And rediscover CocoPeat, or coir, which I have in my goji berry pots. It is the COIR that has kept the potting mix in those pots so moist all summer, despite me not watering them every day.

28. I do an I-could-have-had-a-V8 forehead smack. I’ve never been able to NOT water a container every day during the summer.

29. Unlike peat moss, coir absorbs moisture from the air.

30. The average annual humidity here is 74%!!!! Do you think we have a little moisture in the air?

31. I DON’T NEED TO BUST MY BACK BUILDING SIP BEDS. All I have to do is mix coir into the soil wherever I want to grow things. I hope to be able to keep my watering down to once a week, perhaps even less?

The fourth year

To be announced…

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“Our son is so behind!”

Behind what? or, whom?

“Behind the average nine-year-old.”

That must be an interesting view.

“No! I mean, he’s behind academically.”

What does it look like to be behind academically?

“Well, you know – come on! I was a classroom teacher for thirteen years. I know what a kid his age should be able to do.”

So you’re unhappy you didn’t send him to school?

“Absolutely not! You know I’m not. Don’t be ridiculous.”

[Silence.]

“I mean, he’s three grade levels behind in reading.”

I thought you didn’t believe in grade levels.

“Yeah, well…it’s just that I was reading by age four, and my husband by age five. And he was even ADD and is mildly dyslexic. Not that anybody knew that back in the 1970’s.”

And you think your child missed the gene.

“Uh, YEA-AH!”

So you think your son is an idiot.

“I never said that!”

He’s two bricks short of a wall.

“Hey, now, our son is darn smart! He could tell you a heavy bookful of information about a variety of animals. And you should see the things he makes out of Legos. I think he may even draw better than I did at that age.”

But you’re worried about his reading.

“A bit. We’re making progress, but it’s SO-O-O slow.”

So when you were a kid, you understood everything the moment it was taught you.

“No. The teachers tried to teach subtracting with zeroes and long division using New Math, and I totally didn’t get it. They thought I was stupid in math because I couldn’t do it that way.”

Are you stupid in math?

“I got A’s in Algebra 2 in high school, and in my college statistics class. What do you think?”

I think that it took you a while to get math.

“…Oh.”

Anything else take you a while to understand?

“This one’s crazy: reading music! I’ve always loved to sing, and I have a strong sense of rhythm (taught my husband-to-be how to dance, thank you very much), but I didn’t understand how to time the different notes until I was in seventh grade. You know, a quarter note gets one beat and all that.”

And how long did music teachers try to teach you that skill?

“I think they started in third grade. Maybe second?”

Four years, possibly five, for you to get it. Did other kids seem to get it right away?

“Oh, yeah. Otherwise I wouldn’t have felt bad about it…oh. I see what you’re saying.”

And I think you’ve mentioned a time or two that you’ve always gotten tired from reading after thirty minutes or so.

“Well, when I was young, I think I could go for an hour. Or else I was just too young to think about how tired I was feeling. But it was down to about thirty minutes by my early 20’s. Now, fifteen, max.”

Is this a genetic problem?

“Yep. Irlen Syndrome. And I know what you’re going to ask next – if our son has it. Yes, he does.”

I hear you saying that he is not only taking longer than the average schooled child to learn to read, but that the Irlen Syndrome might be causing the process of reading to be uncomfortable.

“You’re one smart cookie.”

How is he doing in math?

“Making good progress. At least average.”

You keep bringing up that word average. Is that somehow important to you?

“Well, uh…it shouldn’t be. It doesn’t really mean anything concrete, does it?”

Great minds think alike. Would you consider your son to be above average in anything?

“Oh, yeah. Physical ability. He’s a very fast runner, and strong for his size. He knows how to use a level and understands basic construction, unlike most boys his age. He makes amusing plays on words – on purpose. And he’s a genius when it comes to arguing.”

So, reading is the only skill he seems to struggle with?

“Yeah, I guess so.”

But he’s making some progress, albeit slow.

“Yes.”

I’m failing to see a real problem here.

“Uh, my niece reads several grade levels above him even though she’s younger and I’m generally afraid that my friends and family will think I’ve done a pathetic job at homeschooling?”

I see. So, you’re self-conscious, self-centered and walking in the fear you keep telling your blog readers to get rid of.

“Hey, wait a minute…uh, well, I guess so.”

Again, is there a real problem with your son’s academic ability?

“You genius, you. Of course there isn’t. Just with his silly ol’ mama…”

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The Freedom Not To Grow Mung Beans

I am in the middle of reading one of the most awesome memoirs, which is really a series of blog posts, that I will probably ever read. The author may be better known as her blog name, “Journey Mama.” The book is Trees As Tall As Mountains, and if you happen to be a woman who has dealt with her own mental illness while raising children (heck, is there such a thing as a mother who is completely sane?), I cannot recommend this book more highly for its insight, encouragement, and faith-building words.

But I didn’t start this blog post to do a book review. Something I just read in her book spoke to me so loudly that I had to put it down and share my thoughts.

Here’s what Rachel was writing about: a twenty-eight hour long power outage, in which she has a revelation that she loves electricity, and all the appliances that go with it. She makes the confession that she would make a lousy pioneer.

Why would that make such an impact on me? As I was listening to the book (I almost always listen because reading makes me so tired), I was shelling mung beans. I ended up not harvesting very many – probably just enough for two salads, once sprouted. But here’s the thing: I did not water any of the mung bean plants this summer.

Not once.

They are extremely drought tolerant, and I wasn’t about to bust my hind end watering One More Thing (and in the case of the beans, it was more like thirty-six more things. At least). However, as I picked the beans that I did, I noticed that many of the pods had not developed properly. Then, as I sat there shelling the beans, I noticed that many of the pods that looked healthy released shriveled up and deformed beans.

And there was Rachel Ford, talking about not being pioneer material.

I looked at the (dozens) of pods left in the bags. I looked at the pathetic beans in the bowl. I thought about how extremely cheap mung beans are to purchase, even the organic ones.

And I decided that I was not self-sufficient-in-food material.

Oh, and did I tell you that I ended up ripping out all of the plants a couple of weeks after that first harvest? When I knew I could have gotten at least two more harvests among all the plants over the next two months?

The mung beans are just a symbol…

I haven’t blogged for so long, that you don’t know about the revelation I had this summer:

God did not call my husband and I to try to be self-sufficient in food.

Let me be even more specific:

God never called me to try to grow a huge garden. The calling on both our lives revolves around writing (and, in Jerry’s case, I believe painting as well. But I think Father’s going to have to use a club to get that through his head).

We also have a child to raise.

But the long and short of it is, every single step we have taken to establish the garden, as well as to purchase and plant fruit trees/bushes/vines, has felt like getting our teeth pulled.

Yes, I can be very clueless and stubborn sometimes, thank you very much!

Walking into my purpose

Very soon, I am going to be writing about the purpose to which Father has called me at this point in my life. For now, let it be known that letting go of the need to be perfect has freed my mind to live without my own, heavy yokes.

Such as trying to be self-sufficient in food. Especially dirt-cheap food like beans.

And as those yokes fell off, my mind was suddenly clear enough to see that there are many “right” ways of living. And for most people, any of those ways will work, as long as they are walking out the purpose on their lives.

Therefore…

…it’s okay to have electricity – even (SHOCK!) to be on the grid.

…it’s okay to depend on other people for your sustenance.

…it’s okay to spend money on nice clothes.

…it’s okay to drive a BMW (uh, not that we ever would, but I’m just saying – the judgment against expensive cars has gone).

…it’s okay to travel by plane.

…it’s even okay if you choose to bottle feed your baby! (I can’t tell you what it takes for me to write that – like somebody yanking a rope out of my insides!).

Freedom is sometimes in the eye of the beholder

I once watched a video about some guy who was totally off-grid and (I think) living in a tiny house. He probably grew his own mung beans, too. I remember how someone commented below the video that this guy had REAL freedom.

She can believe whatever she wants. And if Rachel and I tried to talk her down from her high horse, she probably wouldn’t listen.

I know, because I used to think exactly like that commenter.

So we won’t try to talk to her. We will simply continue walking in our freedom. Rachel, her freedom to use electricity. I, my freedom to look forward to a monthly Whole Foods visit (and occasional calls to place an order with Sunorganic.com).

Okay, and to use electricity and a car and a computer and so on, but you know what I mean.

We have the true freedom that comes from knowing our Creator. And that’s more important than trying to live anyone’s ideal of the perfect life (which, of course, does not exist).

P.S. – I supposed I should tell you: upon hearing Rachel’s words about not being a pioneer, I promptly tossed the mung beans aside. Later, I dumped them all in the woods.

Freedom, people, freedom!

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I’ve Discovered My Purpose!

In my book, Simplicity: Finding Freedom From the Inside Out, I give readers four steps to finding their purpose.

How many of you know that lock-step formulas are often a far reach from reality?

“Three steps to financial freedom!”

“Five steps to a non-existent butt!”

“Seven keys to convince God to give you everything you want!”

Life is much more complicated than that. And I knew that when I wrote that section about finding your purpose in that book. I wanted to give directionless people a small way to start. They are the basic steps I’ve followed to move into my purpose, however long and winding the path following those steps have ended up being.

My problem is that I ignored the latter part of the book, the part where I tell people how to declutter their minds.

I’m not being charitable to myself. I didn’t purposely ignore anything. The fact is, I was under more than a bit of self-deception. After all, I am the author of this self-help book, so none of those categories can pertain to me, right?

I heard it said that the worst deception is self-deception.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently (and will probably revisit from time to time) how I’ve struggled with perfectionism and the ensuing depression most of my adult life. And when you’ve got those kinds of chains hanging off you, it’s gonna be hard to figure out what you’re really supposed to be when you grow up.

Those chains are annoying, man! They consume most of your thoughts and make you feel like you’ve eaten one bratwurst too many (one is one too many for some of us. My stomach hurts just thinking about it).

But recently, I finally shook those chains loose. Father led me down a path where I was able to see how they were weighing down my life, keeping me from being the vibrant, wonderful Emily the world needs.

I was able to see how they had skewed my perspective. And a skewed perspective leads to a skewed life.

348 words and I still haven’t told you my purpose for this season of my life! Let’s go…

How it began

Over fifteen years ago, an acquaintance at the church fellowship I attended while single called me one night to tell me that the Lord had spoken to him that I was going to one day be writing books and songs for children.

This was after I had received rejection letter after rejection letter from numerous magazines who wouldn’t even accept my short stories for children. I had given up ever publishing a children’s book. So I politely told him thank you, and went on my merry way.

Then, six or seven years ago, a lady who was a virtual stranger (although our pastor at the time was acquainted with her) came up to me, grabbed my hands, and said, among other things, “I see you writing curriculum!”

At the time, I was into unschooling. I was, at least, unschooling myself (trying to get school out of my system) and never wanted to touch any curriculum for any subject ever again! My homeschooling plan with B was to wing it. There are tons of resources online, after all, and I am a licensed, experienced teacher.

Good-bye, unschooling

A few years ago I realized that my kid was not going to get the academics he needed by some magical osmosis just by living a kid’s life. So I decided to write my own curriculum for everything except math.

Long story short (I will blog about it pretty soon), this wonderful math program that so many homeschoolers adore fell way, way short in my eyes. And B came to despise it.

What happened recently

I purchased a few homeschooling workbooks from a lady named Sarah Brown a couple of months ago. Something stirred in me as I flipped through them. Couple that with a recent sudden and seemingly inexplicable desire to start teaching in the classroom again, and I knew that Father was trying to tell me something.

Then, it came to me.

Well, let me copy an excerpt from my personal journal…

I’ve got my marching orders! I now know what the lady meant when she said, “I see you writing curriculum.” I browsed a bunch of Sarah’s products (and will buy two or three!), and while doing so one reviewer comment hit me upside the head: “We’re using this to supplement our math curriculum….” I thought, yeah, and I’ll bet that curriculum isn’t nearly as fun as Sarah’s workbooks and journals.

Then I got to thinking, why? Why are regular homeschool curriculums as tedious as those in schools, when homeschooling parents have so much more freedom with their educational choices, and homeschooled children despise workbooks as much as schooled kids?

Then excitement exploded inside me. Could I write a curriculum that is fun and engaging the whole way, for both math and language arts, with activities and worksheets that are actually fun to do? YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! I would have to find a graphic artist, or convince Jerry to learn the craft (not holding my breath there), but I think I could. And write it as I teach Benjamin, so by the time he’s thirteen I’ve got most, if not all, of it done!

I’m calling the curriculum Story Math, and it will consist of a set of books containing adventures and mysteries that the main characters experience as they learn math along the way. Good news: I will not need a graphic artist, and for what few graphics I will need, Jerry can create them (he’s already started). You heard about Story Math here first. I hope to have it available on Amazon some time in 2018, well before B turns thirteen. I will, of course, keep all of my blog readers and YouTube viewers posted.

In the meantime, what chains have you got hanging from you that are keeping you from living up to your potential?

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