Sunday, January 30, 2011

{whole home}::customizing your home

There are several facets involved in changing your lifestyle. Sometimes, the most overwhelming issues are the logistics...i.e. I don't have room for that, I don't have the equipment necessary, there's no place...etc. Oftentimes, successful changes are about having the proper tools.

When our homes have a rhythm, and we upset the apple cart with a need for change, the status quo can be very difficult to break. That is equal parts good and bad, in my mind. Especially as women, it's our job to create that rhythm and heartbeat in our home. That's part of our calling. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing to be met with resistance (even from ourselves), when we want to start marching on the upbeats. (my inner band nerd is leaking out...I apologize).

When we started looking toward an urban homesteading lifestyle, I got overwhelmed with all that I was going to need to be successful. First and foremost on my to work and storage. Ironically, when we really started picking up speed on our mental plans...we didn't even have a home...ha! In order to grow and make your own food, make your own cleaning supplies, reclaim and upcycle, store food for the winter, buy in have to have a space to grow food...a place to can...a place to store. We were blessed enough to be able to rent a home, with a sizeable back yard, a supportive landlord, and a few bonus neighbors who are like-minded...yay!! (Thank You for that little nod of confirmation, God:) One other helpful thing...a breakfast area in the kitchen AND a separate dining area.

I'm learning to think outside the box with things. Generally, I'm the kind of person who likes everything to go where it belongs...i.e. breakfast area in kitchen = a place to put a table for casual dining. However, in my quest to tailor-fit my life to what makes sense for US...not the builder's intentions...I decided to extend my kitchen work area into the "breakfast area". It doesn't yet have all the storage and workspace that it will eventually have...but, we are about half way there. This is what it looks like:

{another view}

My hope is to have everything we need to prepare all of our own food products in our home, in a way that makes the job more convenient.

I absolutely love the concept of design and beauty. What's changing for me, is what I consider beautiful. If I listen to my most authentic self...I realize that what grabs my attention, isn't what would be considered aesthetically pleasing to the masses. I love seeing evidence of life. I think it's beautiful to be able to see that real people live real life. I love color and texture...a little bit utilitarian...a little bit rustic...alot eclectic. So, though my little kitchen work area may not be featured in Better Homes and Gardens...

it's a better home for us, than I could have possibly imagined. As for the gardens...

{a sneak peek at our very first preparations}:)

{updates} :: what's working

So, yesterday was the one year blogoversary for {whole family project.} I didn't make a big to-do out of it, because I was exhausted yesterday, and I didn't have the oomph to sit down and write. Don't think I'm not excited...I am! I really was just very blah, yesterday.

That being said, I think it's an appropriate time to see how the project is coming along. I tend toward dwelling on all the things I hope to do...all the places I hope to go...instead of highlighting what progress is

*sidebar* - something I am working on, is living in contentment. It dawns on me, that always being annoyed with myself for all I haven't achieved, is counter-productive, and may very well be making sure I don't make steady progress. I'm getting out of the business of discouraging myself, thank you very much. If I want discouragement...I'll watch the news.*
{back story}
Last year at this time, I started {whole family project}, because I was looking for more. I wanted to do something with my passion for writing, and at the same time, incorporate my love of the holistic lifestyle and natural healing, with the added element of my passion for happy marriages and family.

When I saw Food, Inc. for the first took on a life of it's own. I immediately felt the call to Real Food activism. I immediately looked at my proverbial surroundings and saw them as the sham that they are. I immediately wanted out. I could feel my insides clawing at me...I all of a sudden wanted to sell everything I owned and venture out...looking for "real". So...with a little help from an exciting God...we did...almost...just that. We sold half of what we owned, put the rest in storage and went on a journey...a vision quest...a hunt. 10 weeks, 10 states...endless craziness.

I didn't find what I was looking for.

God used that trip to let me in on a little secret. The project I need to be doing is in me. He let me see beautiful things, He pushed me to face some fears...and, then He let me drop on my silly, little butt and see Him...right there, in my matter where I am. I love Him for that:) As to food...we realized that the locavore movement is pretty saturated in the Northwest...and so, we really feel like we are being called to forward that movement the heart of Big Agri-country. It's here that the move toward Real food needs to be be be accessible. I intend to do everything in my power to help.

So...though it's seemed like slow progress...we've come a long way in a year. My husband had no luck finding a job after his April, we went back to school. We are using that opportunity to further our cause, as well. He is getting his bachelor's in Horticulture (he already had an A.A.S.), and I entered culinary school.

As to our home-life...we are always growing and branching in our spiritual and emotional lives together...our little band of three. We are posturing our home to accommodate the lifestyle we are entering. I am going to post details about that in tomorrow's post. However, we are making room, plans, and preparations for our little slice of urban farming and homesteading joy:) Things are coming along.

Probably the most major issue that we felt our health. While I have an above-average understanding about natural health and food...that doesn't mean that I am a product of that knowledge. I am a human being, with human level habits, and human emotions, and a super-human appetite. Not only that...I come from a legacy culture of emotional and entertainment eating. I really, truly want to educate people about holistic lifestyles...but, at this moment...I don't present with any credibility. You get my point?... I'm fat. However, I'm not just interested in getting thinner...I want real wellness...whole wellness. So, to that end we are making some steps to add life-giving nutrients into our diets in a meaningful way. We are an over-fed, under-nourished society, and our bodies aren't getting what they need in order to activate their own healing mechanisms...much less have any joy or energy or zeal. I am finding some very convenient and wonderful solutions to that problem for our family...and one of the biggest ones is the Green Smoothie.

{our very first green smoothie}

We made some investments at the start of the year, that we felt would really contribute to our progress. The biggest one?...our Vitamix:) It's a very powerful blender that has gotten more nutrients in our system in the past 10 days, than we have probably consumed in the past year.

Our basic recipe:
2 cups coconut milk
2 whole apples
2 whole carrots
handful of grapes
1-2 bananas
2 scoops chia seeds
2 packed cups of kale or spinach

{put in Vitamix...and blend};)

{the man likes it}

{the boy likes it}

{and, I like it}.

We drink one every morning, accompanied by one or two eggs, and the result is amazing. Brandon and I have each lost 6 pounds, our appetites are way down...and our energy is way up. Don't let that last comment bypass you...OUR ENERGY IS WAY UP! This is huge for us! If that's all I got from it...I would do it every single day.

The momentum is building, and there are days to be seized, horns to be grabbed, battles to be fought and won, joy to be experienced, and peace to be had. There is sun to feel on my face, messes to be made and cleaned up, inspirations to be soaked in, prayers to be said, evil to be overcome, and worship to be shouted.

I want all of it. Bring it, life...BRING IT!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Out of Hibernation


It's good to be back.

For the past couple of months, I have been getting settled in our new home, doing the holiday thing, having some emotional breakdowns...only to be gently lifted back to solid ground by a loving God and husband...and pursuing a purposeful family dynamic.

2010 was a good year.

It didn't feel good every day...but, it certainly was a good year.

It brought change, disappointment, adventure, clarity, frustration, elation, immense loneliness, suffocation, learning, dissatisfaction, heartbreak, fear, stole my comfort, forged my way, allowed me to see, made me face some giants, made me feel very insignificant...

and then gave me Yosemite.

I saw man-made wonders, worshiped in solitude on a beach, in front of the Pacific Ocean, realized that my dream places were not what dreams were made of, and felt the open arms of my beloved Texas, embrace me when I came home.

I said goodbye to some things and said hello to of all blogging and backyard farming.

I found a passion, got more passionate about the ones I already had, and became an activist for the things that are most important to me.

Memories were made, places explored...but, the best exploration came when I explored my heart.

I rooted in and shed some skin...and heard the whispers of my ancestors telling me to press on.

Best of all, I spent every single day caring for the 2 guys that make up my calling. I gazed into their eyes, spent as much time as I could with them in my arms, fed them, cared for them...and fell further in love with them every single day. I worship my Father by loving them as I do. Every day I strive to do it better.

The new year has me thinking about things in a different way. On whole family project, I want to discuss the things that I am doing...not the things I'm planning on doing later. I want to highlight the things that are already working....not just the things that I think might work...if I could just get my stuff together. There are amazing things in the works at Chez Utterback...and I can't wait to share them all with you!

Have a wonderful week...I've missed this so much!

Blessings on you, my friends.


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