Monday, December 23, 2013

Minor Turbulance

It has been said that making a decision is easy; managing one is difficult. Ain't that the truth? It always seems like there's some obstacle in the path to our goals. Between the roadblocks both external and internal, it's a wonder anyone has ever accomplished anything!

This last week, we've hit a couple of small bumps in the road. With all of our big plans and goals, we didn't do a very good job of putting it into smaller and more manageable pieces. The big picture of all that needs to be done got a little bit overwhelming, and we didn't even realize it right away. On the bright side, we caught the problem pretty quickly and will be making some adjustments right away. (Related side note: Sarah is not allowed to watch any more "soldier homecoming" or other similarly emotional videos until both joint and individual action plans have been developed. These sort of videos create an unfair situation for Lloyd who has no idea if the plan is the problem or some random video found on Facecrack.)

God Bless!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Change is Not Just Something You Toss in a Jar

It has been a season of many changes in the Sheffer household. With those changes have come a lot of tumult and stress. While we know that this is just a part of life, and we don't expect the changes to slow down any time in the future, we are trying to get better at being more proactive about it. We have been planning ahead and directing a lot of the changes in order to get us closer to our goals in life.

First of all, we made the decision to step out in faith and move across the state. While it was more than a little scarey, we knew that it was the kind of bold move that we needed to take in order to get us out of patterns that were holding us back in life. It also meant that we would unfortunately need to leave our comfort zone of family and friends to make it happen. In some ways, it was a very easy transition. We are living in a nice place with beautiful scenery, have made friends and been able to spend time with family that we didn't get to see very often previously, and we both were able to find jobs quickly. It hasn't been perfect though. We obviously miss the friends and family that we have in Green Bay, and we are still working through the long process (made longer by needing to repair some fire damage) to sell the house that we have there.

One of the big things that our new home has afforded us is the opportunity to do more of the gardening and food preservation that we have both wanted to do. There has been some trial and error to it, (lots of error if we're honest), but we have been learning a great deal and are eager to continue in this journey. We don't ever see becoming the kind of folks who grow and mill their own flour or anything like that. We have discovered how nice it is to be more connected with the process though, and are putting plans in place, so we will be able to move out of the city far enough to have a small hobby farm.

Lloyd has been giving a lot of consideration to how to best utilize his education benefits, and this week we started filling out all of the paperwork for him to start his schooling for the summer term. He's excited about this to be sure, and also a little nervous since he has been away from school for so many years. We are working as quickly as possible to get things arranged at home to allow for a smooth transition to this new adventure.

With everything else that has been changing, we have come to the realization that although we enjoy the additional income that comes with both of us working, it isn't worth the additional stress that it causes. As a result, this will be Sarah's last week at her job, and she will be focusing her time and energy on the home front. Having a home of peace and love is of much higher value to us than one with a bigger income.

As always, we appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers as we go through our many transitions and work toward our future.

God Bless!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Alternative Lifestyle

That term can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To us, it's about getting to a slower pace and a simpler life. It's amazing how difficult that can actually be. Early returns show that it is well worth the investment of time and energy so far. We have learned so much already.

#1 It is amazing how much better meals taste when you do homemade instead of ready made from the store. Yes, it does take a little bit more time....not much is faster to make than frozen pizza. However, the end result is something worth sitting down at the dining room table to eat instead of stuffing it in our faces in front of the TV. It's way better than just about anything in a restaurant too, and for a fraction of the cost.

#2 Making your own jams and jellies is a whole lot less difficult than you probably think, and, again, the taste is amazing. The hardest part of it is telling yourself that you're going to spend some time in a kitchen that it totally filled with steam. Plus, if you happen to have fruit growing in your yard, you get both fresher than you could ever dream of finding in the store and free! (Free has always been my favorite price.)

#3 Gardening done well is a constant science experiment (and it has more useful results than the experiments that happen on accident at the back of the fridge). Some of our stuff this year grew pretty well. Other things we will need to do differently next year to try to get better results. Constant learning is a really good thing, and having practical applications for it makes it even more exciting.

#4 There are few things in this world that can improve your mood like walking into a house that smells like fresh baked goods. Breads, muffins, brownies, cookies, pies - it doesn't matter which one you bake. When you come back from running to the store because you ran out of ingredients (again), you can't help but inhale deeply and just enjoy the aroma.

#5 If you tell people that you make your own meals from scratch, can things, have a garden, or bake, they will often tell you that you're crazy. Most will tell you that they "don't have enough time to do any of that stuff." Very few will be able to relate anything that you have said to anything that they do in their own lives. It really is an alternative kind of life, but one that we have been enjoying as we have started to experience it.

God Bless!