to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


"Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr

I like to think of myself as a thinker. (Pat myself on the back)
I don't live my life like the herd, I don't consider myself a sheeple.

But it literally hurts my head some days, physically a squeezing sensation or an over-stuffing feeling.  

I just need to stop the merry-go-round of thoughts, those electrical sparks from over-heating.

I wish I had A Nothing Box to go to.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not What One Expects

I have no creativity lingering around me so don't expect much on this blog, as it was almost instantaneously sucked dry when on Sunday we got a phone call to say that my 48yo brother has a mass on his brain.  I couldn't even recognize my mother's voice on the phone, she was so upset.

I caught the next ferry to the mainland. 

I can't fix what they found on the CATscan over the weekend, or possibly later today on the MRI scan.  I can't give him back his cognitive function, nor his mobility skills that diminish daily.  It's come on suddenly he doesn't know what's happening to him.  It's terrifying to him and his family.  And I can't do anything about it.

But I'm here.  I care.  In my own puny way I've come to give hugs, to be a listening ear (although I need to work on that cuz my mouth seems to be in motion far too much still), to be Mom's companion and chauffeur as she watches her youngest son experience a challenge they'd never imagined they'd be facing.

I'm torn between the brother I grew up with, (who was my friend through the teen years and let me be his near-constant companion on his motorcycle--even riding it to highschool in the snow!!!  who I helped write University English papers for) and my husband and children back on the Island--who of course, I devote my life to.  And then there's my own Mother, who just turned 78 last month and is struggling with her memory and simple tasks more now then ever because of the stress with her son.  She's struggling with the elements on the stove (ie turning the right one on, or even turning them on at all when she's got the chicken sitting in the pan already and expecting it to be cooked sometime soon, or turning the oven on when she isn't even planning to bake anything!) 

I had a hard time yesterday deciding whether to stay here or go back to my family (I brought Maret and Toveli with me).  Today David spends the day at Royal Columbia meeting new doctors and getting the MRI.  I can't do anything for him and his family.  But Mom still needs help.  She's afraid of getting bad news tonight and wants me to be here, so I will be here.  But my family always needs me.  I know I'm an integral part of daily life with the Johnsons :)

Maret wants to go back to the Island, because she says 'It's kinda sad here.'  Yup.  That's unfortunately what happens when your Loved One's life seems to be falling apart.

We've gone swimming, and watched a comedy called "Shanghai Moon" and bought new books at the Sally Ann and Value Village.  They had a sleep-over at a Gramma-Ladies and read the folklores of "Blinky Bill" that has been part of Australian childhood's since 1933.

But Maret goes back to daddy, and Danaka is coming to mama.  Making the Switcheroo today.

No one knows what's around the next bend in their day to day life.  I was busily working on the children's Student Learning Plans for this school year.  We were arranging the final details on moving to Sooke this week.  I was planning to get my new website up at www.crunchyminimalist, and continue to help Everette hash over his ideas for his own business and website at

Now all that seems in the background, as my brother jumps to the foreground.  But when these things arrive unexpectedly, its nice to have margin and flexibility so you can be where you need to be, or where you want to be.

So for me, at least for today, I am right where I need to be.  Since I can be only in one place at a time, this is where I choose to be.

Tomorrow I might choose differently.  But for today, this is it.  And I need to be fully present here, and make a difference where I can.  As subtle and insignificant as that may be.

I'm a sister and a daughter and a mama today.

I'll be the best of those that I can muster, today.

Breathe deeply.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Past is Powerless

The past is as powerless to darken the present moment, as is a shadow to reach up and drag down the form that casts it.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Heart at Peace

A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 14:30

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3 Years Ago

Three years ago today we were On The Road. 

Across Canada.

Everette in the mini-van with 5 children and stuffed to the rims with sleeping bags, blankets, clothes and books.  I was driving the station wagon with the 2.5 month old baby and one of the children (on rotation with one from the van) with all the other space taken up with tools, more books, scrapbooking supplies and more clothes.  One was risking a life or limb to open any of the vehicle doors lest something tumble out.  It was packed incredibly tight. 

And the excitement was incredibly high.

I remember as we drove down our street away from the house where our last 4 children were birthed and one tiny was buried, and we saw our neighbours waving from their front porch, I was choked.  Excitement and fear blended together and quietly they traveled slowly down my cheek.

We'd never been in such an adventure before.

We didn't really comprehend all that we were leaving behind, and neither did we know all that we were moving towards.

But we hit the road.

Minus our eldest 2 daughters.

That was pretty much the hardest part about the journey.  That 'Letting Go' that parents know they will sometime have to do.  But when that moment is staring at you, seemingly ripping your heart out, leaving your heart in BC while your wheels are taking you to Cape Breton, driving through the Fraser Valley crying out "What on earth are we doing?" and wondering if Everette and I are crazy.

Nobody could understand what we were doing.  After all, we weren't really sure what we were doing either.  But we knew in slightly-more-than-a-moment's decision that we must go when we heard that my sister's house had burned down.  We knew in our hearts.  The mind can say what it wants, but when the message is Oh So Clear in your heart, then you know what you need to do.  Follow your heart.

I am so thankful for the journey we have had these past 3 years. 

Today, I remember the beginning of this leg of the journey.  And I am Eternally Grateful. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Special on Tooth Soap Products

On the right side of this page I have a banner for Tooth Soap.  If you click there you can see that there's savings to be had over there on the excellent products Karen (that's the creator's name) has to offer.  And presently there is free shipping and handling, including to Canada.

I really enjoy these products and find they do a wonderful job on cleaning our family's teeth.  My teeth never feel cleaner than after brushing with the Tooth Soap.  And Everette keeps some Tooth Swish in the van to freshen up his mouth while he's away from the house.

If at all interested, check it out while the savings are there.  Great time to give it a swirl. 

*I'm an affiliate, so if you click thru on my banner and decide to purchase, then I'll get a kick-back for which I'd be appreciative.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thumbs Up for the House

wWe are moving to Sooke!

I heard from the landlady today and its all set for sometime next week.  Depending on how much cleaning and any fixing up she might have to do this upcoming weekend after the current tenant moves out, we will be residents in Sooke no later than Oct 1st.

Of course we are all excited.  Envisioning ourselves resident in the house isn't as cool as actually physically being there, but we'll practice patience for just another week!

Everette is excited to get his Victoria-area business going, and we'll all be working on our New Normal~ New Schedules.  So many routines get put on hold when you live in transition, and especially while we are staying with friends.  There are so many people to spend time with, more activities to do, less space, stuff unpacked, etc., so much goes by the wayside.  But in 2 weeks from now our family will be tweaking out how we want things done in our new house, and where we should store everything.  I love doing that.  And its a good thing, since Everette and I have had more than our share of moves.

Like I've mentioned before, I am excited to see what living a Minimalist lifestyle will look like for us at our new house.  It has much more floor space than I think we need, and a garage that doesn't fit our 15-passenger van and we don't own stuff to store in there (hallelujah!).  At present we don't even own couches or any living room furniture, and no kitchen table or chairs, or bar stools for the kitchen island.  So it will be sparse..... and lovely!!

And lots of places to store our books probably.  Books and games.  And we'll be setting up our infra-red sauna there too.  Everette's excited about that.

There are 2 bedrooms upstairs (besides the master bedroom) perfect for making a Boy's Room and a Girl's Room.  The obvious arrangement would be for the girls to take the pink room, and the boys get the girls room.  But those of you who know Maret know that she's going to be sleeping in the Boy's Room!!

That's it for the news about the house for now.  I can post pics when we get moved in.

Danica (she likes that spelling better than Danaka) and I had a good weekend in Vancouver area.  She joined me along with my Mom and Layne at a free event with Amega Global on Friday night, and then I spent Saturday at a training day while the 3 ladies shopped at Value Village and then Danica and Layne hit the White Rock beach for awhile.

Us girls stayed up way past my bedtime chatting which was enjoyable, and I got to sleep in Sunday morning and awoke to yummy smelling  (but absolutely not healthy) crepes suzettes made by mom.  Then Layne and I watched 'The Living Matrix' which was a fascinating documentary we had to keep pausing so we could discuss it.  Its all about energy fields, particularly about zero point energy field, and the amazing creation and functioning of our bodies.

The best part about going away is the coming home.  It's true.  I was a proud mama to find Everette brought 5 of the children to the ferry to pick D and I up.  The hugs and kisses are always so precious.  And I have such a handsome man to greet me.

I am Blessed.

More Update?.....I have a new site I'm building and will be moving some of my applicable posts from here over to there.  It's at but you'll have to give me a few days to get something up!  It's extremely minimalist (blank) at the present time (hehehe).

Much on my plate, actually.  Everette and I decided to enroll 4 of the girls for distance schooling. They are in practicality still homeschooled as they won't be attending a day school in a building, but this year we will be meeting goals of the ministry of education and being answerable to them with weekly contact and some portfolios throughout the year.  It will be more structured than we are used to, but I know that all of us can rise to the occasion, and in a weird sense I am looking forward to some accountability, not because I believe I need to answer to others about the successes/failures of my children (I do that before God) but because knowing that someone else is checking up on me might just be what I need to pull up my socks and do more of what I actually say/think I want to be doing.  I'm sure you all know how easy it is to procrastinate.  Easy as pie!!

Danica and Maret are both planning to take some online courses, and the rest will be facilitated by Yours Truly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Life List

I've heard about Bucket Lists and now My Life List and I think I'm going to give it a whirl.  Lots of people talk of how helpful it is to actually write things down, and I am not a big List person....well, not on paper but still in my mind.  And that might explain why my head often feels overwhelmed and hurts.  I need a place to unload some of the thoughts and ideas I have.

Lots is going thru my mind these days, about the children's education, about moving, about being a minimalist, about my diet, about my spiritual life, about.......everything.

So, I'm going to take a bigger sabbatical than just a Saturday, or a weekend.  At least a sabbatical from blogging.  I'm planning to revamp, even change my blog to another site.  So I'm going to take some time off and away from it to make some plans.

I'm also going away with Danaka for the weekend, so nows a great time to break.

I'll see you next week sometime.  Hopefully with some plans in the works, and my own Life List to share.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unattended Children

Add caption
Unattended children

will be given

an espresso

and a free kitten.

photo by Saleh Al-Ghaith

~Quote from a plaque at the coffee shop where Rauchelle works

Monday, September 13, 2010

It Worked to Stop Snoring

I awoke from an unusual dream (I don't usually remember them) about a wolf like I'd picture in Little Red Riding Hood, big over-sized head, walking upright on 2 legs,  approaching my children but intercepted by their protective father.  I don't really remember much else, but I awoke with a rushing heartbeat that resulted in me laying awake for along time.

~ to hear my husband snoring.

I haven't heard him snore at all these nights.  I hadn't realized that, until I actually heard him snoring this night!!

You see, I wear a pendant (look under Products) on my neck 24/7.  I'd heard that it can help one to stop snoring, but I hadn't actually set out to try it.  But here was a great opportunity presented to me.

I undid the clasp and reached across the sleeping toddler that was spread between us.  Just within my reach I felt the edge of Everette's pillow where I silently placed the pendant.

I was shocked when, without any repositioning of Everette (by himself nor a nudge from me), his snoring diminished in the next breath.  It was absolutely immediate.

When I told him about it, he said that he had noticed that I hadn't been snoring at all since I started wearing the pendant.  I know, its hard to believe that I snored in the first place, right?  But now I don't!!

Supposedly this pendant (with crystals resonated to Zero Point Energy Field) has a 3 foot diameter that it influences.  Since Everette and I are sleeping on bed-toppers on the floor that create a bigger-than-king-size sleeping area for the family bed, we sometimes get spaced quite far apart, as occurred last night and thus it had no effect on him until I placed it near him.  Then the effect was immediate.

I've heard other Snoring Stories in regards to the pendant, but it was exciting to experience for myself.  If you have the opportunity to go to a demonstration of Amega Global, I highly recommend it.  Tell them I sent you ;)  I am an associate with AG.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

100 Thing Challenge

In my research on the Minimalist Lifestyle I wrote about the other week, I came across the mention several times about the 100 Thing Challenge created by Dave Bruno.  I've been reading his posts, and the plethora of comments he gets and enjoying the read.  I get so excited in anticipation of how Minimalist we will live in our new place, since its harder to see what stuff we actually have when its still in boxes and we are sharing 'stuff' with our friends while we stay here.

One of Bruno's posts that I really liked is 3 Consumer Justifications That End in Crap.  These are excuses or justifications that I personally use all the time.  Actually just this morning I was contemplating "It would be wasteful to get rid of it."  After all, I didn't spend any money on it (rain boots and snow boots for Gaelyn) as my friend gave them to us, and she just might need them this autumn/winter.  We have space to keep them both, and we can always get rid of one or both of them in the future if they turn out to be virtually useless to us.  Blah blah blah.

The 100 Things Challenge isn't about an ideal number of anything.  People can determine themselves how they count up their things.  There is total Individualism in how you count.  For example, Bruno counts all his (300) books as One Library.  As avid readers and un-schoolers we have already thinned from about 2500 books down to less than 500.  (Because they are in boxes at present, I don't actually know the number.  I guessed high because I probably can't be trusted to approximate accurately, otherwise I'm tempted to say we only have 200, but I think that might be dreaming.)

Some people would count their 20 pairs of footwear as One, but others would count it as 20 (and probably would thin that down!)  Socks are likely to be counted as One item, as would all your socks.  But that's all dependent on how you would set up your own system.

I think that there is a danger of seeing 100 Things as a possible 'holier than though' thing to hold over other people who chose to live with more.  And one could pat themself on the back if they purchased/acquired something new (but not needed) and discarded something else but kept their total under 100.  The idea behind the 100 Things Challenge is bigger than the tally of things one owns.

We clutter our lives with unnecessary stuff (often produced un-ethically) and spend our money and time and energy in maintaining it, and missing out on the bigger things in life that we dream time to stroll the beach in the evening with our lover or children, or slowly sipping our favorite drink with a friend, or reading the book you've been wanting to read, or....whatever it is that you don't have time for now!!

We aren't going to find our happiness in collecting stuff, nor in keeping our personal stuff to a total of 100 Things.  Whether we have 1,000 or 10 things, our happiness will come from within our hearts and minds, the thoughts we entertain about the world and who we are in that world.

I am not a total of the things that I possess.

I am the Love that interacts with the world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

For the Love of Layne

She graced us with her presence this week

but she had to leave today

for a bachelorette party

--the weekend at Whistler.

What fun!

We enjoyed the time she spent with us

watching movies

drinking tea and Krakus

looking for rentals in Victoria


talking about beliefs.

Her smile warms my heart.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Making Room

Minimalists don't spend their time and energy collecting, cleaning, moving, & maintaining unnecessary stuff.  They de-clutter so that they have more time and space and energy to devote their time to doing the things they enjoy more. 

Whether that's  traveling,         cooking,
         reading,               writing,       
    visiting friends,
playing games,      dancing,  
          making music,      
scuba diving.

The average person from developed countries is busy working to pay for new stuff, most of which is unnecessary stuff.  Or they are working to pay for the stuff they've already acquired on credit.  Or working to maintain their stuff, or store their stuff.  

While we've been looking for rentals, we've seen our fair share of opened garage doors, and the vast majority of those garages are full of so much stuff that the vehicles are left parked outside of them.  

You know exactly what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Industrial Food Sickness

Many of us who have changed over to eating Whole Foods....preparing all of our foods at home from scratch versus pre-packaged foods.... have probably wondered why we now feel sick or at least unwell after eating foods that we used to consume regularly without any noticeable yuckies.  Why do we get sick over it now?

The longer we are eating whole foods, and the cleaner our guts get, the more our body is going to recognize and object to when we ingest foods that are like poison to it.  (We thought) We used to get away with it, and now that we eat healthier we seem to suffer when we consume something less-good-for-us.  What a bother.  Or is it?

Here's a different way to look at it.  Read 'Deconstructing Industrial Food Sickness' with Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prejudice Against Big Families Renting

Maybe we are wearing our feelings a bit on our sleeves, but honestly it feels like we are experiencing alot of prejudice these days against our family for the number of children we have.

We are still in search of a rental place for our family.   We've been at this for a month now, and heard endless No's from landlords.

There are certainly a lot of places vacant out there.  From Sooke to Shawnigan Lake, Langford to Sidney and out to Salt Spring Island.   And the ones we looked at in August are still vacant this month, for the most part.

They all want your money, until you mention that the 'large family' that you have is actually 7 children (we don't even explain that we have 2 older ones, because we don't want to overload their minds).  I realize they have a difficult time computing that. 

"You probably need a much bigger place than this."   (Well, we were looking at your rental because we thought it actually would suit our family just fine, Thanks.)

"I don't think this would be big enough for you, then."  (What, aren't we able to make that decision for ourselves, that you must make that call on our behalf?)

The other day I was totally irked (pissed maybe?) when a fella said, "I was thinking about how many (ppl) there are, and I think I'd have to raise the rent for you....."  and then he was saying how the last renters (3 ppl) water bill was actually $180 for 2 months and ours would likely be much larger than that, and so he wanted to raise the rent.

Excuse Me??!!!! 

I said it would be understandably fair to discuss the water bill in 'actuality' rather than assuming that we would use more water.  We'd be willing to pay the difference, or what the actual water bill was, etc., but I resented the assumption that it would go up higher just because there were 3 times more of us than the previous renters, and therefore he wanted to raise the rent.

Then he said, (which was likely more the truth rather than the water excuse) "Well, there would be more wear-and-tear on the house and property with all those kids."  Granted, that is a reasonable comment and assumption.  But still an assumption.  It is assumed that children are harder on things than adults.  But we all know adults who are messier and rougher than children.  And we know families with only 1 or 2 children who are messier, rougher, more destructive than larger families.

Another excuse has been 'thats too many for the septic'. 

I think that's hog-wash.  (Okay.....that's my own assumption.)  It is reasonable to think that houses that are built with 4 bedrooms would automatically have a septic system that could handle 8 people (that's only 2 people per bedroom).  That's 8 people.  Oh, golly, 9 of us (of which only 2 of us are adults) all of a sudden makes it too much volume on the septic system.  One must never have guests come and stay, or at least hope they are constipated!!!

And then I've read really weird ads on craigslist and kijiji.  Like somebody renting out a 3 bedroom place, blah blah blah, maximum occupancy is 2.  Hello?  It's got 3 bedrooms.  What is that wasted space supposed to be used for?  What reasoning is that? 

I don't get it.  Maybe I'm not thinking for myself here.  Can somebody help me with that reasoning????  3 bedrooms for 2 people maximum.  Hmmmm?

One fella called us a couple of days after we viewed his home for rent, to let us know that he'd been thinking about it (hope he didn't lose any sleep over it) and decided that his house really wasn't going to work for us.  Thanks, man.  We couldn't decide that for ourselves!  (Jeesh, maybe that's why we hadn't phoned him back to put in an application.  You think?  Obviously, we can't think for ourselves.  But then, that's probably why we ended up with so many children.  We didn't think!!)

Ok, I'm ticked off. 

I know that we could live in a small house, even 1500 sq feet or less.  We truly don't own so much stuff any more so a larger house will sound hollow.  But we've been looking at bigger not because we need the space, but because the landlords basically are insisting on it.  They assume we live like the average American (x3 for all the children) so we need more space.  And we waste water & electricity like the rest of the average.

I'm tempted to lie about how many children we have so we can rent a more appropriate house for our family and the simple lifestyle, and save some money. 


Monday, September 6, 2010

Food Connection

I was just telling a friend this week about Genetically Modified Foods and Suicides in India by the farmers, and whether there is a connection.  Then Dr Mercola wrote this post, so I'm sharing it.  Maybe others of you are unaware of what's happening with our food supply in North America.

I still recommend you watch Food, Inc.  and Our Daily Bread.  I know there are other good documentaries out there, but honestly I haven't watched all of them so I can't personally recommend them.  But these 2 I can.  Our Daily Bread is without narration, so you form your own ideas completely by what you see the farmers and processors doing with the food.

Another great documentary is The Cove, about the dolphin slaughter.  Our family was appalled about this.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Give Every Day

I've added a new button over on the right sidebar, and wanted to highlight about it today.

About the Sheaffers:

"We are a family of four who are planning to travel the country with the intent purpose of giving – every day.

We are selling our house and almost all of our possessions. The next step will be to buy an RV, map our route, and give more than we’ve ever given before."

You can check out their blog and see for yourself what adventure they are beginning, and consider supporting them in prayer and financially, if your heart says to. 

I admire the journey they are beginning, and know from our own experiences that it will be greater and grander and a whole-lot different than they could imagine at the moment.  And something SO well worth it.  What a heritage/experience to give their beautiful daughters.  We would all do better to Give Every Day. 

Blessings, Sheaffers. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

What are You Becoming?

"The decisions you make today determine who you become in the future. Its all a process. Having patience with the process and being content in the knowledge that you are growing will help make the journey fully enjoyable!"

In Joy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


My new vocabulary word.


I love it, and it seems to be fitting our family's lifestyle. And I think the transitions we've been going through both recently and over the past 3 years since we originally left BC are leading us to embracing Minimalist ideology whole-heartedly.  Seems we started choosing this minimalist lifestyle 3 years ago without having a label to give it. 

Maybe we wouldn't be at this place if all of our plans had worked out the way we originally planned. Maybe we wouldn't be making the changes on purpose that we are now choosing to make. Maybe this is another Beginning of Change that will change us forever.  And we will be forever Thankful for.

Anyways, by following the rabbit trail I somehow ended up checking out Everett Bogue's site where he shares how he "adopted a minimalist lifestyle, and discovered that a little can go a long way, if you choose to live the right way." Click here to view more details

And I know that near the beginning of the rabbit trail it was Tammy Strobel that got me hooked.  I read this article and then started following her blog, and now she has this Just-Released Book out which is so exciting.  Click here to view more details 

Then there is a book called The Minimalist Cleaning Method which is right down my alley because I hate the thought of using toxic chemical cleaners in my house, because its bad for our family, and its bad for the environment, and its bad on the pocket book.  And I love the look of space under my cabinets, which seems rare to see in the average person's household.

(Note: I've become an affiliate to the above mentioned books because I believe in their message and want to share it with the world.  Its not only for your own benefit, but for the world's benefit.  So, if you want to read them, please order them through my links so I can benefit from the sale.  Thnx.)

I'm feeling a bit like a child in a candy store.  I am tantalized by so much that I see here in the Minimalist lifestyle circle.  I stand in awe at their creativity, their thinking-outside-of-the-box, their ingenuity, their guts to march to a different beat.

It doesn't seem like such a big deal for me, in a sense, to march to a different beat.  It seems we've been doing that for along while now.  With home-educating for more than 20 years now, to having more than the average children, to unschooling, to leaving institutional church, and eating High Raw, home- and water-birthing, and, and........

So, not much more to becoming a minimalist........

Well...... change always includes some discomfort and work.

But its so exciting and rewarding.   

PS  Realistically, this will be more of a challenge with so many people to 'convince' in our household, but I think my dc are very, very flexible, and so willing to change to better the world and their own health.  After all, they've all basically given up raised mattresses for sleeping on and prefer something thin on the floor, like just a couple of blankets or a sleeping bag with blankets on top.  That's a huge hurdle for some.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Supermarket Secrets

This is a fascinating (although British) look at the operations behind Supermarkets, including the treatment of animals, the 'perfect' produce, the gases our salads are packed with, etc.

Eye-opening is an understatement.

You can find this video series and others over at NaturalNews.TV

Picture from