Friday, April 09, 2010

Changes are a Brewin'

First Off, Thank You!
Our little blog is a year old now and after 3,200 visitors I'd say it has done quite well for itself. We never expected such interest, let alone international following. I'm not quite sure how to respond as this is a realm of experience I wasn't prepared for. So Thank You and hopefully we can keep providing whatever it is that people seem to get from our small corner of webspace. Any comments on what is working (or failing miserably) for those out there are greatly appreciated.

The original blog we started had little to no focus because we had little to no focus. Like many people we have now talked to, there was the idea that something needed to change. But what? We didn't really know what or how, but it needed to occur fast or we were going to loose ourselves (and our house) in the process. The reality was, we weren't making it. The big wave knocking us down was money, but the under current of disjointed frustration was just as strong.
Sound familiar?

A year later, our blind stumbling has lead us to a much clearer mission and a set picture of where we are headed. The new face of our blog represents a more defined picture of the life we are carving out of the big crazy world.

We believe that the overpowering machine of Capitalism and Consumerism has begun to take over lives. Gross Domestic Product is not the religion we wish to follow. The entire concept that you always need more to be better is insidious. We now see the real question as not "How can we save some money?" but more...

Rather than constantly seeking outward approval as your incentive for personal value why not just unplug?

We are unplugging (from media, from the grid, from consumer culture) to live a life that is enough. Our personal value does not need to come from a flashy lifestyle, a stereotypical prescribed mold complete with value choices, or the lastest media hyped trend void of questioning. We are enough. Our family, our household, our lives are enough. The planet has enough to sustain us. We don't constantly need more.

As much as this is a sentiment exists around us in words, we have found that the actual living of this lifestyle means significantly more. Becoming carbon neutral means that most of the current cultural paradigm doesn't work. We have to reinvent the wheel in many ways. Moreover, we need to talk about it! For quite some time I have been reluctant to really discuss the changes our family is making for fear that it would isolate us from the rest of the world. Somehow, in my mind, if we just kept looking "normal" it would all be okay. What a great message to send to our son! What a great way to find others who were struggling so that we could create a community that helps one another! What a fabulous way to not isolate ourselves by just hiding who we are! Sometimes, I am a duphus! I believe this combination of stepping outside cultural norms and a reluctance to really discuss openly is why it has taken us so long to realize the end result for much of what we want.

With this in mind, the direction of our blog will fall into the following large categories:

Becoming Carbon Neutral
Discussing the process and outcomes of our endeavors. Our family is a unique situation in just how un-unique we really are. Mom, Dad, small child, dog and cat in an urban environment, living in 900 square feet on a low-to-middle class income. Our house was built around 1950 so we are also revamping an existing structure without remodeling. We would like to show what has worked for us and the direction we took so people can see that you don't need acres in the country or a ton of money. If we can make it work, anyone can make it work!
Projects and Skills
So much of this last year has been learning everything we don't know. Slowly we are acquiring the books, websites, and resources to try and learn the skills time has lost. We have been helped immensely from the work of others and wish to forward that on by posting schematics and how to's on many of our projects.
Gear and the Outdoors with A Small Child
Reverence for the intricacy of our planet's interdependence is a major facet of our lives. If you are truly going to live with and off the land, you need to understand and respect it. Long distance backpacking and trekking have been put on hold in our family due to the age of our son. He has been slowly initiated into camping, and soon we will begin training, gearing up, and teaching him the skills necessary to live out of nothing but a backpack for months at at time with nothing but your legs to get you home.
Personal Fulfillment Without Television
We killed our television months ago when we didn't convert to digital. We don't have a single TV in our house even for movies. Talk about weird! For the first couple of weeks we didn't really know how to even talk to one another. Now, our lives are ten fold better. In hopes of helping others who wish to unplug their TV's too, we have complied a list of some of the things we do together instead of watching mindless crap. It is so much cooler!

These categories are now linked across the top of the website as to better facilitate quick reference. It is going to take me a bit to go back and link through the last years worth of posts, but shortly all will be right. Added to the above categories is my Life List. Many of the things on it are similar to Jules' and posting mine meant he didn't have to do much. (The push to get Seniors to graduate is a bit overwhelming right now.) Using the Life List as a guideline for our family's adventures has really helped shape our lives so posting it only seemed natural.

We are hoping these changes make our site a bit easier to follow and our life a bit easier to live. That being said, make your own way! Question, ponder, and really consider. What would be on your Life List? Are you fulfilled in your life? What do you really want your children to grow up with? We have spent a years worth of nights and weekends unraveling those questions and still don't have many answers. However, we are now doing it together and have really kicked our life up a knotch!

Please give us any feedback you have as we are first timers in this whole blog thing and might have overlooked quite a lot!

4 thoughts:

Mr. H. said...

Congratulations on a blogging year well done.:)

I have really enjoyed your ideas on television and applaud you for relieving yourself of that monstrosity. You said above that you were striving to to "live a life that is enough", well, that comes out in your writing and is why I like reading your posts.

I am looking forward to reading more about the journey your family takes along the narrow, less traveled path you have chosen and think that your list of blog topics is a good one.

renee @ FIMBY said...

Hey, this looks to be good. I'm looking forward to what's ahead (for you and my own family).

renee @ FIMBY

Karen Sue said...

Keep inspiring me. We read The Plug-In Drug in college. I have a habit of TV. Trying to wean back a bit. Making some of the decision on my own doesn't carry the same weight as making them together, but hey, I'm working on it.


Very cool! Love the new blog look too! I am looking forward to reading more about what you guys have cooking.

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