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Intentional Living

Albert Camus asked, “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” We seek to embody this by creating a life in which we feel the most at one with ourselves and our values. We identify priorities– like simplicity and healthy living– and allow those to shape our everyday decisions and lifestyle.

December Vlog Challenge: Creative Gifting

Coming at you from Dublin this Wednesday! Just me today for our sixth December Vlog Challenge… talking about lots of random things (I tend to go off on rabbit trails a lot in real life, and online) and then a tiny bit of creative gifting ideas as well.

We have prioritized traveling in our budget the past few years, and that has left us with little to put towards other areas, like gifting. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to exercise the love language of gifts! We’ve always been huge fans of creative, thoughtful presents that can be given with lots of love and only a little money. And now we’re really getting to put that into practice.

feature photo via

What are ways that you gift creatively (this season and/or year-round)? What type of present is your favorite?


Why an Intentional Life is for Everyone

Why an Intentional Life is for Everyone

Every person should be living an intentional life. That doesn’t mean your intentional life looks like mine. It’s precisely that actually– it shouldn’t look like mine, or the hundreds of other people you pass by in your everyday rhythms of life.  It should be tailored just to you, intentionally arranged to reflect your highest values and priorities.

To some extent, we carry within us a compass that allows us instinctively to choose between people, activities, etc. Those values I mentioned are inside whether or not we tap into them. But to live a truly intentional life — a life that allows depth for abundance and richness of quality– we must turn an eye inward to observe and note those values.


Living Simply: an introduction

I started writing this post after we had just finished selling all of our furniture and four garage sales worth of belongings in Indiana. The “pursuit of simplicity” was fresh on my mind the way, after you’ve gone to the theatre and seen a particularly stirring movie, it just keeps resurfacing in your day dreams and conversations, connecting itself to other obscurely related topics in everyday life.

But so often when I felt this idea pressing on me, from outside of me, to bring up the subject in conversation, I felt awkward about it. Even now, though I don’t feel in the thick of the experience, looking for some kind of philosophical justification for our unusual choice to sell most of our things and travel lightly, I’m still wading through the questions of “how to live our lives?” and “what are our social– and spiritual– responsibilities?”


How to Be Self-Aware

I love personality tests. I mean I loooooove them. Tyler has learned this over the years, but he has yet to fully come around to my way of thinking. Still, when he read my results from this last test I took online, he was shocked by how spot on 99.9% of it was.

The older I get, the more I think I’m able to take these tests honestly and get more accurate results. I think it’s such a great tool to learn about yourself, how you operate, how to maximize on your strengths, and mostly… just that you’re not alone and there’s a reason you default to certain thought patterns and behaviors!

Do you like personality tests?
Have you taken this one? What’s your type?

Just for fun: I was placed as a Type 1 personality (by the Enneagram Test linked above and a second test on another site). I had the strongest wing in Type 2. However, the runner-up primary personality on both tests was Type 6.

image via pinterest

Life on Purpose: PowerSheets

About a year ago, I embarked on a journey of self-improvement that really morphed into self-discovery. It was one of the most empowering experiences of my life, but it was sneaky, changing me slowly, almost imperceptibly.

At the time, I was in the midst of months of part-time or non-employment, and although I had a few tasks lined up– volunteering in a couple places, selling our things, packing our things– I still had a lot of free time. In short, I was grouchy and I felt aimless. I needed some kind of structure to inspire me to productivity. So I turned to Lara Casey’s PowerSheets.


A Juggling Fail

In college, my sister and I went to a festival that was a gathering of intentional communities. It was quite the experience with a giant tent city, lots of good music, and many a dreadlocked head. Every morning we would head to learning workshops discussing everything from community structure and guidelines to the pursuit of godly simplicity. In the afternoons, we had the option to attend more light-hearted skill share sessions where— among many other things— we learned gardening tips, heard stories from a man who was walking across the country, and my favorite… practiced circus tricks.

Yes, that’s right. We got to learn circus tricks.

Ultimately, I discovered that I did not have a occupational future under the proverbial big top. I was alright on the tightrope walking; I failed miserably at the juggling. But I had a ton of fun trying to balance, throw, and twirl things.

This past week, I recalled that pitiful juggling experience as I visualized the crazy act I was attempting to perform with my life. I explained to Tyler that I felt like I was rolling along just fine in my Alaskan life, all settled in to my groove, and then out of nowhere someone tossed a handful of new balls into my routine. And I just couldn’t keep them all in the air.

I hate feeling like I’m behind. Like I’m letting people down. Like I’m failing at a project or goal. I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the most self-motivated person, but when I think of all the external factors that are disintegrating with my lack of accomplishment, I do get discouraged. Last week was just one of those weeks. It started off on the wrong foot, and with literally every waking moment spent rushing from one activity to the next, I felt constantly behind. The guilt of all those things I just “hadn’t gotten to”— blog updates being some of those— stressed me out and sent me to bed every night bemoaning the obvious fact that I just couldn’t keep up with everything.

Thankfully, the good things in life eventually show up, without fail, relieving that pressure and allowing us to breathe a little. Things like fresh bakery cookies and nights of twelve hours of sleep. By the time the start of this week rolled around, I felt ready to tackle everything on my plate. And my idea of tackling? It includes prioritizing my work/social/hobby/volunteer activities, discussing all our standing commitments with Tyler, deciding if we need to back out of anything, and devising a manageable plan to conquer all those tasks. Hopefully by the end of it, you’ll find me back on the internet, sharing from my ongoing list of “post ideas” that is taking over a note on my iPhone.

Speaking of which, any tips for backing out of commitments? Saying no in the first place is a good lesson to learn, but when it’s too late for that, how do you graciously bow out of yet another weekly obligation? I think our marriage group is probably safe from the cut list, but Downton Abbey night might be hanging on by a hair at this point 😉