Our Journey to Less: Phase 1

Hello world! As much as I love posting pretty pictures of beautiful families, it’s time to start sharing about a journey that I hope encourages you on yours. It’s time to get vulnerable and real.

In a nutshell, Dustin and I are committed to loving people and using stuff, not the other way around. (*Quote credit to The Minimalists and our friend, Michael Smoot.) We are committed to raising our children in this way and that meant it was time for some tough changes.

The initial springboard to simplify stemmed from the desire to have financial freedom – freedom to travel for a year if we wanted, freedom to be radical and give our kids experiences over stuff. The journey has morphed into more, which we’ll get into later.

When we bought our home in Colorado Springs two years ago, it was a sprawling 4200 sq. ft with a 4 car garage. It was beautiful, spacious and bright, right across the street from the park! Honestly, we could’ve had a drifter living in the basement for all we knew. We hosted many parties and dinners and had ample room for everyone to bring their broods of children. But did our family of four each require 1000 sq. ft to ourselves? Seriously.

Although inconvenient (as most of this process is), we listed the home after living there for a year, made a little profit and reinvested that into a house half the size. This was our first step towards financial freedom (goal of paying cash for a house) and simplification.

Cramming the giant house into the modest home (relatively speaking) was no small feat. There was no finished basement, so where would the myriads of toys go? These first world problems were so good to sort through both physically and spiritually.

We watched The Minimalist movie together on Netflix (Friday night date night, woop!) and then I read the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne (it’s on Dj’s reading list). Basically, we created a recipe for turning our life completely upside down and then people start to call you crazy. If you desire the same results, go do both of those things and then call me. 🙂 After implementing a few changes in January of this year, we spent so.much.less that month than usual. Yikes.

These thoughts originally started from conversations we had about living a life that we were called to and being an example to our children of what it meant to love others and use our gifts for good.

This led us down the path to simplify not only for financial reasons, but also for our footprint in terms of use and legacy. Our journey was and is hard! My thoughts were, of course a man can live out of a bag with one pair of shoes and floss! I’m a women! I have style! I need to select my wardrobe based on my feelings that day, not based on the choice of two shirts. I’ve been the picture of drama, kicking and screaming, as we hauled off things I thought I “needed.”

After I had my pity party, it made sense to par down to the essentials as we prepared for two moves starting in six weeks. (Dustin is training in San Antonio for the summer and we all decided to come along. Once training is complete, we’ll land in Columbus, Mississippi for a few years.)

For the next four months, we’ll be living in a 979 sq. ft. apartment and will only bring with us what we “need.” As in a few mattresses, a couch, table, clothing, shoes, books, school work (I’ll be home schooling that last 6 weeks of school, pray for me), and of course, my french press. But the list keeps growing – what about the crock pot so I can prep meals? What about the keyboard so the kids can practice piano? Should we bring bikes so we can enjoy rides as a family? The giant dog bed. My photography equipment. Legos. Markers. Sewing machine (Ellie’s new hobby) and so on. Soon, I imagine two car fulls of ‘stuff’ that we really don’t need. This is going to be challenging!

We are so thankful to have this opportunity for four months to leave our stuff behind (it will be waiting for us in Mississippi, so we’re not being THAT radical) and experience the culture of San Antonio and the country of Texas. Jesus be near.

*Also credit to The Resolution for Men, The Resolution for Women, and Seven by Jen Hatmaker.

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