My Life Story … so far … Part 3

This evening the air is summer heavy with scent. Rich and reminiscent of lilac grandmothers.

My paternal grandmother was the hub of our extended family. Every holiday the Lagardes gathered at her home and feasted. Cousins, aunts, uncles, all together. Often the evening would end with spirited board games or tv movies. Laughter, more food, and love abounded. My grandmother was almost always in the kitchen cooking, or cleaning up – although it was usually the men’s job to wash the dishes. Eventually it was realized that my uncles, one a chef and one a cook, being in the kitchen almost as much as grandma, and the aunts, it should fall to us cousins to do the dishes. I loved my grandmother, and in retrospect I wish I had spent more time with her, learning. I hope to be a little like her someday.

When my grandmother died, we all did a little posturing to see who would be the new hub. My mother tried. I tried. An aunt tried. Ultimately the Lagardes went their separate ways into individual families. Although a funeral gathering still draws us all together for hours of food, and laughter, and discussion. Now, my older sister tends to be the main hub of the Bill Lagarde clan (I’m a little envious). We also migrated more of the Norton events, mostly hosted by one of my Aunts – the hub of the Nortons. She holds a great party, very relaxed, and I also hope to be a little like her someday.

I adore hosting parties. I adore fancy glassware. I adore beautiful food. I adore having all the best things for people to enjoy. I love cooking, and arranging, and baking, and discovering beautiful things. There were several years where I hosted annual parties with live bands, catered food, and art. Once I was married with children, I held combined Thanksgiving/boy-child birthday bashes with attendance in the 60 range. However, those years of success, faded away as people became unsingle and as we all got busy with our own lives.

Then we moved out of south Minneapolis. We had started gardening and raising chickens in our tiny Minneapolis back yard (funny story about how we got into chickens – to be told later). At that time boy-child was nearing kindergarten age and I started to feel nervous. I always felt perfectly safe in our neighborhood, but I worried about my kids in large public schools. Plus, I really wanted them to experience a simple country life like where I grew up. We moved far enough away to be inconvenient for people to visit, but not far enough to be a weekend destination. I lost many of my friends and party attendees.

I have a certain amount of regret for not finding a better property. We should have bought something with more trees, more land, a barn, and maybe even established gardens and pastures. Instead we moved into a major fixer-upper, inside and out, and have fought tooth and nail to get to where we are. Where it is starting to look how we planned, but there is still so much to do. It usually feels like an uphill, I will never get it all done, battle to dead tired life.

We are here attempting to build a self-sufficient + 1 life (provide for ourselves and at least one other family). We hold a monthly open house on the first Saturday of the month. My dream is that we will become a local hub for homesteading information and learning. My goal is to create art, bake, and grow good food. I want people around me who are also wanting to do these things. People who can teach me, and who I can teach. A family by choice. A homesteading dream farm.

This is why I do what I do. This is what I dream.

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My life story … so far … Part 2

I just took Dani Johnson’s GEMs personality test. I just discovered I am 42.5% Sapphire and 37.5% Pearl. I must admit I was hoping for Ruby simply for the color. I love red. It has always been my favorite color.

I had a boyfriend in college. We broke up on valentines day. After that, every valentines day until I was married, I wore black. I called it my anti-celebration, but inwardly I loved everything to do with valentines. I loved the hearts. I loved the red. I loved the roses. I loved the beautiful heart shaped boxes of chocolates. I could never admit it to anyone, but I longed for someone to give me those silly, commercial romance items.

I thought I would be happier, more content if life was easy. If nothing was a struggle. If nothing required effort. I gave up talents. I skipped opportunities. Looking back I only see fear, and feel regret for those years when I could have done so much more, been so much more.

I managed to cram a 4 year degree into 5 years. Had some great times and made some life long friends. Explored spaces most other students never got to see. Wandered late at night, writing poetry, pushing away potential loves because I was afraid – I don’t know of what. I graduated.

Then I discovered dancing.

I had danced before, at high school dances where it was more about finding someone to dance with, than the movement and music. I had danced at weddings to all the silly songs they would play. I took ballet and modern dance lessons, a few community ed ballroom lessons. I discovered dancing at a club. I discovered dance mixes played by DJs in dimly lit, alcohol laden, crowded spaces. While I danced I felt free and beautiful. I think I had somehow lost that feeling in the woods, in the top branches of the climbing tree, or down by the crick next to the gooseberries.

I discovered swing dancing. There was a usual group of us, always at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, where the music was rockabilly, and there was swing, two-step, and a little lindy. One of our group always introduced me as Eve to others. I wondered why, pondered it, and decided I liked it.

I discovered the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and began working there as Eve, the apple lady. A silent flirt who fell in love with everyone, and gave apple massages.

I met my husband at there. I thought he was cute. I wrote poetry, he wrote beans. It is a good memory. After much struggle, drama, learning, and growing; after a tree was caught, doctors were visited, and houses were purchased; we were married. Our children spent summers with us in the lanes at the festival. My little blue-eyed mud baby was quite famous as was my brown-eyed baby in a hoop skirt.

I guess I better make this continue on another day, because it is again past my bedtime, and I feel there is more to share.

My Life Story … so far … Part 1

Hi. My name is April J. I grew up on a homestead in a small town near Duluth. My mom was a Mother Earth News type before it was popular. We had close to 40 wooded acres, huge gardens, occasionally raised chickens, spent summers camping and fishing, and winters sliding and hauling fire wood.

My dad was a math and computers teacher at the local high school. My mom managed the home. There were 7 of us kids – 5 adopted. My mom kept a tight budget, planned meals, and bought what was wholesome, and cheap. She often made clothes for us, and once my sisters allergies were known, our bread was always 100% whole wheat and home made. We got milk from the local dairy stock tank.

As much as my kid brain thought we never had the money for the good stuff, candy and restaurants and designer clothes and the latest toys, we had enough.

I was shy. An introvert. Very happy reading in my room, or out exploring our woods. Climbing trees, collecting wild berries, catching frogs. I was emotional, a peace keeper. I was afraid of the dark. I enjoyed working in the garden. I thought no one liked me.

6 days before my 13th birthday I got sick. My school photo was that day and I look strange and pale. I remember loads of doctors trying to figure out what it was. One doctor said maybe appendix, but probably not. Almost a month later they decided to operate assuming an ovarian cyst. Ended up being a burst appendix. 3 hours to clean up scar tissue. My first meal after recovering from surgery was green jello because it was St. Patricks day. Funny story, when my first child was born by c-section, they found staples from that surgery still inside me.

I started writing poetry somewhere around middle or junior high school. I also took several art classes. I found school to be easy, and didn’t push myself at all – I always wish I had.

College was much of the same. I realized I wanted to be creative, but because poetry did not seem a financially stable career, I tried journalism. I realized that was not for me. Next I chose Graphic Design, which is what my degree is, a BA in Graphic Design. I wish I had pushed harder. I wish I had taken more math and science. My first year I took both and excelled and had both professors wanting me to take more. I wish I had gotten a dual degree in fine arts. I wish I had done more theatre, and not dropped music. I wish I hadn’t stopped running. I wish I had gone to the Sorbonne where I had been accepted my junior year – but chickened out.

So much of my life has had me taking tentative steps. Afraid of the wrong choice, afraid to take risks, afraid to pursue anything. I have so many regrets and I keep thinking over them all the time. I am working toward breaking free of this habit of defeat.

More next time – it’s past my bedtime and I have to work early tomorrow.

 

Why

I’m taking an course called Gameplan by Sarah Harnisch. It is a Young Living specific book. “The complete strategy guide to go from starter kit to silver.

My next several posts are directly related to things I’m learning creating as I go through the book. Bear with me please.

Lesson one is directly related to committing to a end game. What is the reason you are in this? What is your why? What has put a burning passion in you to get going in this business, yes, but ultimately, what will you do once you win? What will you do with your first paycheck? What will you do with the money once your at silver? What will you life look like? What is your bucket list dream from your life?

My why is this:

I will be debt free. I will be financially stable. I will have the freedom of being home full-time in order to spend my days building my homestead business and making art. I will bring us to Self-sufficient + 1.

I want to rise above this financial mess we have created and live a life of financial freedom. I want time to create, bake, dance, garden, whatever strikes my fancy. I don’t want to spend the end of every month worried about that last $20 covering the last 3 days of the month.

Every now an then I allow myself to daydream about what the day will be like once I have paid off the debts. Usually it involves more sleep, lots of outside time, a clean room with an easel and paints, home made meals, a slow cup of coffee.

This book promises all of this if I follow the steps.

Join me on my oily journey by signing up as a member here.