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Crazy Thing About Living A Simple Life

The crazy thing about living a simple life is how hard it is. So, I’m sharing some of the lessons we learned along the way.

Living a Simple Life doesn’t mean slowing down; we’ve learned it may be the opposite.

What Does Simplify Mean?

Simplify – “to reduce to basic essentials” – Easier Said Than Done!

How Our Simple Life Began

In 2012, Brad and I decided we wanted to simplify our lives; we decided we would move to our country property, The Ponds.   

We wanted a debt-free lifestyle so that we would downsize to a smaller home!  Yes!

All of this sounded great! 

Sell our house! Easy? No, because it wasn’t the best economy, and it took over two years to sell.

Next, get rid of everything but the essentials! This is even more complicated because I get very attached to the rescued items I’ve brought home over the years. However, that’s another story!

Where was I? Oh, yes, we did sell the house and a lot of stuff! Anything left over was donated.

Fast Forward

Finally, we were going to realize our dream of living a simple life.

I’ve always wanted a White Farmhouse to remodel. However, the property didn’t come with one. Bummer!

Although I wanted an industrial-style farmhouse, the exact plan wasn’t to be found, so I began drawing my own plan.

Below is the result of many hours on Instagram and Pinterest. I spent many hours watching Fixer Upper, broke many pencils, and used lots of graph paper.

Please look at 5 Steps to Plan Your Forever Home for more details about the planning process.

The Ponds Farmhouse - Simple Life in the Country.

I always wanted a white farmhouse, and since this was our forever home, I knew it was my last chance.

Front porch with french doors at The Ponds Farmhouse - Simplify by downsizing your home.

Having a lot of outdoor space was essential to our plan. Our front porch and screened porch cover the entire front of the house.

Finally, we move into the house with these grand plans to keep the house simple!

Simple Living – “minimalism, refraining from Luxury and Indulgence”!

Then I start to decorate, and guess what? 

I decide that I need more essentials!  So I began to hunt at barn sales, vintage shops, and thrift stores. 

I’m starting to paint again. There is so much inspiration here in the country—the cows, the churches, etc.

Although this sounds the opposite of simplifying, I can’t apologize for wanting to do this.  It’s what I love doing!

original cow painting with prints available.

My first Cow Painting. Now I have prints available! Click here!

I was having a dinner party the next evening and decided I needed a painting over my table. This was the result. You see, this is how my mind works. I think of an idea and I can’t rest until it’s done. We barely had any food at this dinner party, but by gosh, I had a painting of a cow over my table.

Other Ways To Keep Us Busy

We also keep adding to the outside of the property. As you know, one thing leads to another. 

So many more projects and more stuff. 

We enjoy entertaining in our outdoor kitchen. This was originally an old cabin which we repurposed into an outdoor kitchen. See Outdoor Kitchen Before & After for more details.

DIY Outdoor Kitchen - Entertaining area at the Ponds Farmhouse - Simple lifestyle ideas.
Our outdoor kitchen is our favorite spot to entertain.

We love entertaining, so the outdoor spaces are for bringing people together and for our own personal enjoyment.  

Poolside view of the ponds and enjoying the simple things in life.

We also added a pool and love having guests with us on hot summer weekends.

Poolside - Living a Simple Life as you approach retirement.

We also justify everything we do. So not only would a pool be an excellent addition, but we can use the pool for exercise. One day, when we can hardly walk anymore, we will have a pool to exercise in. I don’t know who we’ll get to clean it, though??!!!

Gazebo at the end of the pier - A simple life.

Our first project was rebuilding the pier in the middle pond! We decided to add a gazebo at the end. Brad and I love ending our day watching the sunset from the spot.

First Summer in the Farmhouse At The Ponds.

Brad and I hosted our niece’s wedding here at The Ponds Farmhouse. This was our first summer in the house. BTW, I’ve not had flowers that looked this good since. LOL

You’re probably saying, “What the heck does this have to do with living a simple life?”

We are not truly ready for retirement. Our minds are so active, and there is so much we want to accomplish.

I should say that I want us to accomplish this. My husband always comes around when I plot a new idea, although it may take a little persuasion.

We are both fortunate to be healthy (as far as we know,) and it’s not time for us to sit down yet.

We need projects and goals to keep us feeling young!

At least, that’s what I keep telling my husband! LOL

Use It or Lose It

That was my Mother’s Motto, which is true because it served her well until she was 98.

I saw what retirement did to my in-laws. They basically stopped, and the combination of sitting down and poor health choices ended their lives way too early.

On the other hand, my parents lived a very long and healthy life.

My dad was working hard the day he decided he needed to have that abdominal Herrera checked out. He lived to be 86.

My mom, many of you know, passed away in August 2019 at 98. This was the first year she didn’t have a garden and several jars of green beans stored away for the winter. The first year she didn’t get to share her watermelons and cantaloupes with her neighbors and family. She lived by herself until three weeks before she died. She had a blessed life, and we were so blessed to have her with us all these years.

Picture of my Mom from 1957

I’m only sharing this with you to let you know what I think about simplifying. I’ve not lived the lifestyle my parents lived. I’ve been exposed to more stress and definitely a less healthy diet. One lesson I can follow as I get older is to stay interested in life. To keep having goals and projects.

So our goal to simplify is different from the textbook definition. It’s different from what we planned or thought it would be.

However, I will say we have never been happier! 

We actually thrive on our “to-do” list.  

 Although most people our age are thinking about a townhouse with no upkeep and no worries, we decided to bring 30 acres back to their former glory!

See These TO DO Lists of projects that we’ve completed as of 2022

How to Build A DIY Greenhouse

Beach Cottage Kitchen Remodel

DIY Faux Apothecary Cabinet

How to Build a Farmhouse Kitchen Island

Another aspect of living a simple life is quality of life, health, and quality time.

We are not actually at retirement age (yet), but we didn’t want to be in debt at 65.  We wanted to start enjoying our time at home and have less stress.  We also hope to travel more.

 I love vintage finds and bringing old things back to life. 

That’s what we are doing here at The Ponds!  This property is a part of my heritage, and although my dad is no longer with us, I’d like to think he’s happy with the work we’ve done here.  

Although we may not be ready for the true meaning of “simple life,” I feel we have accomplished many goals. 

  1. To be debt-free. 
  2. To enjoy the moments 
  3. Have less stress
  4. Most of all, we sure are enjoying this season of our lives.  
The Crazy Thing About Living a Simple Life As You Approach Retirement

If you need me, I’ll be right here!

Update 2024

Wow, how time flies. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years. A lot has changed. Brad took early retirement after Covid. He is my partner in crime these days. He helps me with the blog and social media. If you ever get a crazy comment that doesn’t sound like me, it’s probably Brad. LOL.

I never dreamed as I wrote this article in 2020, that this blog would become a full-time business. So, it’s full steam ahead for us right now. We have been so blessed with followers like yourself. Who would have thought that someone would be interested in all our DIY and decorating adventures to the point it would become a business?

We have been blessed with many magazine features and many other amazing adventures that are only possible because you are following along.

Thank you!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for all your encouragement and kind words.

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope my messages will inspire you in some way.

I look forward to sharing more about our “Simple life” here at the Ponds and my crazy adventures.

Please message me if you have any thoughts on living a simple life. I love hearing your questions, too.


Friday 10th of May 2024

Rachel, your blog, your creative interesting projects,your enthusiasm and your realness are awesome!


Friday 10th of May 2024

Angie, This is such a sweet compliment. I appreciate you so much.

Wendy McMonigle

Monday 6th of May 2024

Your home is so beautiful Rachel! your special touch is every detail I can see. It's so special that you are able to live your dreams.


Monday 6th of May 2024

Wendy, I really appreciate your comment. Thanks for stopping by.


Monday 6th of May 2024

Yes your right retirement and debt free is great I have so many things I am interested in doing I never have enough time My hubby and I do a lot of projects to to stay busy and he builds things to it's great we have someone interested a d willing to work/help us Enjoy !!!!


Monday 6th of May 2024

Eva, Yes! We are blessed. I hope things slow down for you and you get to accomplish all your plans.

Briana from Texas

Sunday 6th of March 2022

You and your husband have a beautiful life.


Sunday 6th of March 2022

Briana, We are very blessed. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday 6th of March 2022

I enjoyed your simpler life post. While reading it I realized why I’m so drawn to you. We have such similar taste, drive and outlook on life as well. You are so talented. I love your sweetie is your partner in these endeavors as is mine! It certainly makes it more fun and he’s got the talent in carpentry. I just have the ideas 😊


Sunday 6th of March 2022

Pam, I'm so glad this post interested you. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your comments because then I know if my ideas are speaking to others.