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Crazy Thing About Living A Simple Life

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

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

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

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 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 took over 2 years to sell.

Next get rid of everything but the basic essentials! Even harder, because I get very attached 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. Many hours watching Fixer Upper and many broken pencils and lots of graph paper.

See 5 Steps to Plan Your Forever Home for more details about the planning process.

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


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 very basic and 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 start painting again.  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!

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

Plus, we keep adding on to the outside of the property.  As you know, one thing leads to another. 

So many more projects and more stuff. 

Our outdoor kitchen is our favorite spot to entertain.



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

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

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


One of our first projects was to rebuild 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.


Brad and I hosted our nieces 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?”

I would say that we are not truly ready for retirement. Our minds are so activate and there is so much we want to accomplish.

I should say, that I want us to accomplish. 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 and it’s obviously true because it served her well until she was 98 years old.

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 to 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 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 3 weeks before she died. What a blessed life she had 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 share my thoughts on 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 try to follow, as I get older, is to stay interested in life. To keep having goals and projects.

So our goal to simplify isn’t the textbook definition. It’s not exactly as 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 ages are thinking about a townhouse, with no up keep and no worries, we decided to bring 30 acres back to its former glory!

See These TO DO Lists projects that we’ve completed

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 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 a lot of our 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.  

If you need me, I’ll be right here!


Thanks so much for stopping by! 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 more of my crazy adventures.

Please leave me a message if you have any thoughts on living a simple life! I love seeing your questions as well.

xoxo

Briana from Texas

Sunday 6th of March 2022

You and your husband have a beautiful life.

Rachel

Sunday 6th of March 2022

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

Pam

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 😊

Rachel

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.

Kathie

Sunday 14th of March 2021

I worked for a surgeon and told my husband we were not going to wait until that magical age of 65 to retire. I saw so many couples where either one or the other was sick or they had lost their mate. Three years after that magical age, my husband had a brain bleed and was never to live at our home again. I needed a project(s) and decided to remodel one room in our home per year. It worked and now I am happy and blessed to have a home I enjoy spending time in. It would have been even nicer if we could have shared these ideas and plans. The moral of this story - do not wait to enjoy your time together!

rahrags@gmail.com

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

Kathie, Oh my Gosh. We've said the same things. We need to start enjoying the moments. Thank you for sharing this with me. I'm so glad you are happy in your home. Bless you.

Ann Heatherton

Tuesday 7th of July 2020

I loved your message today. I am actually retirement age but my mind is often swimming with new ideas and projects. I would be lost without them. How fortunate you were to inherit those ponds. My family is big. When my 93 year old dad passes, there will be a small ranch house to split 5 ways. Not everybody gets the life you live, but I am sure you know this and are thankful for your blessings. I am happy I found your blog. It took me 3 days of reading other blogs to discover it. Glad I hung in there!

rahrags@gmail.com

Tuesday 7th of July 2020

Ann, Oh my gosh. Thanks for hanging in there. Yes, I’m aware of how fortunate I am to have this place. When we first moved here I had no idea I’d be lead to start a blog and share our experiences! I appreciate you so much. Thanks

Janice

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

I loved this blog.. Thank you for sharing. I am wanting to do the same thing. Downsize is a goal for me. My husband is not so sure about this. Lol

rahrags@gmail.com

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

Janice, It is a little scary. One thing we did was spend as much time here on the property before we moved here. That helped us to have a better idea of what it would be like. I know that is not always an option. I wish you luck and please feel free to ask any questions. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.