I found it.

My purpose right now? To make the simple life decadent. To hold sacred all of the ordinary. To create beauty out of nothing but what's on hand and a lotta love. To find constant wonder and humor in the messes--and charm in the mundane. Splitting wood. Playing chess. Making bread with (and for) my kids. Total participation.

Matt and I are committed to creating this life out here on the ranch and sharing it with others. That is our life and our work. We are raising our food and living off the land and we don't have to compromise that. We are holding tight to our values of sustainability, community and a direct connection to food (and life in general). To connecting with something larger. We will not fill it up with things that don't matter. We've worked too hard to get here.

I like to have a litmus test. A guide to hold up our decisions and ask, "Does it fit? Does it match?" I always think of it like the chlorine test strips to for pools.

The top square is: Does it bring our family together? If it doesn't bring us closer or diffuses our energy and doesn't put our family relationships first, it's not gonna pass. This is first.

The next square is: Is it simple? Is it natural? Our commitment to sustainability also means that we strive to make things uncomplicated. And when I use the word sustainable, I'm not being trendy or just talking about the environment (although that, too). Are we doing the most basic, stripped down version? If we start with the basic and build, it will come together naturally. It will also do what's it's supposed to do, organically.

Next: Are we working with what we've got? Are we using it to it's greatest potential? In the winter, we have snow. Rather than battling it and fighting it, we have to use it to the best of our advantage. Snowmobiles instead of the constant battle of plowing the road. But this also fits with each of our gifts. When we fully use our resources and their potential, we create flow. It's a symbiotic relationship.

The next square: Are we being open? "This. Or something better." Not micromanaging the outcome, but being open to the final version (because it's usually more beautiful than we could put together). If we can stay curious and experiment while listening to our intuition, we can't go wrong.

 An image from my latest vision board.

An image from my latest vision board.

Finally: Does it nourish us? If it depletes us of energy, it's not sustainable. Working hard for what we believe in is one thing... fighting an uphill battle is something else. Feeding our creativity but also creating compassion for us, for the world around us. This is the lagniappe, the "little something extra" (a concept I picked up from New Orleans--I love it). The simplest things can help us feel decadent.

  Beignets. Another lagniappe from New Orleans.

Beignets. Another lagniappe from New Orleans.

How do we overtly instill these beliefs into our family? I don't know. Doing it, for sure. But I think talking about it, too. Like I said when I started out, these posts are partly to help others understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. I hope that also means my kids some day.