A New Year...

I really love this time of year. I love what "the new year" stands for. I love the resolve and the renewed optimism that people have to make themselves better than they have been before. This year for me will be about daily details. Working off The List is still in full swing but by looking at it I notice much of what I check off are the things that require short-term commitment or are "once in a lifetime experiences". The things that have been left uncrossed on the list the longest are those things that take a daily effort, persistence, and patience. Of course. For those that know me well, this makes perfect sense. There are things pegged for this year that are short-term goals like: Buy the "Sutton Homestead" Enjoy tea time in England Learn the art of canning Backpacking in Yellowstone But I think these things will come fairly naturally. There are things that I work on year after year with little progress and I think if I focus on them first, the rest will follow. Walk/Run/Swim/Bike 5 days a week Eat 90% plant based diet Read the Bible I look forward to 2013 mostly because the Mr. and I will finally be in the same state together and we are working to build some permanency in our lives. It's going to be fabulous!


My thoughts are with Her this evening. I don't know whether I should applaud or cry for Her. She says she is happy so I will be happy too.

 I wanted everything that she had growing up. She seemed to have it all. She made all the right choices while I was the one to go astray over...and over....again. I learned a lot in those mistakes that helped me be intentional about future choices. Her choices never seemed mistakes. I was always the type who needed to know more than just what the "right decision" was....I needed to know why all the others were "wrong". She never seemed to even wonder.

Her home was filled with boundless opportunities while I struggled to create my own. Money doesn't buy happiness but it certainly creates opportunities.

Her family is beautiful and with them, she has all the time in the world. Mine is so small it could disappear in a moment.And  I often fear it will.

I could never compete with her. The criteria I used to judge seemed relevant but now seems so empty.

I want to show her all that she has.

Her brilliant mind wouldn't wrap itself around my simple ideals.

She may even take offense.

Her beliefs, politics, and values can be different than mine. I just wish they were enough to make her smile.

Her smile is light.


This weekend was beautiful.

Here are some highlights:

Learned to crochet with my sister. She is brilliant at it. I am not sure what I am making but I have some Icelandic wool yarn that deserves a clean stitch so I am practicing. Also she taught me to stick a colorful, simple, recycled rag rug that now dons my kitchen with color and comfort.

Homemade soap from my dad...always a treat.

Long walk with my favorite aunt. We have done this for years when I am home or when she is at the cabin. Five miles is nothing with our talks...

Phenomenal weather and lots of kid time outside. My nieces and nephews are great. Very strong personalities but so much fun!

Lots of cooking, baking, and eating...my kind of weekend.

Sewing with mom. I have some beautiful things to wear and soon will have a covered pallet bench.

New pillows.

Two hour drive through the mountains. Clear skies and fabulous sunset. I forgot how much I missed my mountains.

Dinner with my little bro, his wife, and BFF. They make me feel like I am in college again. We also watched the football game-Packers lost :(. We did however plan a camping trip in the snow. Definately one to check off the bucket list.

Simplify, simplify, simplify...

My mind has been racing since Tuesday night. I don't identify with any specific political affiliation per se but my support has been given based almost entirely on fiscal decisions this election. I have watched over the last three and a half years as the cost of food, gas, and interest have grown faster than in the past. Trust me, I have a fabulous partner who tracks down to the penny where our money goes (he wrote the pre-post to this one). I could show you pie graphs or bar charts...it's purely objective. If anything our lifestyle has become more simple over the years so you would expect that spending would drop but with rising costs, this is not the case. To say I am concerned is an understatement.

Has anyone else experienced this?

There have been multiple attempts to offset these costs ie I RARELY buy meat anymore. Sure we eat meat on the rare occasion that we go out, but in our home, vegetarian meals have drastically reduced the cost. DIY has become commonplace in our home and thrift stores are our go-to for necessities.

I get comments from friends and family about my spending (well, lack of) but as I read on a blog a few weeks ago,"if others aren't commenting on your (lack of) spending habits, it is not remarkable enough to make a difference". We have dual incomes and we do alright but I want better than "alright" in my home. I want freedom from rising food, gas, and interest costs.

I have found myself the last few days realizing that I have a lot more control in this than I initially thought. Thank goodness I have Google and that there are so many people out there that are years ahead of me on this topic that I can learn from. Thank goodness I had a friend in grad school who first taught me how to cook something out of nothing. Thank goodness I have a Mr. who feels as strongly about this issue as I.

Moving Forward...some words from the Mr.


Dateline: November 9, 2012; 5:00 PM CST, Milwaukee WI

Tuesday’s election was a tipping point. A majority of the country voted their self interests over the good of the economy, the Nation, and the Constitution. As a result, in the past few days we have seen scores of layoff announcements and a stock market drop. We are faced in the short term with rising ta...
x rates and drastic mandated spending cuts all looming by or at year’s end. Both the President and the Speaker will each claim a mandate, and the result will be a stalemate. If a deal should happen to get done, does anyone really think there will be any real reduction in our deficit and debt? More than likely the best that will happen is a bad deal that will only raise our deficit to $1.4 trillion instead of $1.6 trillion. Talk about your Pyrrhic victory.

Over the next four years we will see unemployment rise as employers are forced into survival mode. They will lay off employees or reduce hours to offset tax increases and to avoid meeting the minimum number of employees to fall under the ObamaTax mandates. The employment rate when the President took office in January in 2009 was 7.8%. When re-elected it was 7.9%. We will be lucky to be in the single digits when we select our next President in 2016.

As the Fed continues to print money and as the President wages his war on fossil fuels we will see prices at the pumps and on the shelves rise while real disposable income declines. We will see out of pocket costs for health care rise as employers opt to pay the fine ($2K) rather than provide health insurance ($6 - $12K) in order to stay afloat. By 2016, we will have double digit inflation.

Right now we have historically low interests rates, but even this has not loosened the reins on the economy. As inflation kicks in rates will rise which will not only make consumer and business borrowing less attractive, but these same interest rate increases will explode the cost just to service our national debt, much less knock down any principal. Expect to see double digit interest rates by 2016.

All this while enduring perhaps the most corrupt and secretive administration in history (hey, nobody DIED during the Watergate Cover Up) that allows our embassies to be attacked and our drones shot down over international waters without response, all while offering “flexibility” to the nation that is and will be the biggest backer of our Middle Eastern enemies.

Since a majority of Americans in enough states have voted for their self interests over that of the economy, Nation, and Constitution, I will also be going into survival mode like many other American families and business. Consider this my notice of strike action.

It’s simple really. Generally speaking spending falls into five main categories: 1) Taxes (off the top, can’t avoid them) 2) Necessities (you have to eat and sleep) 3) Obligations (you have to honor your commitments) 4) Savings (you won’t work forever) and finally, after taking care of the first four, you have 5) Discretionary income.

When the costs of the first three skyrocket and the returns on the fourth plummet (or even turn NEGATIVE) the only place left to cut is in the last category – discretionary spending. So I’m on strike. I’m not spending – not to intentionally hurt the economy or my fellow Americans but because I have an obligation to myself and my family to provide for our present and try to secure our future, espcecially when the upcoming economic catastrophe is so forseeable. My wife will still pay her tithing and I’ll still support my charitable causes (we count these as voluntary obligations rather than necessities) but going out for date night, buying a new outfit, or taking that trip will be replaced with playing board games at home, stocking up on food storage and water, and moving to somewhere remote.

I worked my way through school tending bar and delivering pizzas, and I was grateful to every customer who gave or left me a tip that supported me for four years. To this day when I go out I am overly generous with my server. Sadly, the pizza parlor down the block won’t get my business this Friday, the delivery driver won’t get my tip, and when enough people can’t or won’t participate in the economy people will lose their jobs. But hey, you have free birth control…at least you’ll have something to do when you’re sitting at home watching Jerry Springer wishing someone who knew about business was running the economy.

For those who made it this far, thanks for reading…I’ve never been much of a long winded Facebook poster (I usually just link to other long winded columnists). If you agree with my stance and will be striking also, please LIKE and SHARE this post. I’m really curious to know if I’m the only one that feels this way after Tuesday.

John Sutton

A Season of Thanks...

Reflecting. This November I seem to have an overabundance of gratitude. Yesterday I sat alone for an hour thinking about all I have been blessed with, yet this doesn't even scratch the surface...

I grew up in a home where I was taught to share and accept responsibility. I had an older brother who taught me how to make the world work for me as opposed to being a product of my circumstances. I have parents who supported all of my big ideas and helped me through the changes and transition that inevitably came with each and everyone of them.

I have had opportunities to gain education and now am able to do something I enjoy without having to work weekends, late nights, or holidays. I have opportunities to increase my knowledge daily. I have former coworkers who have taught me so much and now two fabulous teachers to "show me the way" in this new place.

I have had incredible opportunities to travel the world and have experiences that I would never have dreamed. I have had the chance to live in other countries and get to know new cultures and ways of living. I believe this has given me better perspective and ability to relate to others in more specific ways.

I have the greatest group of friends. Each so different. Some even like sisters. Their strength and examples are remarkable.

I have a protector, Lover, and ultimate friend who I get to enjoy the rest of my life with. He is mine. He has taught me great lessons and continues to teach me new things. He makes my world go 'round. He makes me want to be better.

Year three...

Year three begins with "dual residences" again.
How do I ever agree to this.
A glorified name for " long distance relationship".
We met and married "too soon" by anyone else's standards.
I waited my whole life for YOU.
It was worth the wait.
A million times over.
It wasn't soon enough for me.
Nothing about US has been typical.
Tonight I almost wish we were.
The couple with a nine to five
Followed by tv and then off to bed.
Entirely predictable.
I could go for that tonight.
Instead I count down until next time.
I read and reread your sweet exchanges
Evidences of the distance.
Evidences more of your unfailing support.
I know this is for ME.
A gift only you can give.
And for this I am thankful.