Good morning to you!
I wanted to use this week to address something that I see often asked in emails or comments from many readers, when I do a simple post that uses hand skills, or repurposing something.
That question is: “What are some of the most important skills you value, and why?”
Oy. Talk about trying to fit a college-level question into a kindergarten answer, ha ha ha!
So I have been thinking long and hard about it, and I wanted to share my answers with you. As many of you know from reading over time, I totally did not start out this way.
While I grew up in a mountain region that people were used to a harsher climate, and planned accordingly….
while I grew to adulthood in an area that was mostly Mormon and had a very self-sufficient philosophy (no, I am not LDS for those of you who constantly ask.)…
while I have a mother who did many things while growing up, including allowing her bleeding-heart daughter to rescue every stray and raise doves and rabbits in her garage, or make “perfume” from the neighbor’s filched roses and water…
if you would have asked me twenty years ago if I would ever have considered this kind of life, 
I probably would have laughed so hard 
I peed my pants.
No kidding.
Then as a young housewife who could hardly cook beans and rice, let alone biscuits that someone could actually eat…..who enjoyed shopping for sushi instead of basics…who was TOTALLY FINE with eating out all the rest of time….
yeah, this would have been a major stretch of the imagination.
But as I have awakened into the adult I have become (on the outside at least),
I have found that some of these things come naturally,
some I am drawn to,
and some are just a plain struggle to conquer 
each and every time I face them.
And you know, I think that is really how life truly is, right?
Some things are a joy that keep us walking forward in discovery, and some things are just plain hard work….it is finding a balance between these two that make all the difference in the world for a happy life.
Each day this week we are going to cover a skill or skills that I think everyone should work at having, whether man or woman, young or old. They are skills that are time honored ones, and have an enormous impact in your life towards self-sufficiency and just plain building yourself up
in knowledge and education.
I am sure for everyone, this list is a little different, but because what I do seems to chime with so many of you (after all, I am blessed that you tell me about it), I want to share the top five things I find crucial to living a life like we do here at The Welcoming House.
Today we will start by simply talking about Skill Number One:
Balance is a beautiful thing. And living a life that is out of balance is most certainly not. In learning to live a life like we do, it is easy to become caught up in doing SO MUCH, that you lose focus of why you started doing it in the first place. In a culture where so many of the things that we do are undervalued, it is also challenging to not isolate yourself from others. Let’s face it, who wants to be called the crazy folks that live in THAT house in any town in America?
But what I really want to get to is that learning to find the balance between doing, and letting someone else do for you, looks different for everyone. Believe me, as someone who has two large gardens, who has children, raises rabbits, teaches piano, home cans, preserves, cooks and bakes from scratch, etc etc etc etc etc, it sometimes becomes overwhelming. And you have to learn the skill of simply slowing down, letting some things go, and taking it back a step.
For most people, believe it or not, this is incredibly tough. We get so passionate about doing everything, that we forget that we ourselves were created to have a day of rest…and that we need to remember this life was meant to be enjoyed.
How does that look here at the Welcoming House?
(remember how the word of the year is transparency?)
Well, it may mean that one weekend the husband orders in pizza instead of me making it.
Or that some green beans don’t get put up right away and end up starting a few green bean plants for seed a little early in the gardening season.
It may mean my kids get to make sandwiches on STOREBOUGHT BREAD (go ahead, fall of your chair and I will pick you up later)…and love every minute of it because Mom has been too busy to whip out a few loaves of bread.
It may mean that somewhere between teaching lessons, and planting gardens, and finishing up school for kids, and dealing with fibromyalgia flare ups, I end up not posting more than once a week for a short period of time.
It may mean that one morning I wake up, and rush outside at 3 am because I realize I had a doe due with her litter in the morning, and I forgot to put the nest box out the night before (we had 10 pudgy babies, so thank goodness that one ended well).
It may mean that even though I have a smart phone I turn it off every day at a certain time so that I can just look into the excited eyes of my three year olds as I read them ‘Three Little Kittens’ for the zillionth time, even though I have 30+ messages waiting to be answered on here for comment moderation.
It may mean that dishes don’t get washed and I use every available pot, and the Handy Hubby brings home white bread, brats and chips for dinner because after canning all day I simply can’t do another thing.
It may mean when Mamma falls on a diabolical sit-and-spin toy that had it out for me and almost breaks both her ankles, ends up on the couch for two weeks straight and life goes to heck in a handbasket, I can thank God for the many meals downstairs I spent time canning up…and snuggle with my kids. Or use essential oils to speed up healing.
At the worst, it may mean that we fall short on wood cut for a long, cold winter, and that means we need to run our Fuel Oil tank dry because the snow is stacked up
 and we can’t get out in the groves to cut wood.
It is all about balance.
This sign, made by a friend, hangs prominently in my home, and reminds me every day why I choose to do what I do on many different levels…….
You see, living a balanced life means that you need to have a back up plan, and above all else, realize that you simply can’t do everything, all the time. You will do what you have to do when you have to do it. And having that perspective, saves you so much emotional energy in the end, instead of you wasting that time feeling horrible that everything did not turn out perfect.
Or that you somehow, FAILED.
Face it folks, life is NOT like Pinterest.
It is messy, and rewarding, and painful, and beautiful…
and if we can just capture that balance of being content to do what we can do, happy with what we can accomplish to make ourselves one step closer to where we want to be…
then it slowly, over time, becomes a way of life instead of a chore.
So if you ask me what the number one skill people need to get down at the beginning of starting a path like what the Handy Hubby and I are on, happily…
Finding a Balance would be my first answer.
I promise that the other four are more tangible ones that I can encourage you and teach you ways to tackle as we walk through the week.
See ya tomorrow!
Blessings to you and yours,
Come back Tomorrow to read about my second skill that I find necessary to a Welcoming House life, and just curious, but have you joined our Welcoming House Facebook Page? That is a great group of some really fun and like-minded people who love to learn and encourage one another.
And if you haven’t checked to see if you were the WINNER from our Young Living Essential Oils Giveaway this weekend, click HERE to find out about it…..

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