I am the girl that used to walk into places like Target where they strategically keep the women’s/juniors clothes and accessories by the front door and it pulled me in. I started justifying and self-discussing why I need that new coverup. Or leggings. Or scarf. I just work so hard, I need it! I used to not have these nice things…now I need them! Or if Mike is there, of course his sweet heart says “get it buy it you deserve it!” — he is pretty bad about it, too. He thinks I deserve to spend whatever I want on anything and although I appreciate the love…that’s just not okay, Mikey…lol.
I used to say I needed these things. NEED it. I need it? No!! No. I don’t need any of it. I spent a lot of money 3-4 years ago “catching up” on buying a lot of clothes that FINALLY I could call mine. Not everyone else’s hand me downs that I had from when I was riding the bus and living a crazy life trying to make ends meet. I went on little shopping binges to try to fulfill some emptiness there so I could “catch up” with everyone.
Then we moved…and I was kind of far away from Target. Okay– like an HOUR! 50 minutes to the nearest Target!! At first this sounded like a punishment but oh my gosh….WHAT A BLESSING! I am weak for that place, lol! The less options I have the happier I have become because I don’t find myself wandering around there aimlessly buying things I don’t need. In Virginia Beach I would say..we need diapers, I’m going to Target. UM NO AMANDA– go to Walmart of the grocery store! You’re like tricking YOURSELF into going into Target hahahah and that is just ridiculous! Excuses, excuses!
This Sunday after church (yes! we went again! we are LOVING it!!!) — we stopped by and parked at a beach access in Nags Head. At first I was just going to get out while they sat in the car (because it’s cold, we’ve been doing this…Mike takes me to the beach access and I get out and walk around for 10-15 min and then I get back in. Just a litttttle addicted to the sea and sand here) — but it was beautiful here! Most of you guys were probably out on Sunday! I’m so glad we all got out. I could have never guessed we would find these incredible GIFTS on the beach!
Cammy walked with me hand in hand toward the ocean…we always straight shot head right for it. I’m always looking down and around for shells and we saw something AMAZING that had washed up! A SEASTAR!!!! A real one! Well, it was dead…but it was real! We squealed in front of all of the people walking around and almost cried we were so excited! We thought, JACKPOT! And guess how much that was??? FREE. Felt like it was worth $100 and we held it carefully like it was worth tons of money.
Then we kept walking. Conch shell pieces everywhere, beautiful little scallop shells, snail shells. Our favorites! SO much fun!
I had no shoes on and the water was FREEZING but I saw a little something poking half way out of the sand right where the tide was reaching. I ALWAYS check the shells between where the wave officially hits the sand and the tide reaches..it’s my little golden spot. I was SO cold but there it was. The thing I told Mike the week before I would probably never ever ever find and I was whining about. A beautiful IN TACT sand dollar! You guys– some of you do NOT care about this, I get it! But to our coastal obsessed hearts…this is real gold! More valuable than a giant diamond ring, than a $300 cart of goodies from Target..and it was free!
Then my favorite sea glass..pale blue. We couldn’t believe our stockpile that day. We truly felt like it was God’s way of being like, “Okay Hedgepeths…good job on the church attendance!” haha! Really though, it felt like a beautiful gift and sign. I couldn’t be more grateful for these free treasures.
This little gifts were free, love is free…passion is free. Quality time with your family is free. Some people’s idea of living by the beach to be happy is the million dollar house on the oceanfront, expensive beach chairs and expensive bathing suits. And hey, we want that too lol! But to be really happy here, we don’t need those things. Once you start connecting with yourself to realize that those tangible things really don’t make a difference, you start to truly change your perspective. Some people get a temporary high/happiness from shopping and buying things but 1-2 weeks later find an excuse to get more. It’s not permanent and it’s a cycle. Living the simple life by our personal definition isn’t going to Target and Homegoods and shopping online every chance you get…it’s learning to live with less. Donating tons of things you don’t need. Having a smaller closet, less things that need to be organized and cleaned because you are living minimally but are rich and stockpiled in memories and moments.
Happiness..it costs NOTHING. Memories and moments…nothing.
A little treat yoself and Target shopping every now and then?! TOTALLY fine! Um, hello! I will still do this! But not every-single-WEEK.
FREE things that have changed my life over the past few months include the following but are not limited to the list below!
1. Family Time. So much more family time. (Stopping shooting sessions on weekends and moving them to weekdays only changed our family’s LIFE. I can’t thank my incredible clients enough for this understanding!!! Two little girls get more quality time with both parents because of YOU, memories will be made…because of you.)
2. 98 Beach trips (we have a chalkboard count, haha!) between June and December of last year..including full day trips, quick night flashlight drives and lots of sunset walks!
3. Beach combing!!
4. Reading more (I didn’t read for YEARS, no kidding. I “didn’t have time” and now I MAKE time!)
5. Journaling is something I started last December and I’m addicted. I feel like I’m missing something when I go too long without writing in it! I have a “life” journal and I have a journal for my journey to finding God and to review and interpret devotionals, etc — so it’s like a journal/study guide
6. I write letters to my girls in their own journals! I tell them about themselves and stories and how I feel about them. Big other pink and purple journals full of mommy mush I love it 🙂
7. I clean and get rid of stuff all the time! Very freeing to have less *things* to worry about and donate to help others!
^ The beautiful Ocracoke golden hour on Saturday, we drove there on a whim (okay, gas costs money..but the memories didn’t, haha!) and we got this amazing peaceful image from the abandoned beach!