Atop

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Going on a road trip always makes me feel on top of my world (along with jeans that fits just right, boots, and being on the back of a brave horse) !! My daughter shares that feeling. Right now we’re on a road trip in my favorite road trip state Nevada!

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Of course our favorite roads are not the usual highways, but rather endless dirt roads.

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This week, consider your point of view as you respond to this challenge’s theme, “Atop.” If you’re physically on top of a thing or a place — a mountain, a skyscraper — what type of scene do you want to share in your frame? Consider, too, other interpretations of “Atop” — what does it mean or look like to be on top of a soapbox? A bestseller list? The world?

Show us your best image — we look forward to seeing everyone’s takes!

What make you feel on top of your world?

Yours,

Maria

MJP Gratitude Challenge

Every Saturday I host a gratitude challenge. I share something that I am grateful for, and encourage you to do the same!

This week I’ve been spending some time reflecting over my priorities. In my world time, is something I value very high, maybe the most. Let me explain. Time equals freedom.

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The more time I have that is truly my time = I decide what to do with it, the more fulfilling my life is. I believe that we are what we eat; in all areas of life, not only what we feed our body, but also what we feed our mind. This has a lot to do with how we choose to spend our time. Today I’m grateful for the blessing of having power over how I choose to spend my time. I don’t have 100% power over my time, but I do have a lot of freedom, when it comes to how I spend my time. For me this is freedom. I’m rich!

Tim Ferris, the author of the 4 Hour Work Week, defines it this way: The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD).

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People who knows me, know that I work very hard. In fact a cowboy at a ranch I worked at, recently said; Damn! I know why you’re single! You outwork everyone. Most men find that intimidating. When he said it, I laughed. I did give it some thought afterwards, not that I’m planning to change, but it does have some truth to it. I take that as a compliment. Whatever I’m doing, I want to do it good. (I was cleaning horse pens, when I received the compliment.) I’m not a perfectionist, but I always want to challenge myself, to do my very best (or a little more.) I enjoy it. I take great pride in it.

Prosperity is not an abundance of money and material things; it is a mindset, according to Randy Gage . I agree 100%! (BTW, I just ordered his new book Mad Genius. I’m very excited about reading it!)

Knowing this about myself, I need to make sure I push in the right direction. I need to constantly review where this train is going. If I don’t do that, I loose the power over my time. It’s my responsibility to make sure that I use my time according to my priorities. It’s your responsibility to make sure you use your time according to your priorities. How we spend our days actually tells us a lot about our priorities.

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If I tell myself that my highest priority is my daughter, how does that reflect how I spend my time? If I know that I need to exercise to feel good, do I make time for that? If I know that I need to get my skinny ass outside everyday, to avoid going nuts, do I makes sure I do that? If I call myself a photographer, do I actually look for photo opportunities every day? Do I bring my camera with me? Those are some of the questions I ask myself, to make sure I’m the boss over my time. I know we all have responsibilities, I have too, some of them less fun, but  never loose sight of what’s important.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. – Theophrastus

Of course what’s important can be a trillion different things. If your highest priority is to have your own private jet, and a luxurious lifestyle, with more money than you can count, by all means go and make some God damn money. I won’t judge you. Money can be fun.

I don’t dream about that. I had the ”opportunity” (cough, cough..) to marry ultra rich a few times. It was never of any interest to me, because of one single factor, it came with responsibilities that would make me loose myself. Responsibilities that would drag me so far away from who I am, and what I stand for.

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My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

I enjoy working, and being paid well. However, I want to be in power over my time, while making money. In that order. Power over my time first, money second. That is freedom to me, it allows me to get enough sleep at night, eat healthy food, exercise, enjoy nature, and take pictures. All of those things makes me feel good, and able to be there for my loved ones. It’s not selfish, I want to be the best me I can, to be there longterm for those who matters the most to me.

In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure. 

– Malcolm X

I know exactly what I want. I can see it with the eyes of my mind. I’ve taken a wrong turn once, or twice, or a million times…I’m not perfect. What I do know, is that my time is my most valuable asset, and today I’m grateful for my time = freedom!

Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.

– Alan Laken

What makes you feel on top of your world? What do you value the most? How important is your time? Would an outsider understand what you value the most by spending a day with you? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Your past does not have to determine your future.  But only when you decide to break the cycle…..You’re not poor because you don’t have money.  You’re poor if you don’t have a dream. – Randy Gage

I hope that your week have been filled with good things. I would love it, if you would join my Gratitude Challenge! Write about something you are grateful for, tag your post MJP Gratitude Challenge, and share a link in the comments below. I always re-blog some of the posts that I see every week, so please show me your gratitude!

Have an amazing Saturday!

Yours,

Maria

PS. The photos in this post are from some of the highlights of my week. If you enjoyed this post, BE AWESOME and subscribe to more inspiration, after leaving your comment 😉

PS 2. The opinions in this post are my own. They are not paid, or sponsored in any way.

 

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How to Live a Minimalistic Lifestyle With Children

I appreciate to surround myself with beauty. Beauty to me is simplicity inspired by nature. My few carefully selected possessions are things that has a meaning for me; clothes that my daughter and I actually wear, memories from trips, gifts from friends, my camera, my computer, and photos. I am living a very minimalistic lifestyle, and I truly enjoy it. The things I own could easily be packed in a couple suit cases (if I don’t count the RV that I currently own, and live in.)

I love having few possessions. I love being picky. What I have is things I need. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about, or taking care of possessions I don’t use. I spend a lot of time outdoors with my daughter, and my camera. I live a free life. One day I want to own a piece of land, with a small house. A place where I can have a little garden. It would also reflect a minimalistic lifestyle, and the house would be built out of local materials. Until I find a place that my heart wants to call home, I intend to make the most out of this precious time with my daughter. ..and of course add memories, make friends, and collect beautiful photos to my online gallery.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not roughing it. I live very comfortably, my clothes and shoes are of high quality suitable for my outdoor needs, I mostly eat organic food, my camera and computer are really good ones. I choose quality over quantity. I know what I want, and I get it. I also know that sometimes there’s choices to make. Of course I could live in a really nice house, but then I would be stuck there. Since I don’t know where I want to live, I can’t justify getting in debt by buying a house. The RV I live in right now is extremely comfortable, and I custom made the inside for my daughter and myself. It’s warm enough for the winter, and cool enough for the summer. I throw out unnecessary furniture, and created a play/movie area, and upgraded the kitchen since we like to cook, and LOVE baking. It has warm water, shower, toilet, kitchen, bedroom, dining area, office area, and everything is inside a 33ft Montana Mountaineer with two slide-outs. Right now it’s perfect, but I don’t have any emotional attachment to it, and will likely sell the RV when it’s time for a new adventure. This has been the perfect way for us to enjoy the pleasures of a minimalistic lifestyle for the past year.

Welcome to my happy place!

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Kitchen area with plenty of cabinets, a fridge, a freezer, a microwave, a good stove, and a convection oven. We enjoy spending time creating good food in our kitchen. The kitchen is an important place for us.

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We enjoy baking our bread from scratch. These are ciabattas made with leftover oatmeal from our breakfast.

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My daughters play area. The couch is a fold-out bed where she sleeps at night.

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Of course there has to be a few beautiful items to give a home a personal touch. These are Dala Horses representing the region in Sweden where my family comes from.

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The corridor that connects the kitchen/office/playroom area with the bedroom. There’s sliding doors on both sides of the corridor, to make the restroom area (shower/sink/toilet,) a separate room. On the other side of the corridor is the bedroom.

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Featuring a queen size bed. There’s plenty of storage underneath the bed. There’s also a huge closet on the right side of the bed. The whole RV is bright with plenty of windows, and two doors (one connected to the kitchen, and one connected to the bedroom.) I love the design, it feels very spacious when you’re inside.

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All the time we spend playing outdoors sometimes makes my daughter want to crawl up in my bed in the middle of the day for a nap. I feel grateful that our free lifestyle allows that. Also gives me some time to edit photos, and upload them to my gallery. One of the reasons I wanted to get an RV in the first place was to travel, see more amazing places, spend time with my family, and expand my online photo gallery (=make my photography more profitable.)

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One last photo of the interior. This is the view laying on top of my bed, with the sliding mirror doors to the closet on my left side, and some space for more clothing/bedlinen/books in front of me. You can also see our organic sprouts, and mushrooms, that I move from window to window depending on the light. Right now our RV is parked on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. By growing some green ourselves we always have fresh vegetables to our meals.

Beside the counter, there’s the second door out. I rarely use this door. I don’t like getting the dirt from outside into my bedroom. However when I move the RV, it is convenient to open this door, to carry things in and out of the RV. Further to the right, outside the picture is the bathroom corridor that leads to the kitchen area. My daughter and I have been full time RV:ers for a year now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

I hope you’re having a great day!

/Maria

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Time For a Change

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This past winter have been interesting. To say that is definitely not an overstatement. In the beginning of the winter, in November to be more exact, I decided to leave California and move to Reno. I didn’t really know anyone in Reno. I just felt that I needed a change, and I’ve been very attracted to Nevada, after spending some time here in 2013. Part of it is the rugged wilderness of the high desert, that I really like. Then there is the wild horses, a big deal for me. I love watching them in the wild, and I had been dreaming about adopting one (which I have done now. It is exactly as magical as I imagined.) Then there is the honesty of the majority of the people I’ve met. They look you in the eye, and speak the truth. I really like that.

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Since I didn’t know exactly where in Nevada I wanted to be, I thought it was a good idea to bring my RV to Reno. In that way I would be in the right state, and able to figure out where to go as I went along. Compared to California, it’s cheap to live in Nevada. The photo opportunities in this amazing state are endless.

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I found a place to park my RV for free, in exchange for feeding/cleaning for four horses at a boarding facility. The work itself would not take up every much of my time, and my expenses for living would be zero. The boarding facility was not yet built, when I arrived. The owner of the place  kind of went loco during the winter, and turned his property in to a dump (literally.) From November to May it just went out of hand. It was hard to see, and I felt that I had to find a new solution.

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At the same time the owner at the boarding facility I boarded my horse at (a few blocks away from where I lived,) went through some hardship, and the atmosphere there was not beneficial for horses or humans. I almost felt that it was hard to breathe. I’m a very positive person, that enjoy to surround myself with positive people, and beautiful things (less is more.) The chaos around me was suffocating me. On top of it I got robbed of a (for me) substantial amount of money. I desperately needed a change!

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I saw an ad in a Facebook group I am a part of, written by a woman who needed some help with her horses. (The horses in the photos, is some of the horses at her ranch.) It was only a couple hours/day, and she was open to boarding a horse/parking an RV on her property. Perfect! I contacted her, she got back to me, I visited her ranch, and moved the next day! That was a month ago. I love our new home, my daughter loves it, my dog loves it, and my horse loves it. It was perfect timing. It’s a big ranch, I can see mountains in all directions when I step outside, and the people are great people. One day I want my own ranch, but until then this is perfect. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to get to know another part of Nevada. I still don’t know where I want ”my ranch”. I like too many places! My RV is great for this time of my life.

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I have watched every sunrise, and sunset since I moved here. I can finally breathe again. I feel that I am a better mother to my daughter. There’s endless opportunities to train my horse, and I also get to spend time every day with many other horses. I still have plenty of time, and opportunities to expand my photography business.

The energy has shifted. I love getting up in the morning, and I feel light, happy, excited, and content at the same time. Like one step closer towards my dream.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend! Cheers to the summer, and new beginnings!

/Maria

Joie De Vivre

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Playing with my mustang Rebel yesterday. Not a perfect photo, but such a happy one that I had to share it with you. Moment like this makes my heart beat faster. Rebel was born wild and free on the Virginia Range. He had the bad luck to loose his freedom, to see him happy makes my heart sing. I’m not trying to master him in any way. I desire a partnership, with boundaries of course. There has to be boundaries, for safety reason. Sometimes a horse has to be reminded about the boundaries, but a smart horse like Rebel knows how to have fun within the rules, that we have set for the time we spend together. Rebel has a lot of energy. It is positive, friendly energy, curious energy, that longs to explore, and learn new things. He is a great teacher for me. He teaches me to be present in the moment. I’m very grateful for every minute I get to spend with him. It makes me crave more time with him!

Happy Sunday!

/Maria