Tag Archives: sustainability

Sustainable Family: Starting out the way I mean to continue

01 Aug 17
Megan
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Our focus here at LiveKen is on living simple, sustainable and meaningful lives. As we begin this next stage in our life, we need to consider how we can continue to live by our values and become a sustainable family.

What is a Sustainable Family?

As we defined our values clearly, we need to define what we mean by a sustainable family before we can become one. A sustainable family may be something different for you than it is for me.

Even within a family, each person’s definition may be different. I am keen to minimise the impact we have on the environment. E is more interested in how we will manage physically and mentally as a family. Obviously, both of these are important aspects of sustainable living. However, sometimes an action that achieves one of these goals may clash with the other. As with any joint decision, it’s important to find balance. Compromises can allow everyone to be happy.

Having said that, here is my definition of a sustainable family:

A sustainable family is one that minimises their negative impact on the environment, while building strong community ties and maintaining their mental, physical and financial health.

For us this has meant:

  • agreeing that we will try the ‘environmentally friendly or sustainable’ options but will stop if they negatively impact my health in any way. An example of this is cloth nappies. We are starting with them, but if we find it’s too much work we’ll look at alternatives.
  • taking time for ourselves before the baby arrives to go out for a nice meal, a movie, or some other event.
  • accepting hand-me-downs or buying things secondhand.
  • asking for gift vouchers for a nappy wash service if people want to get us gifts. This allows us to minimise the impact of using cloth during the early weeks when I’m recovering.

Share Your World Week 17

28 Apr 16
Megan
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one comments

The No Buy Challenge is over, but Share Your World continues each week.

This week I have made one big purchase (new undies from Lunapads) but other than that I’ve stuck to my No Buy guidelines even though the challenge is ended. I knew before the end of the challenge that I needed to get new undies so it was a planned purchase. I think I’m going to keep trying to think through purchases for at least a day before making them if they’re over $50, if it’s less than $50 I’ll consider for at least 1 minute before deciding to make a purchase if it’s not an essential based on my No Buy guidelines. This should hopefully avoid any impulse purchases.

Share Your World – Week 17

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? 

I tend to use a pen, just because I don’t need to worry about sharpening. However, just because I usually use a pen, I’d actually prefer pencil because being left handed I always end up with ink all over my hand whenever I write.

What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles?

I’m not really a big jigsaw person but I do a combination of word, maze and numeric puzzles on a regular basis.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? 

I don’t really have a preference, or at least it constantly changes over time… I prefer either LONG long hair or pixie-style hair. At the moment, I’m trying to grow my hair out from a pixie cut over a year ago. It’s currently to my shoulders.

List five some of your favorite blogs.

I read quite a few blogs. At the moment I’d say my favourites, in no particular order, are:

  • Treading My Own Path.  Lindsay writes about living and eating sustainably, minimalism, plastic free and zero waste.
  • Baby Steps Going Green. Candice has been blogging for almost a year now. She shares the simple steps she’s taking towards a more sustainable life. Like many sustainability bloggers at the moment, there’s a strong focus on zero waste and minimalism.
  • A Southern Celiac.  Brittany lives with Celiac disease and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She’s currently pregnant and has also suffered from Myasthenia Gravis throughout her pregnancy. I love hearing about her life with her husband Justin and the many animals they live with.
  • My Journey Thru ME. Jess writes about her life with ME/CFS. She shares what helps her and how she manages to pace.
  • Counting My Spoons. Julie provides information and inspiration for those of us living with Fibromyalgia.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

In the last week, I’m grateful for having the energy to help my friends and family with their moves, for a long weekend and more time with E.

In the next week, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I don’t have much scheduled so I can take each day as it comes.

Share Your World Week 16 and a sourdough update

21 Apr 16
Megan
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2 comments

I was going to share how my first attempt at making sourdough went on Tuesday, but that post ended up so long already I decided to save my update until today. It’s also time for Share Your World!

Sourdough Update

Last week I let you know about the starter that I had made for homemade sourdough. I decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer to see whether I could eat it so on Thursday I began the long process of making my first 2 loaves of sourdough bread.

I followed the process used by the Zero Waste Chef but using flours I had at home (a white bread mix).

On the Thursday night I made my leaven from 200g of flour, 200g water and 35 grams of my starter that had been fed that morning. I covered it with a damp tea towel and a plate and put it in the oven (which I’d warmed up to the lowest temperature and then turned off) overnight.

At the same time I mixed the bread mix (1kg) with 750g of water and left it on the shelf covered with a damp tea towel and a plate.

The next morning (Friday) I combined half the leaven with the flour mix and put the bowl in a sink of warm water with a damp tea towel over it. After leaving it for 20 minutes I mixed in a little more flour mixed with water and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and linseed). From that point I left it in the sink for around 4 hours turning the mixture every 30 – 45 minutes and topping up or changing the water if it got cold.

The dough after mixing the flour, leaven and seeds together.

The dough after mixing the flour, leaven and seeds together.

After that rising period (it didn’t actually rise very much for me) I tipped it onto a silicon mat on the shelf with lots of extra flour and, after a quick fold to try and get it to stay in a reasonable sized blob in the middle of the mat, left it for around 20 minutes under a damp tea towel. I then used some more flour to shape my loaves. I made one round loaf which went into a towel and flour lined bowl to proof over night and a sandwich loaf which I proofed in the oiled baking pan. Once shaped, the loaves were covered with a damp tea towel and put in the fridge until the next morning (Saturday).

Bread having an overnight proof in the fridge (sandwich loaf on top shelf, round loaf on the bottom shelf)

Bread having an overnight proof in the fridge (sandwich loaf on top shelf, round loaf on the bottom shelf)

The loaves were in the fridge for around 18 hours. I took them out when I put the oven on to preheat to 200C. I have since worked out I didn’t set my temperatures high enough so I’ll be trying hotter next time (250-300C).

Once the oven was preheated I tipped the round loaf into a large corningware dish (I don’t own a dutch oven which is what is recommended) and put both loaves in the oven. I have since worked out I should’ve preheated the corningware dish in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven...

Ready to go in the oven…

I baked the for 30 minutes before turning down the heat (to 180C), turning on the fan, taking off the lid and baking for another 30 minutes. Again I’d keep the heat higher next time.

The finished product was actually slightly undercooked (thus the recommendations above about hotter temperatures, etc) and the round loaf didn’t really rise but they both tasted delicious. The round loaf was gone by the end of Sunday after lunch with Rach Saturday, and we’re half way through the sandwich loaf (the other half was frozen).

The finished products (should've cooked hotter to get a darker crust, more rise in the round loaf, and cooked right through)

The finished products (should’ve cooked hotter to get a darker crust, more rise in the round loaf, and cooked right through)

The obligatory crumb shot of my round loaf. The sandwich loaf rose a lot higher but only had little bubbles throughout it (none of the big bubbles like this).

The obligatory crumb shot of my round loaf. The sandwich loaf rose a lot higher but only had little bubbles throughout it (none of the big bubbles like this).

Over the last week I’ve had sourdough pancakes twice (once during the week and once on Sunday) and had a large serve of the bread on Saturday, and smaller serves Sunday and Monday. So far, I have not had any adverse reactions. I’m hoping this means that I’m ok with the bread as it tasted delicious but I’m still taking it slowly to see how I go and will not just gorge on it.

Share Your World Week 16

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?  Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected?

I wear glasses. My issue is more that the muscles are tired and sore so my glasses do some of the work of pulling my eyes into line so I don’t see double. I feel that I’d most likely react to contacts as I react to almost every other thing I put too close or in my body.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Yellow! I’ve been able to do more than normal this last week and haven’t had any major crash days (red light days) but it’s been over 3 years since I last had a green light day.

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

School was OK. Academically I did well and didn’t struggle too much but I struggled a lot with the social aspects and with feelings of not fitting in.

Would you rather take a 1 or 2 week vaction with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice?

It depends on where we are going… In general we like to do holidays where we plan things out for ourselves. This allows me to pace things and rest when I need to. Organised tours are usually quite busy and full days of activity but they are useful if you’re going to places where it might not be safe to do things by yourself. I know that when we were considering an African Safari (before I got sick) we were looking at doing an organised tour for safety.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful that I’ve had the energy to do 2 workshops in a row! On Sunday I ran a fun workshop with children to make wearable art out of recycled materials as part of a ShareFest (like a swap meet) at the local Council.

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I then ran a productive workshop with Elected Members of another Council Monday night to progress the development of their Environment Management Plan.  Apart from having a major struggle getting up Monday morning and having to take the first half of the day slowly I didn’t have too much of an increase in symptoms from these two events.

In this next week I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens. I don’t have too much booked in for the week so I’m going to take each day as it comes and see where I go.

turning thirty

Turning Thirty: Reflections, Visions, Plans

11 Jun 15
Megan
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I turned 30 last weekend.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter would be aware that my husband’s 30th was only a few weeks earlier. We decided to do a joint party on my birthday (it was Saturday) and invited friends and family to join us. We had an amazing day with close to 50 people joining us to celebrate.

I put a lot of effort into planning the party so that it would be aligned with my values and life goals.  By that I mean that I attempted to plan the party to be as close to zero waste as possible, and to be focused mainly on spending time with family and friends.

I created a large stack of cloth napkins which did get used, however when the cake was cut paper napkins were still used to distribute it.
cloth napkinsThe napkins I made were from leftover material in my sewing collection, mainly the scrappy bits too small for anything else.

Most of the food was homemade finger food with cocktail pies, pasties and sausage rolls purchased from the local bakery to supplement the food supply.

Reusable and compostable We used as many reusable items as possible and what wasn’t reusable I aimed to make compostable (cornstarch cups, bamboo plates, paper straws).

Although I did my best to pace myself in the days leading up to and the day of the party, it was still a much busier week than I would normally have and I have spent the last few days recovering. I’m starting to feel better now (Wednesday – 4 days after the party) but pain levels and fatigue levels have both been rather high the last few days.

Before I go further with this post, I just want to apologise for the large gap between posts lately. Both Janelle and I have been very busy working to put together the Back to Basics Workshop which will be starting in the next few weeks (You can still join if you’re interested).

Turning Thirty: Reflections

Large life changes are always times to reflect on where you have come from and consider where you want to go moving forward. Turning 30 is one of those times.

Looking back over my life I have always had pretty clear ideas of where I though I would be by the time I turned 30. Although some of these things have come true, my life is nothing like what I had imagined (as you’d expect).

My childhood and teens were spent making friends, spending time outside and getting to know the world around me. As I moved into my 20’s it became more about getting to know myself and becoming clearer about where I wanted to head.

During my 20’s I married my long term boyfriend, we bought our first house together and moved in, and got our own pets.

Early 20’s were focused on finishing study and starting my career as well as focusing on my health by exercising regularly at the gym.

Late 20’s my vision of myself, my career, and my health all changed when chronic pain and fatigue became a part of my life. My goals had to change to fit into my new reality. I could no longer be the ‘gym junkie’, the active outdoors person I was before…

Turning Thirty: Visions

Although part of my vision has stayed the same, I still want a family and to work in community engagement and sustainability,  most of it has now been modified.

How do I see my 30’s going?

I will have a family (biological or adopted) and will be working in community engagement and sustainability field by consulting and providing services through this site.

I will find balance between work, social, and me time. This will include time for meditation and rest and some form of exercise (at this point walking and very basic yoga).

By finding balance and pacing well, I will recover to a point where I can enjoy travelling with my husband and family.

Our life will be as simple, sustainable and meaningful as possible.

Turning Thirty: The Plan

To make my vision come true I will need a plan. The plan is to answer the following questions:

What would make my/our life meaningful?

I’ve already begun answering this question by completing the 100 Goal Challenge last year, but through participating in our Back to Basics Workshop I’m going to review those goals and reassess what is meaningful to me.

I will also have discussions with my husband about what is meaningful to him so that we can make our future plans together.

How can I simplify my life?

A simple lifestyle is key to living well especially with chronic illness. By identifying areas in my life that I can simplify I should create more room to do the things that I meaningful.

Steps I’m already taking towards this are:

  • Hiring a cleaner. Over the past few months I had been doing the cleaning myself again. To begin with I managed to keep up and do a good job, but I’ve found that as I’ve begun adding other meaningful activities into my life (like work), I no longer have the energy to do the cleaning as well. For the cost of $75 a fortnight it is worth having someone come in and clean for us.
  • Simplifying my wardrobe. I’m finally getting to a point where I’m happy with my wardrobe. Through my decluttering efforts I’ve removed over half the items in my wardrobe that were not comfortable, didn’t suit my lifestyle, or were worn out and stained. My next post I’m going to share in detail what is left in my wardrobe.

How can we be more sustainable?

Because sustainability is one of my key values, this is a question that I’m constantly asking myself. I’m attempting to move us from single use and disposable items towards ones that can be reused over and over. Buying quality items that last (instead of large quantities of items) is also key to aiming for a more sustainable house.

This area is one that causes a bit of tension in our house though as my husband doesn’t necessarily understand my strong focus on this value. I’m not saying he doesn’t believe we should do our part to help the environment, it’s just that he thinks I take things too far a lot of the time. For example, he rolls his eyes each week when I take out my keep cup to use when we get takeaway drinks, and he doesn’t feel comfortable using my cloth bags for vegetables or asking the butcher and baker to use my containers (instead of plastic bags).

Another part of being sustainable is to be financially secure/independent/whatever term you’d like to use. This is something that I’m spending a lot of time researching at the moment. Security is one of my husband’s biggest values and so making sure we have enough money to live the lifestyle we want to and achieve our goals is very important to us.

Financially speaking we want to make sure we have enough saved for retirement (so we don’t have to rely on a pension that may not be around), we want to be able to travel and buy nice things when we want to (we have a large lego collection, good quality camera and camping gear, and my husband maintains his bikes), and we want to be debt free.

In general we are doing well in this area (our mortgage is our only debt) but, given I’m pretty much not working at the moment (I don’t bring in any regular salary), I’m not having money put into Super for me and we basically have to live off my husband’s salary. To me setting ourselves a financial plan for the next 2-5 years and belong is a key step to achieving our goal to live a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Next week I’ll be sharing my simple, sustainable, and (almost) minimal wardrobe with you.

Do you have a clear vision for the future and a plan to get there?

Have you got a financial plan in place to help you achieve your goals?

 

Local Food

Local Food, earth hour and pain management…

19 Mar 15
Megan
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Today’s post is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s been a while since I’ve done a post so I wanted to share a bit about what I’ve been through the last few months plus bring your attention to our focus for the month of March, Local Food.

Pain Management Update

As many of you would be aware, I have several chronic illnesses which mean I live in pretty much constant pain and exhaustion/fatigue. Over the last few months I’ve been doing as much as I can to reduce the impact these conditions have on my life and have been working towards a part time return to work in the near future. This has included seeing a Pain Management Clinic, and two pelvic pain specialists.

Pain Clinic Fatigue

After my appointments at the Pain Clinic I was completely wiped out.

To be honest, I’m not sure I got much out of the pain clinic. It was another reinforcement that I’m doing the right things in terms of pacing, maintaining what exercise I can, and not continuing medications that aren’t doing anything to help. I was hoping, however, to get some new ideas out of it and that didn’t happen.

 

The pelvic pain specialists have been a little more promising with suggestions of additional/different diagnoses that have potential treatments and a strong focus on pain management for my pelvic floor. It appears my pelvic floor muscles need to learn to relax. Unlike other women, who generally need to learn how to tighten and utilise their pelvic floor, I need to learn to relax the muscles and avoid all core body exercises. I have been given a CD to help with relaxation and various stretches and tools to teach my muscles to relax.

Local Food

This month our focus is on local food and supporting our local produce growers.

Why have we chosen this focus?

Earth Hour 2015 on Saturday 28 March, is focused on supporting local farmers through choosing and purchasing local products. We’re broadening this a bit further and considering the most local of products, home grown…

Local Food - Limes

Our lime tree and our compost bin (behind it).

In our garden we have a lime, an orange, a mulberry and a nectarine tree. We also have a couple of rosemary bushes and two garden beds in which we grow produce. I admit to not being the best gardener and this has been exacerbated with my illness as I don’t have much energy to be able to spend much time in the garden. Despite this we have successfully had some vegetables and herbs growing in our garden for the last 3 years. Usually it’s just herbs such as parsley, oregano and chives. Each year we attempt other vegetables based on what my father-in-law provides us (he grows seedlings for us) and we usually have some successes and some failures.

Local Food - Mulberries

Mulberries straight off our tree

In the last year we’ve had success with broccolini, spring onions, tomatoes, spinach and silverbeet as well as our regular herbs. We currently have our first ever pumpkin growing (rather late in the season) so we’ll wait to see if that is a success as well. We haven’t had much success with zucchini this year.

Obviously we don’t grow enough yet to be able to avoid the shops completely, so when shopping we aim to get local whenever possible. Next time Janelle will be discussing the way in which their house receives it’s local produce delivered to their door. I looked into the same method, however I didn’t have much luck as they don’t deliver to our area so we just do our best with our local stores.

Why eat local food?

There are many benefits to eating local food.

Local food is usually a more sustainable food choice as you are eating fresh, in season produce that hasn’t had to travel far to get to you. If you grow it yourself you know exactly what has been used to grow it and know there are no chemicals being used. If you purchase from a local supplier, you are more likely to be able to find out exactly how it’s been grown as well. You are either buying direct and can ask questions, or if you are really interested you can take the time to visit or call the suppliers.

An additional benefit of buying and eating local food is that you are supporting your local economy, ensuring that people within your area are employed.

Do you eat local food? If so, how do you get it?

We encourage you to consider participating in Earth Hour this year by enjoying local produce and by switching off your lights on Saturday 28 March between 8:30 and 9:30 pm in your local time.

Simplifying Your Life: Decluttering Your Wardrobe

22 Jan 15
Janelle
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2 comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post has been in our backlog for several months. We apologise for the delay in sharing this part of our journey.

Last year (28 August 2014) Megan talked about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we hope you have taken some of our ideas and been inspired.

This week I’ll be talking to you about decluttering your house and especially your wardrobe, which I have recently undertaken. I’m fully aware not that many people enjoy the idea of cleaning out their wardrobe and I can tell you honestly I have never been the biggest fan myself.

However when you can no longer easily fit anything back into your wardrobe without waging a battle with your clothes and are contemplating buying more storage space I think everyone would say it’s probably time.

Now my partner and myself had decided to clean out and simplify our wardrobe a little while ago and being much better than me – he had more than finished doing his stuff before I even started mine. But I make myself feel better by saying that I helped him do his side first – even if my help was minimal.

I find if you are ever dragging your feet to do anything – like I was – I find some music helps you get into the groove- so I suggest putting on anything that makes you want to dance! Two of my favourites at the moment are; “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Ready” by AJR and while I know that many people would think my choices are a little lame I can’t help but want to dance and sing along to them like an idiot.

But enough about avoiding. As Megan said last week through decluttering your physical environment you’ll feel calmer, more organised and have made your life simpler. So after convincing myself I had a huge task ahead of me and should wait for a free afternoon or morning to begin – thus putting off staring for longer – I randomly walked into my wardrobe one evening and just started.

And while I thought I would need come back when I had more time, I said to myself why not move out some of the items of clothing I knew I didn’t want to keep while I had a few minutes. Half an hour later I had stormed through more than half my wardrobe and had a significant pile of empty coat hangers and a large pile of clothing that I no longer needed.

I decided to start at one side of my wardrobe and work my way along as I went, meaning I could stop and come back at any stage. However, many people think taking everything out onto your bed is a better way to start. This way you have to go through everything before you put it back into your wardrobe and nothing can be missed or left to another day.

But it doesn’t really matter what way you start just that you’ve started, find a way that works for you. If its everything out at once or different sections at a time.

For us, once we had separated into keeping or not keeping we then further separated into another two different piles for the clothes we no longer needed. One for the bin and one to donate and recycle. Anything that was not really recyclable, broken or about to fall apart ended up in the bin pile and anything that was still good quality but either didn’t fit or was something that would be rarely or never worn again went into the recycling pile.

I think it is also important at this stage to mention that you don’t necessarily need to give away your unwanted clothes. They could be used for other things round the house, you could take them to a clothes swap and potentially pick up some new items yourself, or see if any of your friends or family members would appreciate them – this is especially true for growing children. I remember many times getting hand-me-downs from my cousins that were a few years older than me and it is a good way to save money, recycle and re-use clothes.

At the end of our wardrobe spring clean-up we ended up with four full garbage bags of clothes to donate to our local Salvos store. This is a reasonably large amount but I decided to be brutal with my selection, getting rid of anything that I couldn’t remember wearing recently. You don’t have to do this. Instead, if you are unsure about something pack it away for 3-6 months and see if you need it – if you do use it keep, it if not it might be time to find it a new home.

Another popular way of sorting out what you use and not use is to put all of your coat hangers around backwards and as you use what is hanging on them put them back in your wardrobe the other way round. In six months or so you will find out what you no longer wear and once again it might be time to let some else use and appreciate it.

Another good suggestion to try out is Project 333. This is essentially the idea that you have 33 items of clothing for 3 months of the year and is all about keeping things simple. Even if you don’t give it a full go it’s definitely worth a read.

Decluttering your wardrobe is a great place to start and I am very glad I have finally finished mine, it is very nice to have clothes in your wardrobe that you want and like. Donating clothes also makes you feel like you haven’t wasted anything and your once loved items of clothes can find a new home and help someone else out.

I am now going to move onto other areas of my house and start to declutter them also. Starting with my bathroom cupboard, but not just decluttering the cupboard I want to simplify and cut back on the number of products and chemicals I use on my face and skin and I look forward to sharing it with you all on this journey.

Have you decluttered your wardrobe or any other rooms in your house?

Let us know how you went and if there is anything you suggest we try.

Live Your Life

Where are we going? Your Life Journey Starts Now

21 Aug 14
Janelle
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Everyone talks about doing more of this and less of that and while we mean what we say when we talk about these ideas they turn more into ‘if I could I would’ than actual plans to move towards achieving these goals.

The key in moving these ideas and plans forward is to identify what it is that you really want, think about where you are at and then to identify where you want to be. This is what Megan and myself have been talking about for the past few weeks.

We have been talking about our journeys towards simple, sustainable and meaningful lives but where does this fit into our lives and where are we heading?

Simple

It sounds straight forward doesn’t it? I want to lead a simple life. However this is far from easy to achieve.

We all have commitments and obligations which take us away from what we would necessarily like to be doing. This is a part of the world and unfortunately there are few of us that have the luxury of solely doing what we want.

This is not however what leading a simple life means.

While we are still at the start of our journey and have much to learn, we want to spend our time doing what is important and fulfilling to us, and want you to do the same. This is different for every person but the steps towards this are the same.

Have you identified what is important to you?

We have and now we are starting our journey towards our goals. This, for us is starting with decluttering our lives. By identifying what is important to us we can focus on these things and everything else can take a back bench.

Focus on what makes you happy and start making choices and decisions that lead you there.

We have also began to declutter our lives by donating or disposing of physical items in our lives. When was the last time you looked around your house and thought every item I own I use regularly? I haven’t.

Are there items in house collecting dust? Maybe it’s time to find them a new home. Doing this also creates more space, less to clean and simplifies your living.

Does your house have too many things distracting you in your own house or is it a peaceful place that you go home to and relax in?

By physically organising yourself and your belongings, you are determining what is important to you and putting it center stage.

This is what living simply is about for us, identifying what is important and what is taking up time in our lives and then moving towards what makes us happy.

Sustainable

Sustainability is a very over used word at the moment and is at the top of many debates around the world.

While we do agree that the sustainability of the planet should not be ignored, when we talk about living a sustainable life we mean closer to home, we mean each of us individually living sustainably.

Do you consider the life you lead to be sustainable?

Do you think about the impact of your decisions or do you live your life impulsively and whimsically?

Living sustainably does not just mean the environment.

[checklist style=”green”]

  • Are living within your means?
  • Are you financially sustainable or do you constantly blow your budget and max out the credit cards?
  • Do you maintain sustainable relationships in your life?

[/checklist]

Both Megan and myself are working towards sustainable lifestyles. We are trying to incorporate sustainable aspects in all categories of our lives.

By defining if physical items are wants or needs when we want to purchase things. This is not meaning we are going without, just becoming more conscious about what we are buying, where we are buying and why we are buying items.

Do you shop locally or support local business?

Do you recycle? With a little research in your area you can usually find a better place for items than the bin and you will feel better about having helped to recycle.

We are also starting a veggie patch of our own which we hope to grow and expand.

Working towards a sustainable lifestyle is not an overnight decision and will take time to get used to as it involves changing habits and your thought processes.

We look forward to sharing with you our journey and all the bumps along the way as we journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Meaningful

Leading a meaningful life involves identifying what you value and cherish in your life and working towards this. People who lead happy and fulfilled undertake activities that are important to them and have a sense of direction and self-awareness. Once again this will be different for every person.

By working towards simplifying our lives we have determined what is important to us and decided to focus on putting our energy into these activities making our lives more meaningful to us.

If you live and organise your life around what is important to you, you will as a by-product start to lead a meaningful life however big or small you dream.

No one wants life to pass them by and when you start to do things important to you start to live and what you do has meaning. Do you get out of bed in the morning and feel excited about what you are going to do for the day?

Next week we will be talking about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and how we have started our journeys.

What are your thoughts on how you could begin a simple, sustainable, meaningful life today?

Where are we now? - We're at the start

Where are we now? The start of the LiveKen Journey

14 Aug 14
Megan
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If you’ve been following us over the last few weeks you’d know that we are working towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we are wanting to share this journey with you.

About a month ago Janelle and I shared with you where we both came from and what our previous experiences had been, but where are we now?

What have we been doing and where are we going?

To put it bluntly, we’re at the start of this journey…

We have begun the research and experimentation we feel we need to do to work out the answers to the questions:

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  • Where are we coming from?
  • Where are we wanting to get?
  • What do we need to do to get there?
  • Where are we going to find support and guidance?

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This research includes reading inspirational stories (see the links below in – Where are we getting our inspiration?) and reading books and articles that describe what it is we are trying to achieve and how others have achieved it.

Although we’ve begun researching and taking actions, we are still at the very early stages of identifying what a Simple, Sustainable and Meaningful life means for us. We are trying to work out how we are going to achieve our goals while taking into consideration the other people in our lives; our partners, our friends, and our extended family.

We will be working to clearly define our goals over the next month or so and will be sharing this process with you here on the blog.

As mentioned above, we have already started taking action to move towards the lifestyle that we want:

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  • We’ve begun decluttering our homes and our schedules.
  • We’ve almost completed the illustrations (just need colour) for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book. The first step in our Foggy Frog Campaign for invisible illnesses.
  • We’ve started being more sustainable, with homemade cleaning supplies and a veggie garden set up.
  • We’ve begun identifying our expenditure for our budgets so that we can have a clear picture of where we are starting from.

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Where are we getting our inspiration?

I think that for as long as I’ve been in the workforce I’ve had a niggling desire to make these changes, but the final push for me was my chronic illnesses.

Since being ill, I have been inspired by many people including Leo from ZenHabits, Courtney from Be More with Less, and (more recently on a financial note) Mr Money Moustache

Both Janelle and I also receive inspirational posts regularly from Mind, Body, Green.

We are inspired to follow our passions and ignite our dreams so that we can live the best life we can and make a positive impact on the world.

Our background is in environmental science and sustainability is one of our strongest values, but the journey we are on is one that anyone can take and that can be adapted to suit your own dreams and values.

Where are we wanting to go?

This is something we will answer next week, when we begin to question what a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is for us.

We’d love to hear what you see it as for you as well.

LiveKen sets Targets for 2014/15 – Looking Forward

31 Jul 14
Megan
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one comments

Over the last few weeks Janelle and I have been having a think about what we’d really like to achieve in the next 12 months and how that can fit in with things here at LiveKen. As a result we’ve set ourselves and LiveKen targets for 2014/15.

LiveKen Targets for 2014/15 (as a business)

We  obviously want to make sure LiveKen is a viable (read profitable) business.

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  • Increase readership here at LiveKen. It’s a new site so we don’t expect miracles but we do want to bring in new people who are interested in what we have to say.
  • Publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Picture Book.
  • Raise a minimum $1,500 through donations towards the Foggy Frog Campaign, which I’ll go into in further detail in future posts. $1,500 would allow us to develop a educational workshop for schools about life with an invisible chronic illness.
  • Look at options for adding adverts (looking into Google Adsense) to the site and for joining affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates.

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We will be making sure that with each of these options we align with the LiveKen values. For example, through affiliate links we will only recommend products that we have reviewed ourselves and believe will be helpful.

On top of this we would like to develop a small support/action group, beginning with our friends, that focuses on simple, sustainable and meaningful living.

This group is still in it’s infancy (currently comprises of the 2 of us) but we have so far come up with the following activities that we will be involved in:

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  • Shared gardening areas. We have space in our garden to have a veggie patch while Janelle doesn’t, so we will be sharing gardening tasks and produce from the garden.
  • Sharing practical tips for living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.
  • Homemade cleaning supplies. We’ve started with laundry detergent.

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Shared Veggie Beds

One of two veggie beds already set up in the garden. There is space for more when we feel confident looking after them.

Our (Joint) Personal Targets for 2014/15

In our personal lives, we will be working together to set up budgeting for both of our households and working to declutter and simplify our own lives and houses.  We will also be working with our partners to really determine what is meaningful to each of us so that we can work out how to focus our energy there.

We will continue to share our journey here on the LiveKen blog in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Thanks to my chronic illnesses, the targets I have for myself may seem almost insignificant to those of you who are healthy, but for those of you out there who are facing the difficulties of living with chronic illness here are my personal goals for 2014/15: [checklist style=”green”]

  • Continue to work on finding a balance in life and work towards returning to work.
  • Build up to being able to walk/ride at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Complete my current unit for my University degree (last assignment due next week) and then focus on completing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment by April 2015.
  • Go on a wonderful holiday with my husband to somewhere we can just relax on the beach for a week or two.

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So, there you have it. Those are our aspirations and targets for this financial year. Next week we’ll be sharing what we hope you will get out of joining us on this adventure in 2014/15.

Until then, use the comment box below to let us know what you think of our goals and targets here at LiveKen.

What targets are you aiming for in 2014/15?

What would you like to see more of here on LiveKen?

Travelling to a simple, sustainble meaningful life – Janelle’s Journey So Far

23 Jul 14
Janelle
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As Megan said last week everyone’s journey through life is different and people travel through stages of their lives at different times and ages. This week I’m going to share with you some of my journey so far and what I’m hopeful for in the future.

By both of us sharing our stories and journeys to a simple, sustainable and meaningful lives we aim to open ideas and doors for you along the way as you move forward and grow with us.

 In The Beginning

From a young age I was taught the meaning and importance of friends and family in my life. Every birthday and holiday for as long as I can remember was always celebrated with friends and family – whether I wanted to be there or not. This has translated into my adult life and I have a high regard for friends and family and prefer people’s company over many things even if we are doing nothing special.

I grew up with my parents and sister and while we never wanted for much, we were never handed anything just because we desired it and were not spoiled. I still remember the first thing I purchased with my pocket money because it was given with a lesson in monetary value. There was a new Barbie doll out that I wanted – a mermaid one if memory serves me. I had to wait for a whole week after I had saved up enough money before I was allow to purchase it – which is a long time for any child. I was also sat down by my father and talked to about what this would mean. He told me that if I really wanted it I could have it because it was my money, but I then wouldn’t be able to buy anything else because the money would be spent. I was also asked if I needed it as I already had a few dolls. Now, I did end up getting that Barbie but I valued it more than any previous toy and whenever I purchase anything these days I ask myself these similar questions. Do I need or want it? What am I unable to have if I purchase it? And most importantly why do I want to buy it and is this reasonable?

I learnt through my childhood that it is not money or consumerism that will make you happy – it is the simple things in life that will bring you happiness and meaningfulness.

 Education and Entering the Workforce

Towards the end of my schooling I realised I had a passion for the environment and biology – the functions and processes of the natural world fascinated me. So this is where I focused my energy at university, where I also developed a keen interest in sustainability. At the end of my studies I wished to continue my interests in sustainability, environment and how these interact with people and governments; however this did not happen.

I did not end up getting a job in the areas that initially interested me and I did not wish to study any further, leaving me in need of finding a job. I ended up getting a full time job in the health industry where I have learned many new things yet it is not where my passion lies. I was originally happy just to be earning money, paying bills and got swept up in life.

 Where I Am Now

Today I am still in the same company with a slightly role and while not unhappy in life, I have drifted further than I had realised away from what I wanted for and from my life. Over the past year I have found I am not healthy, I have let many things just slide past me and come to the conclusion that I want to change.

I am not ill but my body has been sending me messages that I have not really been paying attention to. I have been swept up in life and while not unhappy, I do not feel satisfied or content with the life I lead. I have been friends with Megan for many years now having originally meet through our partners. We found that we have very similar interests, passions and even studied some of the same subjects at university, which has naturally lead to a close friendship. When I heard she was looking to do this website about living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life I thought this is exactly what I have been trying to find. While not entirely sure at first whether I had time to help her, I came to the conclusion it is time to start making time to begin leading the life I want to lead.

 Moving Forward

Now I’m excited about the future and changing the way I live my life, as I journey with you to a simple, meaningful and sustainable life. I am looking forward to setting goals and challenges as I learn what will work for me and what doesn’t while continuing to keep true to my core values. I want to make my life more meaningful and a life that makes me want to jump out of bed and face the day. I am looking forward to taking this journey with you.

Next week we are going to talk about what we mean, in more depth, by simple, sustainable and meaningful lives and what we hope to achieve over the next year, in the following week we’ll share what we hope YOU will gain from following us and joining with us on this journey.