In one of my previous posts, I mentioned several folks and their blogs that I enjoy following on my journey of experimenting with simple living. One of them was Nina Nelson with Shalom Mama. I got a hold of Nina last week and had a few questions that I wanted to ask this veteran of simple and natural living.
How did you get into natural living? What made you want to start living differently? Or has this always been a way of life for you?
“I actually grew up on an herb farm but didn’t get interested in natural living until my early twenties when my husband and I decided to get out of debt. We were determine to cut costs wherever we could so I started researching and kept coming across recipes and tips that suggested natural living would save money. I made a few things and was hooked. Since then, I’ve become the “family hippie” and have embraced a simple, natural lifestyle.”
What is your favorite recipe of something that makes your life easier?
“Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I’d have to choose two. First is my healing balm (recipe here). We use it all the time for all sorts of things. With four kids someone is always getting an owie of some sort (plus I’m super clumsy), so it comes to my rescue quite a bit. Also, my calming balm. This is a godsend at night when everyone needs to simmer down (myself included) and get some restful sleep. You can find the recipe in my free ebook, Simple Family Wellness.”
If you could summarize your passion in a few sentences, what would you say?
“I’m passionate about living a pure & simple life and helping other people do the same. To me that means getting rid of the excess in life so you can focus on what really matters, while living as naturally as possible.”
What does a “day in the life of Nina” look like?
Hmmm, a bit scattered. :) I’ve struggled for years to create a schedule that works for us, but what I finally realized is that I just can’t do that. I buck anything that feels constricting, so instead a loose routine works best. And we definitely leave plenty of room for interruptions (friends dropping in, invitations to hang out, etc.) because that’s why we simplified our lives in the first place. Also, my husband is very involved and has an odd schedule (he’s a paramedic that gets to respond from home every other shift) so he’s super helpful with what can sometimes feel like complete chaos.
So here’s what it usually looks like:
– Wakeup, read devotions, figure out my top 3 things to do for the day
– Breakfast and Cleanup
– Get kids started with school (we home school)
– Check email and do some admin stuff for my biz while they’re working independently
– Lunch prep & lunch
– My work time (kids will have quiet time, continue school they’ve not done yet, go play at our awesome neighbor’s house or hang out with my husband if he’s home.
– Tea time (very important for me to take some time in the day to rest)
– Dinner prep, dinner, clean up
– Hang out with the family
– At some point in the evening I’ll do yoga, depending on what we’re doing
– Kid bed time (Woo hoo!!!)
– Watch Downton Abbey or something with my husband or play a game
What are some resources you would suggest for someone just starting out on a “natural” journey?
“First off, I’d say keep it as simple as possible. Choose one or two areas in your life you want to focus on and work on those for at least six weeks. So, for instance, you want to switch to a whole food diet, find a good resource and start implementing a few changes at a time. Once you’re comfortable with those, try some more. This is the best way to make a sustainable change that will last.
For me, the most helpful resources were blogs, but I have some favorite books as well:
- Your Real Food Journey by Trina Holden
- Simple Natural Health (this one’s mine – I’m a little biased)
- DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes by Heather of Mommypotamus
And here are my top 40 recipes for natural living.”
You lived in a bus with 5 other people for a time: tell us about that and where are you now?
I loved it and still long for it now. We had a lot more time to spend together, it was much easier to clean and my bath tub was amazing. :) However, now that we’re in a house again (we had to move closer to my husband’s work after he got a full-time job), I’m loving the opportunities we’ve had for hospitality.
Though my word of the year is sustainability, I easily could have chosen hospitality. Relationships have been an important part of our journey. And while I love the bus and living small, I feel so drawn to embrace the opportunity we have right now to easily welcome people into our space.
If people want to contact/follow you, where are you?
In case you happened to miss several of these listed about, here’s a list of FREEBIES on this lady’s site:
Also a few very affordable e-books
Village wise woman
I’ll leave you with this excerpt from Nina’s free e-book Simple Family Wellness:
…I’ve secretly always wanted to be the village wise woman.
That woman who nurtures and heals her family and teaches other women how to do the same. The woman who encourages others to learn and experiment but is always available as a resource. The woman who whips up a remedy or pours a cup of tea or lends a listening ear to the friend in need.
This world needs more wise women. More nurturers and healers spreading their love to their families and communities. All that love and wisdom, just spreading and spreading. And so, that is my mission. To call forth the family healers. To be an empowering resource. To listen and love. To create a community of wise women.”
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All pictures are from Shalommama.com