* Jedd Thoughts, Intentional Living

An Introduction to Tiny House Living: Pictures

So we’ve been living in a tiny house now for the past week-and-a-half and many of you have been asking,  “what does it look like?” and “how has it been living in a smaller space?” It’s been awesome. (Note: It’s not our tiny house. We are just housesitting and dog-sitting for a couple of weeks while our good friend is off on an adventure.) Continue reading “An Introduction to Tiny House Living: Pictures”

* Jedd Thoughts

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Birthday-Selfie-Jedd-and-Michelle
a recent selfie from Mai Châu, Vietnam

Every year I write a birthday post reflecting on something I’ve learned in the past year about myself (and thoughts about getting older). It’s a great way to see where I’ve been, who I am today, and hopefully reflects the person I am working towards becoming.  


I’ve always been a self-conscious person. Continue reading “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

Available for Family

DSC08973
Apparently I have a twin (he is my real brother, btw)

When you tell people you are going to Hawaii, immediately people think: vacation. Even if you are from Hawaii and now live elsewhere- when you return, people think you are on a break, enjoying your vacation. This trip was not a vacation (though we tried to have some fun – surfing, hiking, eating, etc…). What this trip was really about was family.

DSC08941
Working on the condo

When my parents told me they were going to move to Japan, I knew we had the time and flexibility in our schedule to help them. For the last month or so, Continue reading “Available for Family”

* Jedd Thoughts, Intentional Living

The Thief of Joy

Taking a break from Facebook and Linkedin
I think I need to take a break from Facebook and LinkedIn.

I have a problem. The other day I found myself spending a couple hours browsing through friends and acquaintances’ FB timelines and Linkedin profiles.

Someone had a baby. Another person is traveling somewhere awesome. They are eating something that looks really good. He got a promotion. She’s doing something cool. They are hanging out with each other.

Seems all standard stuff right?

For the most part, social media is a pretty handy tool. It helps us stay somewhat connected and aware of what others are doing. But what happens when we start to look at other peoples’ lives and start to compare them to our own?

Therein lies my problem.

I’m sure this is an issue many of us face. It just so happens that I am Continue reading “The Thief of Joy”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

Never Too Old

Wendell and Blanche Cake

After living in Hawaii for over 40+ years my parents said goodbye yesterday and moved to Japan.

What’s amazing about this story is that if you knew my parents, you would know that this is a big deal. When most people at their age are trying to enjoy retirement, my parents packed their suitcases (let’s be fair: they shipped a bunch of their things ahead of time), said goodbye to their family, friends, and well-established lives and headed out for a new adventure.

Wendell and Blanche
Mom & Dad

My parents are what you would call “experienced,” honored citizens. They don’t move as fast as they used to and have both admitted that traveling is difficult. A lot of times when I ask my Dad how he’s doing, he replies in his deep, low voice, “I’m tired.”

They have always been that quiet, simple couple that enjoyed watching television and movies together at home rather than going out. I was extremely happy when they flew to Oregon for Michelle and I’s wedding and again to Omaha Nebraska for my brother’s college graduation. But that was over 6 years ago. If you asked them if they enjoyed traveling, they would tell you that they are still trying to recover from the last trip.

So why would they make such a huge life change?

It all started with a Continue reading “Never Too Old”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

A Fast Update

This post is brought to you by our ultimate cinnamon roll recipe.

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, aren’t you doing some sort of fast?”

I am (you can read about it here).

One of the most important parts of the fast is Continue reading “A Fast Update”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

Let’s Go Fast

Fasting
Fried potato. Garlic mayo sauce. Cheddar cheese powder. Definitely not part of the fast.

Imagine if today you challenged yourself to completely change your routine regarding food. Today was going to be a start of a 30-day period where you only ate certain things and limited how much you ate. No more sweets or desserts. No alcohol or soda. Nothing fried or processed. No meat. No dairy.

Would you do this challenge intentionally? Why would someone do this intentionally? Could you do it? Continue reading “Let’s Go Fast”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, * Michelle Thoughts

Annual Review Exercise 2014

Happy Holidays!

We can’t believe it’s the end of 2014. Starting last year, we decided to do an exercise called the Annual Review which was inspired by unconventional blogger and author Chris Guillebeau (who founded the World Domination Summit).  It’s an intentional (cough cough) opportunity to take sometime time out to reflect on the past year. If you’ve done one before, it’s also an awesome opportunity to see if you’ve accomplished the goals you had from the previous year. Finally, it’s a chance to start planning and thinking about the next year.

Here’s what we came up with for our annual review, 2014: Continue reading “Annual Review Exercise 2014”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Other Travels

Homes for the Holidays – Part 1: Jamaica

Christmas in Jamaica
Do you see Michelle? Christmas decorations at our host family’s house.

As digital nomads, our concept of home is constantly evolving. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s hard for us to answer where “home” exactly is. It seemed only fitting, then, that as we returned to Jamaica, our friends here said “Welcome home” to us, additionally adding: “Will Jamaica be home?” We made sure to answer them directly. “No. But we do love Jamaica.” Continue reading “Homes for the Holidays – Part 1: Jamaica”

* Jedd Thoughts, Intentional Living

When Saving Money Isn’t Saving Money

Black Friday
A simple Google image search for Black Friday gave me this

I use to love this time of year.

But over the past 5 years or so, the warm, joyous feelings of celebrating this season with family and friends, has slowly been invaded by consumerism, chaos, and comparison.

We need to be reminded that there was a time when Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now pre-Black Friday (a.k.a. Thanksgiving Sales) didn’t exist. But the Black Friday craziness that exists today didn’t happen overnight, it took time. The weekend after Thanksgiving has traditionally been a long holiday weekend that was supposed to be a break for all (those working, going to school, etc…). Businesses and corporations (let’s call them The Execs) saw this as an excellent time to promote shopping. “Get all your presents now before Christmas.” The Execs knew though, that it would take a little bit of encouragement, some sort of bait to lure people to their stores, to give up time with family and friends.

Though post-Thanksgiving was already a profitable weekend, the Execs wanted more. They knew that all they had to do was to brand it, give it a name, make it an actual event. They called it Black Friday. They offered bigger discounts. They created a limited, too-good-to-be-true feast that people couldn’t resist.

We ate it up.

According to estimates, the Black Friday Weekend sales phenomenon will bring in an estimated $36 billion dollars this year alone. $36. Billion.

And the main message? “Save money.”

Spending Money is Not Saving MoneyI confess. I used to be a supporter of the Black Friday movement. I’ve waited in line for sales and deals. There was a time I actually believed that when I bought something on sale, I was saving money. It all changed when a friend challenged me with the following statement:

“Spending money, no matter how much money you are saving from a sale, is still spending money.”

More often than not, a sale makes us buy something we wouldn’t have bought otherwise. To truly save money, we have to refrain from spending on things we don’t really need.

Ironically, the most shocking and scary thing about Black Friday isn’t the obsessive and obscene amounts of money we are spending on stuff, but the damage and cost this sales event has on relationships.

We are creating and supporting a culture that says consumerism is more important than family and friends.

First, it started with the controversy of a few major stores opening on Thanksgiving day late at night, to ease anyone’s concerns. Each year, however, stores open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving. This year, it’s big news as to which stores will be open and those that refuse to open on Thanksgiving. With issues like Ferguson, ebola, wars, etc… going on in our world, I’m still amazed how pervasive the Black Friday weekend is in the media.

One thing I would love to ask the Execs and supporters of Black Friday: Does this make our lives and our world better? But maybe the question more important is: What are we doing to make the world better?

Is saving money by spending money on sales really saving money? And more importantly, what is the true cost of excessive consumerism?

JandMSwiss

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time (or money) this weekend, we hope that you and your loved ones find time together and ways to reflect how much you value and cherish these special relationships.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-J

Ps. This is an awesome video about all of that so-called important, must-have stuff.