Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Life is so interesting. It's amazing that when you choose to follow your heart there are so many unforeseen trials to complete. I have always known that following your hearts desire requires an amount of cost...it's just interesting finding myself in the middle of the process.

Here I am in a totally new country, starting all over, trying to make a full time go of hand crafting and pursuing a simpler lifestyle.

I never knew how much it would challenge my willpower, confidence and comfort levels. It was a lot easier talking and romanticizing about this process than actually walking it out. I have always desired to live what I believe...and this is a huge test of putting my beliefs into practice.

Isaac and I had a very comfortable existence in Winnipeg. We both had good jobs, stable finances and an apartment to call our own. Close friends were literally a few minutes away and every time I stepped outside my door the patterns of life in Canada made sense to me. I was somebody in some senses and felt secure in who I was.

Throughout this time Isaac and I were (and still are) ever aware of a lot of injustices going on around us. We in some ways feel very old soul...as if we were born into the wrong time and could relate more to the values of a distant past. We both wanted to live in a such a way that we left a gentler imprint on the earth and the people around us. We both wanted to unravel our lives and learn how to live sustainably.

Stumbling onto leather craft and being exposed to the possibility of working for myself was a start in this journey. Before we left Winnipeg I was hand crafting Spirocreations full time. Moving to New Zealand was the next step.

Since living in New Zealand we have literally seen our lives unravel before our eyes. It truly felt (and still does) that everything we tried to make happen fell away from our hands. I have always believed in God but this was a brand new level of submitting our lives to his will and believing in faith for our everyday needs. Having the comfort of stability taken away really is a painful process. I really began to see how much I disliked risky life...its actually quite humbling to start all over...I struggled a lot with comparing life in NZ to life in Winnipeg and worried we had made the wrong decision.

I found myself dealing with insecurity, lack of confidence, fear and loneliness. I struggled with a lack of motivation and a strong desire to give up, pack my bags and high tail it back to Canada. In many ways, I really faced myself. The weak parts of my character that I wanted to pretend weren't there.

Thankfully...I have been (by the grace of God, friends, family and my husbands support)able to face off with these feelings, choosing to re-focus my attention and start again. I really love what I do and want to embrace living in New Zealand. I want to make it my home and carve out a place here. I don't want to give up on Isaac and I's dreams of creating for a living, living sustainably and trying to make small positive changes around us. I want to keep moving forward.

It has been really inspiring to witness miracles in small ways...friends opening their cupboards and filling bags with groceries for us, beds and even a house offered to live in for free. A van received through friends we had never met, Isaac stumbling into his creative dream of woodworking and receiving a job after chatting with someone at a skate park. Etsy featuring us enabling our creations to sell and in small ways sustain us. Waking up each day and being able to look out over the ocean...we are honestly so blessed and taken care of.

Living out our beliefs is not easy. There is a huge cost and I am often romanced by the idea of giving up getting a normal job and having my own bed to sleep in:) Working for yourself is risky...you never know if enough money will come in to feed you...there is no guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week. Isaac is not being paid by his apprenticeship...but I would rather he do what he loves then work a job he dislikes for the sake of comfort. I know in the end life will come together...and in many ways it already has...I just wanted to be straight up with you concerning my process...my attempt to go against the grain for the sake of conviction. I cannot buy into a profit before people society...I can no longer exist through life....I actually want to live it.

In retrospect I am deeply honored that we even have the choice of deciding how we will live. For most people of the world...this is not an option...their lives are subject to survival and a lot of hardship. Knowledge of the blessing of 'choice' and 'options' helps to keep my attitude in focus.

Thank you for your constant support, encouragement and prayer. We are overwhelmed by the graciousness of friends, family and kind souls met through creative exchange. Thank you also to all who have purchased Spirocreations pieces and supported our dream...in so many ways you have made our process of change possible...thank you so much for chances, options and a path forward.

much love,

Barb and Isaac


  1. I find this very touching to read, and the way you talked about it made me understand the choice you made and that it's not all "Awesome! I live in a tropical paradise now!". It's easy for us daydream about living simply, and how we don't really need that stuff we got from the ikea catalog. I do that a lot. But I'm so proud of you for making a real go at it. You're so unpretentious and honest about it. I really appreciate having you as a friend you know.

  2. Barb- how beautiful this post is! It brought me to tears as I read your words- I can relate so much to this, and have myself had a hard time adapting to this new place, though I believe that God did bring us here for a reason...it's just finding the peace within and putting all my trust in Him to lead us in the direction we need to go- to fulfill the purpose we are here to fulfill! "On life's journey Faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him."
    Much love to you both, and we will keep you in our prayers!

  3. I just found your blog in a roundabout way and really related to this post. I just moved from New Jersey (on the northeast coast of the US) to Los Angeles, California (on the southwest coast of the US) last year. I mean the culture and pace of life are the same but it's been way way way way harder than we ever imagined it would be. We get a lot of "Quit complainin, you live in Hollywood!" from our loved ones but they don't see how on the edge our finaces are all of the time. I haven't been able to find a job and so we are living only on my girlfriend's meager salary. We have had to let go of everything we love. We can't even go out to dinner AT ALL without upsetting the entire apple cart. In NJ, something as simple as that wouldn't have even crossed our minds, going out to dinner. Now we have to decide what the ramifications of such a moment of whimsy might create. In NJ, we were almost rich beyond what we can imagine now. We wanted something, we bought it, that simple. Here, we wash our clothes by hand in the sink and just do without. It's been definitely humbling but I think it's been a great experience in thankfulness for what we DO have. And about missing our family and friends, that's been tough as well bc even though we're in the same country, we might as well not be bc of time differences, occasions we miss, weddings, birthdays, holidays keep passing. It's tough to sit on the couch alone on Christmas knowing everyone is together and you are here pursuing "a dream". Today is two of my best friends' wedding and I'm not there. What can you do? BUT apart from all of that malarkey, I agree that the fact that we CAN make that choice to see what other lives there are is an important one that I al glad you and I are taking advantage of. Home will always be there. Best of luck to you!

  4. I love your work and your story. Such an inspiration to see someone actually get up and do something like you guys have. Switching continents, switching countries, living in a bus, it's all exciting to read about and something a lot of us would love to do. So keep on writing, I'm loving reading about your journey!
    Angie, a like-minded Canadian who lives year-round on a boat :)

  5. WOW! Thank you sooo much for these amazing replies...it was wonderful to read and made such a huge difference to me. It is amazing to know we are never alone and it is so helpful to encourage each other. Thank you so much for taking the time to share a bit if your story with me...I am truly honored:)