Here are some FAQs (and answers), in no particular order, that frequently comes our way. We thought we would compile them in one easy-to-find locale, and update them regularly. Feel free to reach out, should you have others, and we will answer as many as we can.
Do you only have enough place settings for the two of you? What if you have guests?
Well, that is actually two questions. 😉 First, we have about 4 place settings, a back-up for the two of us, so we do not have to constantly wash dishes, but also enough for a couple of guests to dine with us. When we have more than one guest, we usually adapt. Bowls become options where a plate would be the more traditional choice, etc. It always works out.
Where do you currently live?
We currently live in Beaufort, North Carolina, in a small bungalow by the sea.
What happened with going the tiny home route?
We gave it a practice run. Circumstances made it where we had to make a change (Hurricane Florence). It is not completely off the table. We still find the enjoyment of living small/tiny, though it is not in the conventional definition of what is considered a “tiny home.”
What was the business that you owned for years that you mention in some of your blogs?
We owned a professional pet care business (international award-winning, we should add 😉 )that provided in-home services for pets needing medical assistance, as well as well-abled pets, whose parents wanted an alternative to boarding and kennels. We had the business for 17 years. It was a 24/7 business. We, and our staff, cared for over 300 pets and their families; the burnout became too much to handle. While we are still very proud of what we accomplished during those years, we know we made the right decision for our mental health to exit from the industry when we did. We are still very involved in animal advocacy, volunteering with local shelters, and raising awareness for rescuing pets, rather than buying from breeders.
What resources would you recommend for grief following the loss of a pet?
This is something that is near and dear to our hearts. I (Shannon) suffered terribly, after the loss of my senior pup, Pharrell. When his obituary and story went viral, it was heartwarming to receive so much feedback from others, from all over the world, who had agonized over the loss of their furry child. The grief I experienced due to that loss led to a deep depression, and my needing to seek medical treatment. That treatment saved my life. We both do not hide the fact that we feel it is absolutely necessary to seek help when you are suffering from any mental illness, but also any mental anguish, sadness, or anxiety that you just need some help with.
Some resources that were helpful to me, and you can look into similar options:
NC State Veterinary Hospital-Healing After Loss Counseling– since Pharrell was treated, and spent his last few days at the vet school, I was offered 10 sessions of professional counseling, and graciously accepted their offer. They also have group counseling. That route was not helpful to me, but I have spoken with people who have found group sessions to be very beneficial.
Professional Therapy– Once I realized that I was still not where I needed to be after the sessions provided by the vet school, I sought additional professional therapy to continue treatment to help me cope with the loss. Check your insurance provider, if applicable, on your coverage, but also, be sure to read reviews to be sure that the therapist knows how to handle pet loss and grief. If you aren’t sure, call them and have the discussion prior to going in. If you do not have insurance, call your county health department. There are often free mental health counseling services available that are not as publicized. You just need to ask.
Check out Mental Health Match. It is a great platform to help you match up with a therapist of your choice. It is how I (shannon) found my therapist.
Balloon in a Box– I cannot go on enough about how this book has become a wonderful companion for me on my grief journey. This book, written by Tom Rose, is not only about love, but it is written to inspire you to go on living, not without your loved one, but with them. This book is about how to handle the emotional journey that comes along with loss.
A Peaceful Path Workbook– this is a resource we used to provide to clients when we had our business, but we also found it to be helpful, firsthand. We met the authors (M.J. & Laurie) of this workbook at a conference when we worked in the pet industry. They are from the hospice field, so their hearts are completely into their work, and it shows.
I Will See You In Heaven– if you are spiritual, and need answers about whether or not you will see your furry child again, this book is a great resource. I bought this book 10 days after Pharrell passed away. I was desperately searching for answers. Friar Jack Wintz provides comfort in this book. Even today, I pull it out to read through some of the passages to provide a warm hug at times when I need it. I highly recommend this, if you are someone who this aligns with.
The most important thing we can say about this question, and we know this has been a long answer, is that you are not alone. It feels like it, because on a micro/local level, it may seem like the people around you don’t get it, but know on a macro level, there are plenty of people who do. We are two people who most definitely do get it. Feel free to message us if you want to chat.
Can Betty White walk?
Yes! Betty White can walk. She has arthritis in her back legs, so while she enjoys several walks/day, she has a stroller because she likes to accompany us on our longer walks. Why not allow her to ride along with us, rather than deny her the time spent with her family?
With music being an ongoing discussion on your blog, what are your favorite bands/musicians?
Gerry– I like each and every style of music. There is a time and a place for every genre. For instance, I like classical music when I want to relax, especially while driving. I’m a classic rock enthusiast, who likes a wide array of rock music. My all-time favorites are Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Los Lobos… along with a host of others.
Shannon– Yikes! This is a difficult question. My answer to this is usually, anything but country, but I am a big Jimmy Buffett fan, go figure. I do appreciate all music. My playlists aren’t very consistent with genres, they run the gamut from jazz, 90’s rap, rock, pop, r&b, you name it! Ok, the question is faves- here we go: The Doors, Smashing Pumpkins, Melody Gardot, Post Malone, Tupac, Duran Duran, NKOTB, and Rihanna. See what I mean.
How can I be on your podcast?
We love hearing the stories of bold people making waves in the world, breaking outside of “the norm”, and living their best life! Our guests on The Arner Adventures Podcast create a spark in our lives!
If that is you, or you know someone whose story should be heard, we’d love to hear from you.
You can head over this way and contact us for more information.
How do you rationalize brand partnerships/collaborations with your minimalist lifestyle?
You may or may not know, running a blog costs money. Moreover, blog posts take a great deal of time and effort to create. While it is all a labor of love and a passion for us, it is a vocation. As our platform has grown, we have organically partnered with brands along the way to not only keep this blog running, but to support those businesses that align with our lifestyle. It has been a beautiful partnership with those we have worked with and we have loved connecting so many readers and social media followers to those businesses. Most often, these are small businesses, and entrepreneurs, who are pursuing a dream, and we love being a part of that!
We pride ourselves on our decisions and purchases of quality, rather than quantity. When we mention or promote a product or service, it is one that creates a spark in our life or delivers ease, and/or longevity. At the end of the day, we make the choices to partner with the brands we want to work with and only those we genuinely believe in.
Do you offer help to someone wanting to start a blog, or with social media management?
Yes! We are often asked about consulting for starting a minimalist journey, a blog, how to work with brands, influencer marketing, social media management, and digital marketing. If you are interested in working with us in one of those arenas, click HERE.