Introducing the Candlelit Morning Challenge


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Join me in the Candlelit Morning Challenge and experience the impact that this simple morning ritual can have on your day, and ultimately your life!As I write this, I’m staring out my office window at a gloomy, dark, rainy sky.

Summer is officially dead and fall is alive and well. In just a few more weeks it will be winter.

As the seasons shift and we head into the darker months of the year, it’s only natural that we should shift too. After all, we’ve adapted to live and work with each season as it comes for all of evolutionary history. 

We learned to wake and sleep with the rising and falling of the sun, which meant that in the spring and summer we evolved to wake earlier, stay up later and work and play harder during the long, sunny days. On the flip side, in the fall and winter we naturally evolved to slow down and sleep more.

But nowadays, our modern society praises and prioritizes going hard all of the time. The less you rest and the more you work, the more society rewards you (or so it would seem).

 

The curse of modernization

So much about the way our modern life and workday is designed dates back to the Industrial Revolution. Prior to this point in history, most people lived agrarian lifestyles (ie. farmers, homesteaders, etc.) But when industrialization took hold and people began moving to the city in droves to work in factories, the push for productivity skyrocketed.

Keep in mind, the lightbulb was also invented during the latter part of industrialization, which allowed people to work longer hours under artificial lighting. Farmers may have still depended on natural light to get their work done, but factory workers could suddenly work through the night if required, and they’d never even know what time it was.

This trend has continued into the present day. Between our lights and TVs and phones and computers, we hardly ever shut off.

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adult Americans don’t get enough sleep, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. It’s not too hard to connect the dots between each of these issues and our lifestyle of living and working on an unnatural cycle and the confusion we put our bodies through every time we bombard ourselves with artificial lighting (which is pretty much daily).

Of course, in this day and age it’s made even worse by the fact that we’re constantly looking at screens, whether TV, phone or computer. And we’re always connected through email and social media, but we’re more isolated than ever before and our connections to social media and our inbox aren’t always healthy ones. Not to mention the constant (bad) news cycle and “doom scrolling!”

In some cases it even crosses the line into addiction. If you’ve seen the documentary The Social Dilemma, you know that’s no mistake; It’s exactly how these platforms have been designed.

 

What we consume matters

I talk a lot about the food that we eat and the products that we use and why it’s so important to choose well and be mindful of what we consume, but this doesn’t end at food and cosmetics. We also have to be mindful of what are brains are consuming, including the light we’re letting in and the content we’re consuming through social and traditional media.

Because I, like so many other people on this planet, have succumbed to the bad habit of reaching for my phone first thing in the morning and starting my day off by looking at a bright, artificial blue light screen, checking my email and scrolling my social media feeds. It immediately raises my blood pressure and my anxiety first thing in the morning, but I still feel compelled to do it.

I know I’m not alone. Not even close! And so, last week, I decided to do something about it.

I woke up around 6:00. The house was still dark, and it was the first morning that had really felt like fall. It was earlier than I usually wake up on the weekdays, so I decided I had at least an hour before I “had” to check email and social media. For whatever reason, I decided to light a candle instead as I made my morning coffee and went through the motions of my morning routine.

I immediately felt different than I did most mornings. I felt calmer and more peaceful. I felt happier and more grateful!

It was a small action, but I felt a huge shift. Everything flowed easier. The morning felt less rushed and chaotic. I felt less anxious than I was used to feeling at the start of the day.

I knew right away I had stumbled upon a morning routine I could stick with; One that was so incredibly simple and seemed so obvious in the moment that I wondered why it had taken me so long to figure it out.

I eventually had to blow out my candle and start my day, but the magic didn’t stop there. I noticed that my whole day ran more smoothly after starting the day off in candlelight. 

And so, the next morning I decided to start my day off the same way, and again I noticed the same phenomenon.

 

A small but impactful morning challenge

I posted about my new morning routine over on my Instagram page, and I started getting messages almost immediately from others who were intrigued and who wanted to try starting their day by candlelight too. That’s when I got the idea for the candlelit morning challenge…

I put it out there to my community and encouraged anyone who was interested to commit to starting their day by candlelight too. 

I’ve already had messages from people who have taken up the challenge and who’ve expressed what a game-changer this simple act has made in their life. And so today I’m putting the challenge out there to you too!

If you’re reading this at the time of posting, during the month of October, 2021, I’m running an official challenge over on Instagram and asking that when you do decide to pick up your phone, that you take a quick photo of your candlelit morning and post it, either to Instagram stories or to your feed.

Use the hashtag #candlelitmorningchallenge and tag me @thehouseandhomestead and I’ll re-share your post, plus you’ll be entered to win a naturally scented candle from one my favourite essential oils company (and affiliate partner) Plant Therapy.

The challenge officially runs until the end of October. I’ll be drawing a winner on November 1st, 2021. But don’t let that stop you from continuing with this morning routine if you fid that it serves you. Because the greatest reward isn’t winning the giveaway or getting the “social crew” that comes from sharing your photos to Instagram. The greatest reward is the real positive impacts that starting your day off in candlelight can have on your life and your overall well-being.

 

Wait, I thought this was about avoiding social media in the morning??

It’s not lost on me that I’m asking you to post your candlelit morning photos to Instagram after ranting about the negative impacts of social media, but let’s be honest: You’re probably going to pick up your phone and check social media eventually. Why not do it with intention and spread a positive message to others who might benefit from changing up their own morning routine??

Whether or not you decide to participate in the official Instagram challenge, I do hope you’ll try lighting a candle to start your day instead of reaching for your phone or flipping on your bright overhead lights. Even if all you have is a minute to spare in the morning, make it an intentional minute that allows your mind, body and spirit to wake in a more natural way that supports your health and mental wellbeing.

Our mornings are the foundation that we build our days on, and our days are the foundation we build our lives on. If one small act and one tiny flicker in the darkness has the power to change everything for the better, why not try it for at least one morning?

 

You have the power to choose your own actions

The world is hurting right now. Our collective anxiety is up and the unnatural way that so many of us are living is only making things worse. But we have the power to change how we operate in the world we live in. Often the biggest impacts come from the smallest changes. For me, this has been one of the most positive impacts I’ve experienced in my own life lately, and if I can share it with others and help even one other person create positive change in their own life, I’m all for it.

After all, that’s why I started this blog to begin with: To share information that can help you live a healthier, happier, more self-sufficient life where YOU are in control and empowered to change how you operate in a world where we are constantly presented with (and even encouraged to make) unhealthy decisions that impact us and the people around us.

Try it. Just for one day. If it makes you feel good, consider trying it again. And if you feel so inclined, let me know how it’s impacted your own life. 

If you want to participate in the official challenge, remember to post your photos to Instagram using the hashtag #candlelitmorningchallenge and tag me @thehouseandhomestead so I can re-share your post and enter your name into the giveaway.

Or simply keep it to yourself, but be sure to celebrate the fact that you’ve made an intentional decision to start your day by doing something good for yourself.

There’s a lot of things about this world that we can’t change, but no matter how much seems like it’s out of our control, remember that you always have the power to choose your own actions.

As the Chinese proverb goes, “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Stay well, friend.

Until next time,

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

 

 

 

 


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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'Tis the season! And if you didn't start planning as soon as Christmas was over last year, you may be feeling the pressures of the holidays right about now. Between ever-soaring prices and the mental load of keeping track of it all, this magical time of year, can sometimes feel, not so magical. ⁣

But don't worry, not only do I have some tips to get you through this season without majorly breaking the bank, but also a free budget planner to make next year a success. ⁣

A few things to keep in mind as you're planning your holiday festivities... there are so many fun things you can do for free, or for the cost of a small charitable donation around this time of year. ⁣

A few of our favorites include: ⁣
⛸ going ice skating or tobogganing⁣
🎅🏼 going to visit Santa⁣
🎄 driving around to look at Christmas lights⁣
☃ building a snowman⁣

For more tips on creating a frugal Christmas or to grab my free printable budget planner, visit the link in my bio or: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/10-ways-to-have-a-frugal-christmas/ for some great tips on how to have a frugal Christmas.⁣

What other ways are you saving money this season, or even better refocusing on spending the holidays at home? Let me know below!
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As homesteaders, winter offers us a reprieve from the busy seasons; A time to rest, relax and recharge until next spring. But after a while, we can become restless and cabin fever can start to set in.

Folks like us tend to like to stay productive, even while living slow, intentional lives. We like to feel like we accomplished something every day, whether that means tackling a new project, learning a new skill, preparing a new recipe or simply reading and acquiring some new information that will serve us down the road.

Winter presents us with the perfect opportunity to do all of the above, because as much as there may be snow on the ground and we may feel as if our hands are tied as far as certain outdoor activities we like to partake in the rest of the year, our time is suddenly freed up to focus on all sorts of different things that we often don’t have time for during the spring, summer and fall months.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, we’re highlighting some of the ways that we can keep entertained and productive and continue learning and adding new skills to our repertoire during the winter months while still taking time to slow down from our usual pace and celebrate all that we’ve achieved over the past year.

In this issue, you’ll find:
🧶 Projects & ideas to help you keep busy and stay productive this season
🐓 Chicken boredom busters to keep your flock healthy and happy all winter
🍄A deep dive into edible and medicinal mushrooms, including how to grow them, forage them and use them to optimize your health
🍽 Levelled up recipe ideas to make a mushroom lover out of just about anyone
🎁 45 holiday gift ideas you can make at home for next to nothing
❄️ And more:)

But the best part is that if you subscribe by the end of December you’ll also get a FREE one-year subscription to gift to someone else.

To subscribe or check out a sneak preview of the winter issue, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

Or message me with the word “Subscribe” and I’ll send you the direct link.

As homesteaders, we spend the better part of our year preparing for winter. Now that it’s here, how will you spend it??
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Another winter is upon us, and it finally offers us a reprieve from the busy seasons of hard work⁣
that begin in the spring and end in the fall. It’s⁣
a much needed time of rest for those of us who⁣
live according to the rhythms of nature, and⁣
in truth it’s a much needed time of rest for all⁣
human beings, whether they spend their days⁣
at home working the land or in the city working⁣
in a cubicle. ⁣

On the other hand, slowing down and⁣
settling in can lose its lustre after a while.⁣
Cabin fever can start to set in by January or⁣
February and we may find ourselves restlessly⁣
waiting for spring.⁣

But there is a happy medium that we can⁣
find between boredom and busy-ness that, in⁣
many ways, only winter can offer us. Because⁣
even though our gardens may be lying dormant⁣
and the trees may be bare and the hens may⁣
not be laying and the wild critters may all be hibernating, there is still life and activity all⁣
around us, even in the depths of winter.⁣

In my latest issue of Modern Homesteading⁣
Magazine, we’re highlighting some of the ways⁣
that we can keep entertained and productive⁣
and continue learning and adding new skills to⁣
our repertoire during the winter months while⁣
still taking time to slow down from our usual⁣
pace and celebrate all that we’ve achieved over⁣
the past year.⁣

And the best part is, until the end of December, all new subscribers to the magazine also get a FREE one-year subscription to gift to someone else, which makes a great holiday gift! ⁣

Click the link in my bio to subscribe or visit: https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com/subscribe/
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I don't know about where you're from, but around here the Christmas decorations have been on store shelves since August and the first carton of eggnog I saw at the grocery store was in September! ⁣

I'm all for celebrating the season, but I think it loses something when it becomes Christmas all year long (or at least when it spans 2 or even 3 seasons!)⁣

I like waiting until December to decorate and put on Christmas tunes, and I definitely won't take my first sip of eggnog until the advent calendar comes out!⁣

That being said, when it is time for Christmas, I enjoy savouring every bit of the holiday season, and that means that when it comes to eggnog, store-bought just won't do. Instead, I whip up my own homemade eggnog, which is way tastier in my opinion, and has less added and unnecessary ingredients, thickeners, etc. It's just eggs, sugar, milk and cream, some liquor if you choose, and a little nutmeg and a cinnamon stick to garnish!⁣

It's also super quick and easy to make yourself.⁣

Grab the full recipe via the ink in my bio @anna.sakawsky or visit https://thehouseandhomestead.com/old-fashioned-homemade-eggnog-recipe/ ⁣

Do you like to start celebrating Christmas as early as possible or do you prefer to wait until December like me?⁣

Let me know in the comments 👇
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42 9

What’s in your bug out bag??

Yesterday I was in my Stories sharing a bit about emergency preparedness and what I’m doing to get prepared for whatever the future holds.

I also asked YOU what emergency skills or supplies you recommend having in your back pocket “just in case,” and one of the responses I got was to have a bug out bag packed and ready to go.

This got me thinking it was high time to pull out my bug out bag and go through it because it’s been a couple years since I last did so. I decided to share it with you here and show you what I keep packed and ready to go and go through what needs updating and what I’m missing.

If the concept of a bug out bag is new to you, have a watch through this video and check out this article on 15 Emergency Preparedness Items You Need to Have Packed and Ready to Go: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/15-emergency-preparedness-items-you-need-packed-ready-to-go/

Also, if getting more prepared for anything and everything from a power outage to a natural disaster to a medical emergency to a man made disaster like a war or a cyber attack is a goal of yours, be sure to check out the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, which is packed with great advice on emergency preparedness for any situation. (Link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com)

I’d also love to hear from you!

Do you keep a bug out bag packed?

What do you keep in it?

What types of emergency situations are you preparing for in your area?

Let me know in the comments 👇

#emergencypreparedness #preparedness #prepping #bugoutbag
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Do you have what you need on hand to take care of yourself and your family in the event of a worst case scenario?

With everything going on in the world these days, we’re getting more and more serious about equipping ourselves with the tools, supplies and skills needed to handle emergency situations if the need arises.

Between growing nuclear tensions, the ongoing threat of pandemics, cyber attacks and a looming energy crisis, medical staff and supply shortages, and general “everyday” medical, financial and other miscellaneous emergencies, we’d all be wise to be prepared BEFORE the next emergency happens.

One of our neighbours passed away very suddenly last week (just 50 years old 😔) and it reminded me of just how quickly things can go sideways. As far as we know he suffered a heart attack, and while his wife did everything she could to save him, by the time the ambulance arrived it was too late. It was a wake up call for me, that not only do we need to be prepared with supplies on hand, but with knowledge and skills too. I’m definitely looking into booking a refresher First Aid course and highly recommend everyone reading this do the same if this is a skill you need to brush up on!

This is all part of being more self-reliant, and these skills are becoming more and more important in the world these days.

My hubby @ryan.sakawsky covered many emergency scenarios and how to prepare for them in detail in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you can subscribe and read the latest issue via the link in my bio, or by visiting https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com/subscribe/

I’d also love to hear from you! What are you doing to prepare and/or what skills and resources would you recommend that everyone acquire now before it’s too late?

Comment below 👇
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32 3

If you feel like your garden struggled more than usual this year, or that many of your homesteading efforts were in vain, you’re not alone.

In fact, I heard from more people than ever before this year who were struggling with their gardens; With extreme or unpredictable weather; With pest problems that seemed worse than usual; With all manner of things that seemed to be conspiring against them and their efforts to grow food.

The fact is, gardening and homesteading comes with an inevitable amount of failure every year, and some years are going to be worse than others.

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, Mike Fitzgerald of @omnivore.culture gets vulnerable and shares his own homesteading struggles, and the insights he gained from a rough year in the garden.

“I held in my heart an overwhelming level of optimism for the 2022 growing season… I couldn’t have been more wrong and could not have possibly prepared for what awaited me in the upcoming months that paved the way into summer,” he begins.

To read the full story, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or log in and read the latest issue 🍁

(Quote in the reel by Mike Fitzgerald, “Rolling With the Punches,” Modern Homesteading Magazine | Issue 29 | Fall 2022).

#homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #selfreliance #gardenersofinstagram #humanswhogrowfood #modernhomesteading
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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

To learn more or get on the waitlist, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #livefreeordie
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It’s October, and that means pumpkin spice season is officially here 🎃

This year, instead of spending $5 or more on a PSL loaded with questionable artificial ingredients, why not make your own pumpkin spice syrup at home with REAL PUMPKIN and all-natural ingredients!

All you need is some puréed pumpkin (I make mine with fresh pumpkins, but you can use canned), some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and ginger, a splash of vanilla extract and some water.

Bring everything to a boil and then simmer and reduce. Strain into a bottle or Mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of this syrup to your coffee or homemade latte for a better quality, better tasting PSL for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a coffee shop.

You can also add this syrup to homemade kombucha, or drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast or even ice cream!

Grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

#pumpkinspice #psl #homemadetastesbetter #falldrinks
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129 7

Do you dream of escaping the rat race and starting a homestead far from the chaos of the modern world?

It’s no surprise that in this day and age, more and more people are ready to leave it all behind and move to a property in the country where they can grow their own food, live a simpler life and become more self-sufficient and less dependent on “the system.” But as romantic as it sounds, it’s definitely easier said than done.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

Ann and her husband Justin recently moved from their two-acre homestead outside of Seattle, Washington to a 40-acre homestead in rural Tennessee. Ann and I sat down to talk about the realities of buying and selling a homestead, moving across the country to pursue your homesteading dream, what to look for when you’re searching for your next property, pitfalls to avoid (if you can!), and what you can do if you’re not ready or in a position to make your move just yet.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

#modernhomesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #escapethematrix #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #selfsufficientliving
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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

There’s a lot more to this story than I’m able to share in this video or this caption, so I’ll post some links below where you can hear directly from the mom what happened, and check out other IG accounts that have been in direct contact with her and the father. But the point is this was a GROSS misuse of our Amber Alert system, a GROSS abuse of power (turns out the boy wasn’t sick in the end anyway), and has now traumatized this family for life.

Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Check out my stories for the full video that the mom, Wiloh made explaining the details of what happened or check out the comments for links to learn more & support this family.
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I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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