Ok, let’s talk about my brother Jonah for a minute.

Remember how he and his family moved here to the desert from Hawaii for the school year because his son is in third grade?

Why would third grade matter you may ask?

Well, because the best third-grade teacher in the whole wide world lives here too.

Who happens to be my other brother Josh.

I know most people don’t live life like that, or make themselves unattached enough to be able to make things like that happen. But Jo and his wife Aja have made some pretty deliberately different choices than the average person makes.

They are so refreshing and awesome and unique and I adore them.

And have to admit that I am feeling a little bit stressed out that the end is approaching more quickly than I’d like.

Our lives have been so blessed by having them close.

They’ve made the adjustment to having one kid at home so much better (especially for Lucy), and especially since they lived right with us for the first few months.

But they are going to take off as soon as school gets out for the next adventure, and that is going to be a sad day.

So we are trying to soak them in as much as we possibly can.

Love that Jo is my new BrainFood driving partner…

…and one of Lucy’s biggest heroes, and man alive I love those nieces and nephew we get to hang around.

And he makes me think differently.

About recycling.

About living simply.

About caring about “the one.”

About things like you can really make your own spices if you want:

Ha! I dropped by last week and he was making the spices for his delicious Japanese curry.

ANYWAY, a few weeks ago we got to have Jo as a guest on our podcast.

Charity explained some of the stuff we talk about best in the instagram post:

Jo is so unique and awesome, I think you will love the episode, (and also wish us girls chatting away maybe let him talk more! Ha!)

Here it is…go enjoy!


  1. This was such a great episode! Would love to get a Q&A with him (and maybe his awesome wife!) sometime- sounds like they came from somewhat different backgrounds to create this incredible and unique life for themselves and their kids! I know it’s a bit of a deviation from only you sisters, but after all they’re “in the arena” too!
    It would also be so fascinating to hear from all your other siblings about how your upbringings shaped your lives now as both people and parents. A few episodes back it was mentioned how growing up was different for each of you even within the same family based on birth order and how things changed over time and I think that could be so fun to learn from too!
    Thank you for sharing this episode with us and I look forward as always to learning/hearing more from you all!

    1. Yes we are definitely planning on other interviews with the other brothers as well as sister-in-laws. They are for sure “in the arena!”

      Isn’t it so interesting how we all have such different vantage points from different places in the family? Kinda fascinating.

    1. They are off to run the store in Washington for the summer then back to Hawaii. We are sure going to miss them!

      1. How fun! While I’m sure it’s not easy for the kids to leave their schools/clubs/friends, they’re sure having a unique upbringing and gaining a mountain of confidence to try new things. The confidence and skill to adapt to new places, experiences, etc. will be SO incredibly amazing to have the rest of their lives, whether they choose to live more “traditional” or “out of the box” (or some of both!).
        I also just wanted to say how beautiful it was to hear so much love between you all. I know it’s not always sunshine and roses, but the respect with which you speak of each others lives and journeys is a wonderful foundation and a great way to model acceptance and kindness for your kids.
        Thanks for sharing this with us!

  2. What does Jonah do for a living? To earn money, to live on? Used items and bartering are great but how does he pay for rent, food … daily necessities? Do they just mooch off of whoever they are staying with? Papa Eyre says he doesn’t contribute to grown kids ….is Aja independently wealthy?

    1. I followed their blog for years. The daughter did a video as well that was shared here and showed how he buys a particular type of vehicle used and fixes it up often converting it to run on used cooking oil then sells it. The wife eons ago taught piano but I think consults? Those things pay money. They just looked at their skill set and figured out what they could on their own and what people would pay them to do that they enjoyed and were good with time and parenting and visiting family in other places. His skill set is construction so easy enough to buy a place is disrepair and make it habitable. A family can’t use the fruit off a tree all on their own most the time so lots of sharing back and forth. Got to respect their ability to stay in Hawaii for more than 3 years. I think great deal of it timing. They had a McMansion in Utah before deciding to be regular people downsize and live in normal size houses. I think in most places in US they owned a home and managed a gain. Their Hawaii home is typical house size not ginormous but finished thoughtfully and nicely on a block of similar homes. I think moving from Utah, to New Zealand, to Washington State, to Hawaii in a relatively short time frame let them cast off a lot of things. Sadly they lost things in storage to a fire too between moves. They seem to be big on Mercedes and designer name colleges. But everyone choses what to spend money and direct interest to. They decided to earn money doing hobby type things. Did a bit of volunteering too. It’s actually a perfect state to lead a laid back life. Really at a loss how to figure out how homeschool/public school in a small town in Hawaii managed two kids into fancy universities. I think the one daughter got ‘grant’ money from grandparents to do some activity after doing a presentation. They got 30 grandkids. They have 9 kids. No one has that much money to support everyone all the time. To be fair though the parent Eyre’s had the kids participate in writing some of the books. They should have earned something from it. To be fair the family hosted other relatives coming to the Island. Hardly mooching. I can imagine the high school student had the most culture shock in AZ. School probably the size of the entire town. Not the only blond person. The wealth.

    2. They both make money in different ways, and you don’t have to be independently wealthy to live a great life. So many ways to live frugally without being moochers or being supported by parents (which they are certainly not:). We will have to do another episode with Jonah because there are so many people with good questions.

  3. Shawni, every time you share something about your brother Jonah I am so impressed. I admire him and his family for living a life according to their values, for not just talking about something but taking action, and for living their dream. Their way of life makes me reevaluate my own way of living and my daily decisions. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂🩷

    1. I loved this episode! To anwser one question, I think one of his daughters swims for her university so maybe they have scholarships? I think these kids are very very well educated. Both Jonah & Aja are.
      I served my mission around Jonah and he literally was the kindest guy. So happy and was just good to the core.
      I’d love to hear how they handle things like retirement savings and those things.
      What a great experience & life!

      1. If on paper income “low” financial aid takes care of it. Those schools have endowments. 200K+ for 4 years of college. Criminal.

        1. Yes, I would think it would be rather dishonest to work for cash under the table, then accept low income financial aid for my kid. Doesn’t the LDS church frown on such dishonesty?

          1. I actually was saying charging 200K+ is criminal. Low income can be 70-120K. These are fancy designer schools where overpaid people once went to school and want their kids to go as well. Different parts of the country require different amounts of money to be middle class. And the East Coast it costs a ridiculous amount to live. They bought the house outright and fixed it themselves. They don’t have a mortgage payment. Their income needs are not high. The equity from earlier homes allowed them to buy another in another area and they just had enough by the time they moved to Hawaii for a tear down they fixed up. It’s a hundred years old not a Gilbert AZ McMansion. They are bartering with eggs to get the surplus of mangos off a neighbors tree who also has a home under 1200ft2 is not altering their income to lie on a financial aid form. They are not living in McMansion gated community with ocean view. An island in the middle of the pacific in a different time zone is difficult as there are not many industries a person can work at even remote work for mainland companies limited. The state isn’t overflowing with six figure salaries and 9-5 jobs.

    2. Matilda, I so admire them for living their own unique life and marching to the beat of their own drum as well. They inspire me so much! The kids do have scholarships and also grants and I love how they have worked to figure it all out!

  4. Thank you to you, your sisters, and your brother for this episode. I found it fascinating and it made me think about what I might do to live outside the box more.

  5. I’m enjoying your podcast and this was another wonderful one. I could tell how much you all adore your brother and how passionate he is about his family.

  6. Just got to listen. I wish we could have them over for dinner on the west side of Phoenix. I imagine we aren’t the first to say that. Can we tempt Jonah with a 1991 diesel Mercedes to see and chat about?- ha! My husband was laid off years ago from his job as an engineer working on jet engines, and we lasted 2 years w/o a job. We moved across the country to a small town living off a meager savings, selling laundry carts we bought from an auction, selling fur coats I had picked up at Savers in New England, and people/friends were generous with their gardens (we tried to garden ourselves and weren’t super successful). We were renting so that sucked up a lot of our money and I didn’t love the small town in dry Utah we lived in. We had just left the beautiful east coast so… My husband worked on a business idea and a Mercedes wagon simultaneously, so I think he enjoyed the time okay. Looking back there were ways we could have made the experience better for all of us.

    1. What an interesting journey! You should absolutely invite them to dinner, Jonah and Aja would love it! It sounds like you would have so much in common!

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