Scattered Intentionalism

I am all over the place right now.

I’ve begun purging my closet, making lists of garments, and purchasing new clothing items to create my Spring and Summer Capsule Wardrobe.   I’ve chosen my colors and preferred textures — and even a theme word: Comfort.

(yes, that’s Comfort … with a capital C)

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I’m currently slicing and dicing my way through old button-up shirts once belonging to my husband, in order to sew re-usable napkins for 7 days of family meals.  I’m making a lot of napkins for my family of five.  You do the math.

I’m trying out DIY facial cleansing, specifically oil cleansing.  (and liking it so far)

I’m researching everything from cruelty-free makeup brands to homemade house cleaning products – all with hopes of being as close to zero-waste as possible.

Meanwhile, I’m living regular life:  knitting pretty things, editing photos, making meals, driving kids hither and yon, dreaming of a veggie and herb garden, and planning our Spring Break – because Spring has sprung here in the South, and the sunshine bodes of wonderful, wonderful things to come.

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All to say I have several new blog posts in the works!  Stay tuned ….

It is well with my soul.

A rather surprising thing has happened: I’m breathing.  And deeply.

I recently stepped away from social media.  I stepped away from my personal Facebook account, from my artist’s Facebook account, from my artist’s website, even from Instagram (though I have continued to post periodically from my The Big Simple account).  I’ve answered texts and e-mails sent to me by friends, but I’ve done so on my own schedule and in my own time.  This was done intentionally and with a purpose, though it seems my perceived purpose wasn’t the same as actual reality – which, as it turns out, is far better and very much as it should be.

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Balance.  That is my word for 2017.  It’s the idea that I’ve attempted to wrap my head around, the concept I seek to embrace, the principle I desire to guide all aspects of my life.  As a woman who lives passionately and with her heart pumping wildly on her sleeve, balance is not my default.  Balance does not come naturally or easily.

Until it does.  Like a breeze grazing the bare skin of a shoulder or freckled cheek.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Unplugging from social media (and screens in general) has been a soul-nourishing thing.  More than just the clearing of clutter in my physical space, my mental space is also marvelously made free.  And I’m not sure which comes first:  the chicken or the egg, the physical clarity or the mental clarity, but a shift happens.  Space and freedom to breath, to think, to feel.

To balance.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me (a big part of me) that didn’t hope for, at least on a subconscious level, this miracle of pinpoint accuracy and acceptance would happen.  I did expect something to happen.

I expected to feel alone and lonely.  I expected to feel restless and aimless.  I expected to yearn and ache.  I expected to feel devalued and underscored and forgotten.

What I discovered instead was understanding that for months I’ve been teetering on an edge.  Far from balanced, I was in effect standing on tiptoes, precariously gripping a crumbling cliff, white nailed and numb, feeling overwhelmed by the ocean stretching out before me, sparkling with some mysterious inkling of  unknown and unknowable promise, always out of reach – while keenly aware of the razor-edged rocks certain beneath me.  Standing there as I have been, I knew I could listen to the popular adage that one should not fear falling, but rather it is better (and assumed nobler) to risk letting go so as to soar.  This has the ring of hope and truth to my dreaming, visionary heart, pumping as it is in the wild and open air …

But removing myself from a constant barrage of Other, I am far wiser, somehow … more deeply discerning of experience and knowing … finally accepting what I believe I have known for some time:

It is not yet my time to fly.

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

So I have pulled away.  I have withdrawn, as Jesus often did, to a more certain wilderness, to pray.  I have willfully closed my eyes to the sparkling, taunting sea and planted my heels firmly again … to take one step back.  And without turning, I sense there is solid, grass-strewn terra firma behind me.

Vast ocean before me.  Solid ground behind – but also beneath – me.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

There is something frenetic about our culture that is simply unhealthy and unholy.  And rather than give in to the popularity and purported necessity of it all, I am placing a guarding hand over that vital and living heart there on my sleeve.  I feel the life blood there … with no desire to spill it unnecessarily and to my demise.

And even as the world shouts its warnings about missing out, even as it clamors for my attention … I close my mind to it and breathe in the sure knowledge of accepting finer things, the Truly Necessary Things, turning far from the idea that it is folly to stand still, that a person will stagnant and rot for doing so …

And instead recognize this season of my life is exactly for this: standing still.  Not sitting idly.  Not lazing about.  Not rotting.  Simply standing still.  Waiting – not pushing and striving and doing.  Just …

breathing

balancing

Learning about myself.  Realizing my calling.  Giving up.  Giving in.  Finding that it all leads me deeper – and farther away from actions and people and moments that simply are not for me right now.

For such a time as this.

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

I do not suggest that I stand here for nothing.  Even as I dig my heels into this present reality, I am certain that I do so because it is time to accept a need for growth.  Just as trees dig deep roots even as they reach ever upward and outward, so it is with me.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well
with me.

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The Green Sweatshirt

“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” – Marie Kondo

I have this sweatshirt.  It’s a lovely and perfect shade of deep green, almost emerald but not quite.  It’s not particularly soft or even exceptionally comfortable to wear, but I do wear it.  Just once a year, around this time every February.  My eyes seek it out long before my fingers select it among every other garment in my closet, hands slipping into the sleeves, the dark interior slipping over my head, my torso, embracing my shape, chilly at first but then conforming to the exact shade and ripple of my own body heat.

I remember the exact day I purchased this sweatshirt.  I don’t remember the eyes of the cashier or the moment I would have handed over my debit card to pay for it.  But I do remember standing in that aisle of an Alabama Walmart, my fingers caressing the garment, just a cheap thing on the clearance rack, only $4 and some odd cents, but I wanted it.  I needed it.  I had to own and possess and cloak myself in that vivid green, the exact shade of life and growth and unwavering peace, the exact shade to warm my cold heart, my numb mind.

That was the day I was on my way home to Tennessee.  That was the day my dad died.

February 11th, 2009.

That day was a blur of hot grief leaking from my eyes and down my cheeks, spilling like blood from a heart ripped wide open.  Bewilderment.  Fear.  Anger.  All of it, all at once, each emotion a slick, thick layering over the other, in between intermittent moments of

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A protective embrace, that cold.  A resurfacing, Powerful Something, crashing like waves over boiling lava – a Powerful Something to keep me from exploding or imploding or both.  Shock, they call it.  Salvation is the truth of it.  It was the exact anchor of physical self to this world, even as my soul clawed for escape, un-tethered, floating above my awareness like a vapor of vividly black, roiling, unbelievably sharp, excising pain.

We had fled from our house in a rush toward Home.  I had packed in such haste, from the moment of that dark, 1:00 PM phone call to that moment of just a few minutes ride in the car, grabbing garments on hangers and socks and shoving into a suitcase probably more socks and perhaps one or thirteen t-shirts … but I couldn’t remember packing anything warm.  I needed warmth.  The remembrance of warmth was the last vestige of normalcy, The Thing that would hold me fast – without it I would die.  My racing mind would shatter and finally crumble into dust if I didn’t have that sweatshirt.

And there it is, still in my closet.  Worn just once a year.  Faithful.  A symbol of life.  A symbol of death.

And I don’t know if I can ever let it go.  I’ve been able to let other things go over the last eight years.  I’ve let go papers and other ephemera that once belonged to my dad.  I’ve kept truly important items, like furniture he made with his hands and a recording of his singing voice, things of true and lasting value in the grand scheme of earthly things.  And I’ve been prudent and not at all senseless in trashing and donating other objects that have neither real nor nostalgic significance.

But that sweatshirt.  I can’t seem to let it go.  Every time I think it might be time to allow it passage, I grasp it with my hands and remember the first moment I touched it and needed it so badly.  It was a lifeline … almost literally the very thing that kept me from dying right then and there, the thing that connected my flesh to that searing reality of grief, to the more tangible reality of passing and continuing and ebb and flow of all things.

And I can’t let it go.

Not yet.

My (not so) Minimalist Bathroom (yet)

I have a confession to make:  I’m a sucker for pretty packaging.  (I’m also a sucker for soap, as previously discussed. cough)  If you show me a pretty lotion or potion on a pretty little shelf, all wrapped up in a pretty little label or ribbon – or both a label and a ribbon! – then I am going to fork over whatever amount of cash you declare such lotion or potion is worth.  Because that’s just who I am.

To justify this expenditure I tell myself it’s a practical purchase.  Unlike, say, a twelfth pair of Prada shoes*, my family will actually use a body care product – heck, we even need these items, to stay clean and stuff.

Additionally, a purchase such as this (in the grand scheme of things) only sets us back a nominal fee, just a cheap little “luxury”, am I right?  It’s (again) not like I’m forking over hundreds for a pair of pretty shoes … I mean, a pair of good sneakers I could even justify, if I needed a pair …. (but I digress).  Buying a bottle of this or that, it’s just $5 here or there.  It’s not at all an expensive weakness … until it is.

I have very likely (and this is just a conservative guesstimate) spent in the neighborhood of $650 on toiletries, in the past year.  That’s “only” $54.17 per month, but let’s be honest and admit that number doesn’t include necessary staples and basics (such as toilet paper).  That number reflects what happens only in those moments when I’ve been walking down the shampoo aisle in search of a bottle of cheap conditioner when –

Ohhhhh!  Preeeeetty!  And oh my, that smells good too!

Plop!  Into the shopping buggy!

I mean, honestly.  I roll my eyes in my general direction.  I’m ridiculous, I know.

Which is why last week my bathroom looked liked this:

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total insanity in both side drawers of my bathroom sink

And that doesn’t even begin to showcase the sheer chaos that was under my sink.  I’m pretty sure there were things living down there.  Good Lord Almighty, it needed an exorcism.

So that’s basically what I did.

I went in with both barrels.  I pulled everything out into the open, then proceeded to plow through with the idea of eliminating from our home of anything and everything that I didn’t use or that my kids wouldn’t use.  If it was something I was hanging onto “because I might use it some day”, I wouldn’t.  If I was gonna use it, I would have already.  So if it was an expired or otherwise unusable cream or lotion it was squeezed out into the trash, and if it was a gel or liquid, it was rinsed down the sink or flushed.  All empty and rinsed containers were put into a used grocery bag for recycling.  I threw away dried up nail polishes, tossed years-old nail files that might-maybe-possibly-doubtfully have one more use left (they didn’t), and chucked anything and everything that served no practical and legitimate purpose in the here and now.

I was merciless.

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work in progress (left) and finished product (right)

It took me all day, y’all.  I’m not making this up.  I started just after breakfast on Saturday morning (thinking it would only take an hour or two) and didn’t finish until nearly three o’clock in the afternoon, just in time to shower and get ready for a friend’s birthday party that evening.

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Voila!

Now, it may seem like I did very little and made hardly a dent, but you’d be wrong.  I even created a beautiful system to continue purging items over the coming weeks and months.  In an effort to eventually be as bare minimum and zero waste as possible, I wanted to keep only the items my family would use on a daily, consistent basis – but I didn’t wish to be unnecessarily wasteful.

On my actual sink counter I have perfumes (on the left) and hair and makeup items (on the right).  These are things that I literally use every day, every potion used on my hair, every lotion and cream used on my skin from morning to bedtime.  For now, let’s you and I overlook just exactly how much product I currently use – more on that on another day, as I learn to cut back …

Baby steps.

Under my sink (not pictured) are items that I use over the course of a month: hair color for my daughter (who likes to maintain a lovely head of mauve-pink hair in the summer, burgundy in the winter);  assorted nail polishes (also for my daughters);  a bottle of shampoo and conditioner that I’ll be using once my current bottles (in the shower) are all used up;  sunscreens (because we plan to visit the beach this year);  a lovely jar of bath soaps;  and about 4-5 bottles of vitamins (biotin, pro-biotics, etc.)

Lastly, my drawers:

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You saw what a mess they were before.  Well, they’re not a ton better now – but, I do at least have a system worked out to continue purging over the coming months.  In the left side drawer I have items that I or my family currently use on a weekly basis: essential oils, dental floss, OTC pain meds, band-aids, etc.  On the right I have what I am calling my “shopping drawer”;  these are excess toiletries and such that will replace items we are consuming.  I’ve told my kiddos when we’re out of a necessary item (like deodorant, hand sanitizer, or body lotion), we should “shop” from this drawer first, before buying anything new.  In this way we will use up what we’ve already got in stock, thus saving money in addition to working toward a more low-key living environment.  Any empty bottles and/or tins will either be sent off for community recycling or I’ll re-purpose them when it comes time to make my own lotions and potions.

Finally – and this is The Most Important Thing: no more frivolous buying of pretty products!  This will take discipline, I’m sure, but we – erm … I can do this!  When I see the shiny new packages of creamy, dreamy wonder, all I have to do is tell myself, “No, Lauren!  This is not for you!  It’s not in the budget, and it’s not in the plan for Living The Dream!”

* This was just an example.  I don’t actually own a twelfth pair of Prada shoes.  I don’t even own a first pair.  Please.

Reality Check

I’ve been doing a lot of research on all things Minimalism, from zero waste and sewing reusable napkins, to canning food and cultivating a capsule wardrobe.  I’ve been learning tons and tons, and (I’m ashamed to say) I’ve fallen prey to comparing my own current circumstances and habits to those of others, which in turn overwhelms and discourages me because I see just how very opposed my current living conditions are, scattered as my home is with all things knitting and mainstream and bookish and “collectible”.  I currently have a pile of clean laundry sitting atop my dryer (and another pile in the dryer, no doubt), no fewer than twelve shelves full of books (at least half of which I’ve not even read) and assorted ephemera, dirty dining room floors, and clutter, clutter everywhere.

Every.  where.

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But in my studies on Minimalism, I also see just how many people are adopting (or, like me, attempting to adopt) this lifestyle shift – which tells me there is a need and perhaps merely a deep-seeded craving for a more streamlined, simplified, and conscious existence …

But there’s also an element of trendiness and popularity involved, even an expectation that one “should” do this or that in order to be right in the eyes of an evolving culture, or that one “must” do their duty in society by performing this or that rite which will absolve a person from sins committed against the environment and/or flailing humankind.

Related, there is exists a clearly defined “market”, for lack of a better term;  a driving force that seeks to monetize and categorize this anti-material and organic mentality, seeks to shove it into a perfectly packaged and labeled box for the sole purpose of turning a profit around the very thing that sets out to distance itself from excess and materialism.

And this, more than anything, is the very thing which alerts me to the importance of  knowing one’s motivation in desiring a lifestyle very different from the current Western-Modernized-American norm.

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Last week, when I began to feel overwhelmed, effectively drowning in a sea of “should” and “must”, when the desire to run away from the pressure far exceeded my desire to do right by my family and my soul, when visions of eating a pan of warm, trans-fat laden brownies on the sofa while binging on Netflix began to feel more justified than chasing God-supplanted dreams …

I opted instead to take a step back.  I sucked in a deep and nourishing breath.  I exhaled, clearing my mind, and opening myself up to my Why.  I needed to know that my push and pursuit of change had nothing to do with pop culture and everything to do with grabbing Real Life by the bullhorns and living it the way God wants me to live it:  to the full (John 10:10).

I returned to what started this entire movement in my home, realizing it had nothing to do with what so-and-so was doing with their trash and everything to do with what I feel led to do with my treasure.  My American life of privilege isn’t to be used as some parody of someone else’s lack of fortune, nor is it meant to emulate what the Joneses are doing with their organic veggie patch or all-natural, 100% vegan shoes.

My journey is just that: mine.  My family’s path is to be walked by my family alone.  It’s ours.  And while I can learn from the mistakes and successes of those who have paved their own trails, our journey will look like no other journey made by anyone before us.

My mission field is here and now, amid the clutter and chaos.  My mission is a slow purging of old ways and steady pursuit forward to clarity and peace.  My mission is my husband and my children and the higher obligation (and calling!) to nurture them in grace, character, creativity – and laughter and acceptance in the midst of mishaps.

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That means not having it all together right now.  It means messy floors and dust while I learn how to bake bread.  It means a sink full of dirty dishes while I stand ankle deep in piles of freshly-purged clothes.  It means a stack of half-finished knitting projects while I grade homeschool papers.  It means one step forward and two steps back.

And maybe – just maybe – I’ll eventually get the hang of not having the hang of anything.  And it will be imperfect peace and glorious glory.

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Feeling the Pressure

I’m beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed.  I full-well understand “baby steps” … but there are just so many of them, all packed so tightly together, that really it looks like one GIANT, Tennessee-sized step imprinted in dark, sucky mud.

Bleh.

I can’t decide if I should tackle my closet first, creating my Capsule Wardrobe … or if I should pounce on the kitchen and rip out everything all Minimalist Commando style.  I’ve had the philosophy of doing First Things First … but I simultaneously want to eat every day and wear clothes, so I’m not sure which one is more necessary.  Decisions, decisions …

I have a running list of all the things I “need” to do, projects like creating wax wrappers for when we eat sandwiches away from home, or buying those metal straws so I don’t have to use (and toss) plastic ones anymore when we grab a Happy Hour drink from Sonic – wait, can I even still do that and be a good steward of the earth and our family’s resources?  I need to sew some things too, like napkins for mealtimes and cotton bread bags for the bread I need to learn how to bake.  And I really should knit some new dishcloths.  And then there are the vinegar based cleaning supplies and potions I need to concoct so I can clean my house – oh!  And soap.  I still need to buy supplies for making soap.

There’s just so much to do, and I’m feeling the pressure of it all, all at once so that I begin to –

Squirrel!

I wonder what people are talking about on Facebook.  Let’s go find out …

A Soap Story

I may have spent $40 at Whole Foods.  For soap.

Okay, $38.16.  But y’all, for soap.

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I have a very good excuse.  I promise I do.

I really, really (really) love the idea of living in a zero-waste (or nearly zero-waste) home, so I’ve started planning out how to make that happen.  It’s a bit overwhelming … nay, daunting … this trying to figure out how to live without throwing stuff away.  It started out months ago with me wanting a no-plastic environment, just because BPA is so bad for us humanfolk on every possible level, but also because of just how much of the stuff winds up in our landfills.  And it’s not going anywhere.  It’s just sitting there.  Being plastic-y.  I read recently how every ounce of plastic ever made is still out there somewhere on earth – and it will still be out there for centuries and centuries and millennia.  So yeah, I don’t want that.

But then I stumbled upon this zero waste community on Facebook, and these people are hardcore anti-trash.  Which is a little scary and intimidating … but also admirable because their homes are so clean and clutter-free.  I so yearn for clean and clutter-free.  So I began reading their posts about how they make that happen, and I started doing some digging on how I might make that happen too.

I figured I was gonna have to make baby steps, and one of the easiest things to do first was to start buying items that don’t need wrappers or portable containers.  I did a little re-con and purchased some re-usable produce bags for buying apples and potatoes and such at the store.  And I’ve been looking into sewing some lightweight cotton bags for buying certain foodstuffs in bulk, like rice and oats.  Now what about toiletries: shampoo and hair conditioner?  Yeah, more on on that later ….  for now –

Enter: soap.

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Soap is one of those things that doesn’t even really need a wrapper or container, or so I thought.  I Googled “zero waste” soap and was rewarded with a treasure trove of hits on how to make the stuff for pennies per ounce … except I was staring at the last delicate sliver of soap in my shower, and since I hoped to take a pretty decent shower in the morning, I needed soap now – preferably just the soap, sans wrappings and trimmings and such that would wind up the garbage.  Luckily, Whole Foods was rumored to have a brand of soap that one could simply put in their cart and cruise up to the cashier.  So that’s what I did.

And did I mention it set me back a whopping $38.16 – decidedly un-frugal.

This is not going to be a lasting solution for my family as we try to pare back on costs to pay off house debt.  Nope, it most certainly is not.

So that’s when I took to messaging my friend Meg, owner and crafty goddess-genius of Bumblewood.  I have purchased soaps and yummy things from her before, because I adore supporting small businesses – and also because I adore knowing exactly what is in my soap (and I adore Meg).  But it too isn’t such a viable option for me right now, what with the frugality issue … not to mention her soaps would have to be shipped and mailed in papers and plastics and such that (again) would wind up in my trash bin.  Meg did suggest I inquiry some local farmer’s markets and soap artisans to see if they’d sell me their goods without the packaging, but apparently that’s as illegal a proposition as murder.  Who knew?  So … yeah.

I did ask dear Meg what a girl could do regarding making her own soap …

And yes, that’s what I’m now looking into.  I’ve already been pricing things like Shea butter and raw goat’s milk and beeswax and essential oils.  I even found a recipe online that purports to produce 65 bars of all-natural soap for only $45 – that’s only .70 cents per bar, yo.  I’m betting I could pull off something like this, oh yes I could.

So next up: spending a bit more on soap – this time on supplies to make enough soap that, hopefully, should last me a few months (and probably ignoring that said supplies will themselves have to be purchased in containers and trash-able shipping boxes *cough*).  In the meantime, I’ll just stare lovingly at my Whole Foods soap.

It’s just so pretty, see?

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How It Started

It all started with Netflix.  That’s how it always starts, am I right?  Either Netflix or Pinterest – or the trifecta:  Netflix, plus Pinterest, plus photos on Instagram of unrealistic food/fashion/vacations which were, in reality probably taken in a public restroom by someone wearing sweatpants and a three-days-old ponytail.

One night whilst cruising Netflix, I stumbled across the documentary The Minimalists.  And because it’s a concept that I’ve found intriguing for some time now – the idea of getting rid of All The Things so you can live a better, more soul-nourishing life – I sat for the hour and a half or so and watched it.  Aside from it sort of feeling a bit like a new religion, I walked away from the documentary feeling like I could probably pull off a few of the concepts presented by these two fellas and maybe-probably even wind off better off for it.

A few weeks later, my church joined the 21 Days of Prayer movement.  And because I follow my church on Instagram, I scrolled through my feed one morning and saw this:

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That just smarted.  Big Time.  Because I knew my dreams, and I never in a gazillion years imagined anyone would pray for me to achieve them — not even my best friend, who happens to also be my husband.

And then after that moment of total self-absorption, I rightly scolded myself for completely overlooking the purpose of the prayer prompt:  praying for my best friend, for his dreams.

The problem was, I didn’t know exactly what his dreams were.  He doesn’t really talk about such things.  So I asked him, “Husband, what are you dreams?” and a few hours later I received an e-mail with a short list, on which were two items of interest to me:

  • pay off the house debt
  • hike the Appalachian Trail

I realized I did know his dreams.  He did talk about such things.  I just hadn’t been paying attention.  I rightly scolded myself again before taking it to God and praying for my best friend’s wildest dreams to come true.

And then I got to thinking that maybe his “wildest dreams” weren’t all that wild.  I mean, how hard could it be to pay off the house debt?  And, as an added bonus, once we had it paid off, he would mostly likely also be able to live his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail (plus the other stuff on his list that costs loads of money that we currently have tied up in a mortgage).

I gave myself permission to dream of a world in which we lived debt free, my husband and I – something very important to him but which I had completely overlooked because, as I mentioned earlier, I’m much too self-absorbed … and then, because I am self-absorbed, I started to wonder if maybe, just maybe I might be able to start living my dreams as a result of my husband’s dreams coming true …

What are my dreams?

You know that scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast where Belle is twirling on the mountaintop like a nun in the hills of Austria, singing, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere”?

Same.

Since I was ten years old I have had two dreams:  to be a published author and to travel the world.

That’s it.  That’s all I want to do in my life.  Those are my dreams.  Everything else is just icing on the cake – and listen, I have a lot of icing.  I’m crazy-blessed with buttercream, royal, and fondant in the form of healthy children, a lovely house to even have a mortgage on, and a husband who is crazy about me, just for starters.

But if I helped my husband achieve his dreams

Might I also indirectly achieve my own?

And might it not be so terribly self-absorbed to think on such things?  Partnering with your best friend to make dreams happen is really the coolest thing ever, I think.

My husband and I sat down together and discussed what paying off our mortgage would look like, and I began to imagine a world of paring back, slashing costs, and living like a Minimalist diva, intent on “living like no one else, so we can live like no one else”. (Dave Ramsey)

And I liked it.

So the husband and I have made some serious plans, and on top of them I’m looking around at my home and realizing just how ridiculous I’ve been, hanging on to (and buying more) stuff when what I could have been doing all along is living my dreams – with my husband.  I’m already plotting a closet purge and a yard sale in the Spring.  And I’m pondering on things like zero-waste living and eco-friendly meals for a family of five that also set me back only a buck-fifty.  And I’m chewing on what exactly it means to live on less and be grateful for more.  And I’m envisioning a world where my time is spent on meaningful activities like mission trips and laughing with my kids — and praying for my husband.

And I like it.

 

 

The First Post

I’ve started a gazillion-and-one blogs in my forty years*, and each time I begin, I create a really awesome header and set the website up, designing a place for everything and put every Thing in its place ….

And then I just stare at the screen wondering how to actually begin … ultimately abandoning the project.

It’s not that I don’t know my purpose for starting each blog.  It’s that I’m just not always sure how to begin the story so that my readers can jump right in mid-sentence of mid-life, without overwhelming them with back story of such a circuitous manner that it leaves a person sort of … well …. bored or confused or ready to punch something.

But this blog and this First Post marks a time in my life where I’m metaphorically standing alone in a great big field, thigh-high grass in every direction and blue skies as far as the eye can see.  And as I stand there, breathing in clean air, hair whipping around me like Pocahontas on a clifftop (because in this metaphor I have a head full of very long, impossibly thick hair — and also I’m very skinny and very gorgeous), I feel an austere and awe-inspired sense of peace about the entire thing.

This blog is about change.  This blog is about balance.  This blog is about committing to something bigger and simpler than me.  This blog is about learning new ways, about choosing to simplify, about cutting clutter and chaos and cutting expenses to live on less so my family can live for more.  This blog is about paying off our house debt, about focusing on gratitude, about living in the moment and planning for our future.  It’s about getting creative with food and entertainment — and it’s about living.  Y’all, this blog is about living.  The act of breathing in sanity to exhale the  life of dreams: traveling, sending our kids to college, and embracing relationships and adventure and love.

This blog is about the journey.

And that’s all you need to know for now.

Until tomorrow —

* Okay, realistically it’s more like twelve.  Or maybe sixteen and a half.