It’s not about you

I know I have mentioned this before, but I get frustrated at people very easily.  It’s a huge flaw, a giant flaw, a flaw that I really try to work on.  As I try and work through this flaw of mine I have come to realize that I get frustrated at the selfishness of other people.  I just want to yell at people, “it’s not about you”.  The world isn’t about us.  I know its easiest to put ourselves first in this world, but when you think about it we are a blip, each and every person is just a tiny blip in the history of the world.  We should be striving to make the world better instead of trying to make the world serve us.

Don’t get me wrong, i am no saint, i am far far from being  saint.  I am not perfect.  I will never claim to be perfect.  I made a realization a long time ago that I could never be happy if I continued to think I was the center of the world.  I searched a lot for the peace that I felt I needed to be happy and in that search I found the teaching of Buddhism.  I am now a Christian, I have been for about three years, but I still cling to many of the Buddhist philosophies that are actually the philosophies of many religions that have been forgotten or passed over.  The thing that really struck me was that in order to be at peace you need to put others first.  I learned to ask several very important questions, like how are my actions effecting those around me?  Will my actions hurt those around me or hurt myself? is what i want congruent with what is best for the world?  Will I be hurting the Earth? Questions like that.  My answers always came in the form of this; if my actions are hurting myself or my environment then i need to change them, if they are hurting myself then i need to find an alternative that does not hurt others, or perform those actions and take the suffering myself.   It is not in my power to decide that someone else should suffer for my own well being.  I apologize when i have wronged others despite my own pride, and that hurts.  Going against your own pride is very painful.  It’s also cathartic.  The one that I have not been able to get past though is not expecting things from others, or not being upset when others disappoint me,  I think this is where my frustration towards others comes in.  I think I expect everyone to ask themselves these same questions and come up with these same answers.

How has my life changed because of this? I try to be very careful about the things I say about other people.  Do i succumb to mindless gossip?  Oh heck ya.  There are people who annoy the crap out of me and I would love nothing more than to tell everyone about why I don’t like those people, but I know better than that.  I also know that if i did I would have to apologize to them at some point, so I keep those thoughts to myself because I am not ready for that.

I also have dietary restrictions.  They aren’t life threatening, I don’ have an allergy, i will not end up in the hospital, so when I am with other people and they are offering their hospitality in the form of food I forgo my dietary restrictions for their own comfort.  I get upset when I spend time and energy on meals for other people only to have them not eat it for various reasons, I know how much it hurts me and I would never wish that on another person.  I follow my dietary restrictions when i am home but I will never force them on another person.  When people come to my house though they can be sure that 99% of what they are eating is preservative free.

I have very strong beliefs on how the world should work, and how other people should treat each other.  I believe that you should care about yourself and what you put on or in your body.  I do not believe that your own personal beliefs should cause harm to those around you.  A fellow business person caused me to lose quite a few of my clients over a personal belief that she had which she chose to share publicly, not even considering how it would effect my business.  Due to her actions I chose not to purchase from her business.  Do i tell others not to?  No i would never do that.  I know this hurt, I know how it feels for people to take away business and I would never do that to another person, no matter how much I want to.  I also know that someday I will purchase from her again, because I know that it’s what is right, but not while the wound is still fresh.  I don’t need an apology from her, i need to forgo my own hurt pride.

When C started working at his other job, the one that screwed him over, one of the first things he did was get raises for the workers under him because he felt they needed it and deserved it more than him.  They had been there longer and were getting barely over minimum wage.  He could have taken the raise himself, he could have done what other managers have done and take the hours himself and cut his coworkers hours when it got slow, but he didn’t because he knew what was right, and I know that God works things out. if we follow his will and put others first we wont forgo suffering, but He will cover us somehow, and He always has.

Lastly I try to make sure that my own personal beliefs do not damage the environment.  I recycle as much as I can or purchase things in reusable or recyclable containers.  Our family of 4.5 (one is a part time child) produces 1 bag of trash (kitchen bag, not 33 gallon bag) every 2 weeks.  I started looking at our trash and what we were throwing away and realized that I was throwing away a lot of things that could be reusable.  We use cloth diapers for our children.  It takes more energy for me to clean them, but I am not adding to the diaper waste in landfills.  It also only adds an extra $5 of water a month to our bill.  I also don’t wash them in bleach.  I wash everything in a washing soda, borax, and dawn mixture.  It is amazing.  My clothes have never been so clean.  I also clean the house with hot water, white vinegar, and dawn.  We haven’t bought paper towels in over 2 years.  I have a stack of small washcloths I use to clean with.  I also have a stack of softer washcloths i use for baby wipes that i wash with the diapers.  Our milk comes in glass jars, i typically don’t put vegetables in the plastic bags at the grocery store unless they are small and i have to.  We buy very little packaged food and what we do buy the packages are recyclable.  We compost everything that we can, including our Christmas tree once we take it down.

This is where my annoyance for others come in.  I know it’s wrong, I know it’s actually selfish of me to feel this way, but it gets me so aggravated.  I have my personal beliefs, and they are my personal beliefs.  I frustrates me when I watch other people say they share in those beliefs but they do it in a selfish way.  They force others to compensate for those beliefs, they make others feel inferior for not sharing those beliefs, or they only follow the beliefs that directly pertain to themselves and their own well being.  I want to tell them that they missed the point.  it’s not about you.  it’s never about you.  It’s about doing what’s best for the world around you.  You can’t say you love others and in the same conversation put them down or make them feel inferior. it’s a half-assed attempt to do what you know is right.  Have faith that if you do what is right things will still work out in the end.  It will at least bring you peace.

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Christmas Miracles

This time of year has always been really tough on me.  It’s a combination of winding everything down, paying for gifts and all the other Christmas who-ha, my birthday (which is really more of a hassle than anything else, especially since the lovely state of Kentucky likes to make your car taxes and tags due on the last day of your birthday month.  Happy birthday!  pay taxes), stressing about money we don’t have, and wrapping up all the business stuff for both of our businesses.  We usually spend almost the entire month of December looking forward to the next year and how much better IT will be because it must be better than this year.  This year hasn’t been much different, in fact, this year has probably been the most stressful year we have had yet.  From what I understand many people are in the same boat we are in.  From hours being cut, surgeries (which kept me living at the hospital for almost 2 months), stepping down from my position at work, the wedding, kids, being pregnant with our fourth, dealing with breaking down and getting government aid, and adding this project on top of everything (which has really kept us sane), I don’t know how I haven’t completely imploded.  Somehow I have survived.  Not only have I survived, but this has been the best, most productive December in a VERY long time.

I have been losing a lot of sleep in the past two months.  All of the stress of everything, mostly money, has kept me up from about 3-6 most every night.  I pace the house, watch tv, blog, and work on the budget during that time.  Oh, and have massive heartburn.  It’s not pleasant and i wouldn’t wish this sort of insomnia on anyone.

About a month ago I wrote a list, i like lists, i tend to write a lot of them.  This was a different list than I have written before.  It was a “Things that keep me up at night and stress me out” list.  I wrote down everything that I need to have resolved by the end of the year.  This was the list:

Things that keep me up and night and stress me out:

  1. The divorce (my attourney sucks and has taken close to 2 years to finalize my very uncomplicated divorce)
  2. Get our marriage license (we NEED to file taxes as married next year)
  3. C’s job (either make more money or get a new one)
  4. file for partial unemployment
  5. SNAP benefits
  6. Fix baby girl’s insurance

As of Christmas eve EVERY SINGLE ONE of these things had been taken care of.  I wrote a very nasty email to my attorney about how she had assured me multiple times that the divorce would be final by the end of the year and (at the time) there were only 16 days left, half of which were holidays and I needed to know what she planned on doing about it.  I hate being stern with people, or threatening people,  but sometimes you just have to grow a set and take care of it.  Three days later the divorce went through.  The following day we went and got our marriage license, and on Christmas eve the certified license arrived in the mail.  C had a second interview on Christmas eve and got the job which is such a relief for the both of us. We received our SNAP benefits which allowed us to eat for this month.  C applied for partial unemployment, which he only has to take advantage of for the month of December.    Lastly I spent about an hour talking on the phone with 3 different people to fix baby girls insurance.  She should be able to see the doctor again after the 1st of the year which is a HUGE relief for us.

Every time something got checked off the list we would joke about how it was a “Christmas Miracle!!”.  I told C today that it was a God thing.  I know that not everything is going to work out for us, in fact looking at our track record nothing should work out for us.  When it does I give praise where I feel it is deserved.  We also have to thank our friends and family that have helped us along the way too.  We couldn’t have done it without them.  We still have a really long journey ahead of us, but this gives me hope.

I know I have said this before but I’ll say it again, stress IS NOT healthy.  A small amount of stress is healthy, we need it, but not the kind of stress that I was suffering from.  Don’t let yourself go through this.  Making that list of all the stressful things in my life has made a HUGE difference in my mental and physical well being.  I think I am going to continue to do this.  Make a list of the six things I need to have completed by the end of the month and work towards those.  Please don’t let stress get to you like it got to me, figure out how to break your stress down and work on it piece by piece.  We are told at work “eat an elephant one bite at a time”, and it works.  it’s so much better to break things down instead of looking at the giant picture.

Also we currently have $700 saved towards our goal.  I know it’s not quite our goal for this month but it’s better than $400, and based on how this month has gone I’LL TAKE IT!!  Plus we have 5 days left, and 5 days is a long time.

Change the world?

My sister-in-law posed a very interesting question today.  She asked if it was easier, “to change myself to better fit into the world or to change the world to fit me?”.  Which started a really interesting conversation.  My response was “The easiest way to change the world is to change yourself first. To be an example to others and not falter in that when pushed the other way.”  It really got me thinking.

I think it is completely possible for people to change.  Not only to change but to change in major ways in fairly short periods of time.  I think in order to do so the person needs to, either willingly or unknowingly, change their belief system.   With me it happened when I had an experience which made me realize my own mortality.  I have also seen people change from taking a class, going on mission trips, volunteering, or in general doing something that causes them to see their world in a different way.

My epiphany made me realize that I had to stop being selfish.  I had to stop thinking that the world owes me something.  If I wanted to be happy I would have to make that happiness myself instead of blaming everything else around me for not being happy.  I think it’s an essential part of life to change.  If everyone stayed the same then the world would be a very rigid and unfriendly place.

I also believe that changing for the better and sharing that change with others, being an example, can start a change in the world.  One person cannot change the world, but all you really need to do to start a change is make a difference in one persons life.  Help that person see their world differently.  If I honestly didn’t believe that people, or the world, could change I wouldn’t be doing this project.  This isn’t just a selfish endeavor.  I don’t want us to build this property and not share this lifestyle with others.  I want show people how they can break this cycle of consumerism and debt.  I realize that most people aren’t going to change because of our project, but if we can make a difference to one other person, if we can help one other person become self sufficient and reduce stress, it’s totally worth it to me.

Cole slaw and mayo

One of my favorite things to make is homemade mayo.  I love it.  If it’s made right there is nothing else like it, and it can be so super easy.  You can also royally mess it up.

Mayonnaise

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp lemonjuice

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground mustard seed

1 2/3 cup oil (i prefer expeller pressed safflour oil, but you can use any oil you want)

Here comes the difficult part.  Add all ingredients together in a blender except the oil.  Blend together for about 10 seconds.  The lemon juice mixing with the eggs is what is going to help the egg and oil bind together.  While you are blending slowly add the oil for about 10-15 seconds.  once the oil had begun to blend well with the egg mixture you can add it more quickly.  The entire process should take only about 1-2 minutes.  once the oil is added open the blender to make sure you have the right consistency.  if it’s too thick add more lemon juice, if it’s too thin or you can see globules of oil blend more, but only in about 5-10 second increments.

What I love about this recipe is that you can add whatever you want to it.  I’ve added wasabi, sriracha, avacado, whatever you want, and it’s so super yummy.

I like to use the mayo on, well, basically everything, but my favorites are chicken salad, tuna salad, and of course cole slaw.  I hated cole slaw as a kid.  It was one of my mom’s favorite foods and I thought it was so gross.  Now that’s I’m an adult though I absolutely love it, and its really good for you (comparatively speaking).  I like to make it many different ways too, but here is my basic recipe:

Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage shredded, or cut into small strips (or about 2-3 cups shredded broccoli stems or brussel sprout leaves, or collard greens, or whatever green thing you want to use, it’s so super flexible)

1/2 onion, chopped

2-3 carrots, shredded

Mix these in a bowl

Slaw Dressing

2/3 cup homemade mayo

3 tbsp natural sour cream (or you can use more mayo)

3 tbsp white vinegar

2 tbsp raw sugar (or you can use honey)

1 tsp ground mustard seed

salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in a bowl, toss with the vegetables.  I usually let it sit in the fridge overnight but you can also eat it right away.  Enjoy!!! it’s so super yummy

I am eating these tonight with my Fish Tacos

Budgeting

I’m gonna get down and dirty here.  One thing that I have been very guilty of is being overly optimistic about money.  To be completely truthful, we have none.  However, when we DO have some we tend to be a little less strict on our spending than we typically are.  I think that’s fairly typical of people in our position.

I am going to be completely truthful about our budgeting right now, as i think we all should be.  I think we all give this air of “everything is ok” and that’s not ok.  We need to share our burdens with someone, it’s not healthy to live with that sort of stress.  I’m not just talking about money either, i mean at all, in all circumstances.  Maybe you have money but you are lonely, or are having stress in an area that you really shouldn’t be handling on your own.  Talk to someone, please.  Stress is not healthy.

This is our current budget:

$750 rent

$200 electric

$185 cell phones

$80 internet

$25 water

$85 car insurance

$200 gas for the car

$15 for trash (we pay $45 every three months)

then we have various other bills we pay whenever we have a little extra money

Thankfully we don’t have to worry about food anymore, although our food budget was never very large anyway.  We were given $277 for food every month, although they gave us a month and a half to start.  We have a full fridge and enough food to last us into the new year.  The only thing we have to buy before then is the fresh vegetables.  That’s it, and we still have over $200 left over to go into next month.  I am thrilled.

We end up paying about $1540 a month in just basic bills and getting to and from work.  C typically makes about $1500 when he is working full time.  At the moment he is making closer to $800, which basically means we barely pay our rent.  We also get $360 from my sons disability and i bring in about $600 from my work.  right now we are basically scrounging to make things work, but we are still somehow able to save even little bits for our project.  As it stands right now we probably aren’t going to end the month with $1500, but $1000 still looks very doable.  We had great success with our fundraiser, which was really exciting and encouraging.  This is my one stress, money.  The thing that keeps us up at night.

Our landlord has been awesome and has allowed us to pay our rent in two segments during the month.  We paid our second segment yesterday.  After we got home C got a call from the property manager telling us he had to come over and bring us something.  For about 30 minutes we were very freaked out that we would be getting an eviction notice.  When he showed up at the door with a giant ham we just about cried.  It was pretty amazing.

The point of this is: it’s ok to open up about your struggles.  It’s ok to say, “we barely make our budget every month”.  it’s ok.  We plan on being very open with our budget not only through this whole process but from now on.  We need to be in order to do what we want to do and teach people to stop being victims and start taking control of their lives and their finances.

This is our ultimate plan:

$450 mortgage payment ($50,000 at 15 years)

$185 phone

$80 internet

$85 car insurance

$200 gas for car

Which would be about $1000 for everything.  This is a prediction of the amount we will be spending but we are hoping to be able to build the house with only a $20,000 loan, which would be closer to $250 a month.  Plus our cell phones and internet should really be paid for by our businesses.  Once again we are not counting food, however, buy this point we really shouldn’t be spending much on outside food.  We will be spending money on growing our own but we aren’t sure yet what that will cost.  Nothing near what we are currently spending though.

That’s a little more than one of C’s current paychecks to pay for everything.  That’s exciting for me to think about.  This is what makes me press on.  We shouldn’t be making enough to survive, we shouldn’t be working to pay bills and everything else falls to the wayside.  That’s not a life.  That’s not living.  We want to LIVE and show other people how to live as well.

Christmas

Christmas is such a stressful time of year for me.  Not just because you somehow have to scrounge together enough money to have a decent christmas (which for us means a tree, and two gifts for each child, one from us and one from santa), but also because it is the slow season at C’s work so we have to do everything on a shoe string budget.  We also have to wrap up everything we need done before the end of the year.  This year I have had to deal with a lot of government stuff.  I hate government stuff.  Not to mention that the government shuts down for about 2 weeks right before the new year so everything has to be completed before, well, basically today.  The two offices we need will be open next monday and tues, and the 29th.  So yay, lets complete everything in 3 short days with one car.

You know that things are bad when you have a list called “Things that are causing me stress which is why I am not sleeping”, and only 2 things out of 7 have been crossed off that list.  I am really concerned that we wont be able to pay our rent let alone save anything this month.  The good news is that unemployment came through for C so that will hopefully make some sort of a difference.  I have heartburn.

I seem to always have this breakdown around this time every month.  it’s that freak out period where I have no clue how any of this is going to come together, but I have faith that it will.  I have learned that in situations like these faith is about all you can have because I really spend most of my time holding my breath waiting for things to happen.  For people to come through, for the usual disappointment of C’s paycheck, for just things in general. I can’t predict the future.  I don’t know if C will get a bonus this year, or how much it will be.  If we will get an unemployment check and how much it will be.  If C will get paid enough to pay bills.  I can sit and worry (which I do about 3-5 hours out of the day), or i can have faith that God has a plan and things will work out if I keep plugging along.  So i’ll keep plugging along.

Money is no God to have

I am learning a lot about this journey as we strive closer to our goal.  I find it amazing how this isn’t just a piece of land, or a house, or a dream, it’s a life choice that will not only change us but also hopefully change those around us.

A lot has happened in the past two weeks to drive us even closer to this goal.  We are moving in May, period.  Things may happen but we will figure it out, we always do, but we have to move in May.  We can no longer live the life that we are living.  It’s not healthy for me, for C, and definitely not for our kids.  I do not want to raise my kids in the situation we are in now.  They deserve better than this.

I am going to get religious here, and I’m sorry if I offend people but I feel this has to be said.  I have spent too many years getting more and more frustrated with the way America is going.  At bible study the other night we were watching a video, a woman was giving a sermon and in it she said that as Christians it was our duty to vote for the politicians that held up good Christian moral values, and as soon as she said it I laughed.  I couldn’t stop myself.  Those politicians don’t exist anymore. If we were to truly follow what she was saying nobody would vote for anyone.  We are told as Christians that we are to worship no other God, and have no idols, but we do have idols.  Money is our God.  I hear time and time again from people that we are a Christian nation, well aside from the obvious religious freedom aspect of America, we will also NEVER be a Christian nation because we worship money. If you took any politician and gave him the choice between money and what is good for the people they would chose money hands down.  That isn’t the world that I want to live in, nor is it the world I want my children to live in.

I absolutely love my church family, we are a small church, very close knit, and for the first time I feel like I am in a church family that strives to live by Jesus’s teachings, to love others as He loved us.  I get so frustrated watching Christians today hide behind the mask of being Christian as a reason why they should get away with not following that command.  It’s very hard for me to be in close relationship with people who think only of themselves and how they can gain from other people or situations.  I want to scream, “It’s not about you”.  Stop trying to manipulate situations to be in your best interest.  Take a step back and look at the situation as a whole.  How will your actions effect not only yourself but those around you.  What consequences are going to come from this.  Are other people going to be hurt in the process or just you? Stop putting your best interests in front of others, that is not the Christian way.  That’s not the way of any religion.  As much as it pains me, and as much as I have to swallow my pride time and time again, I would much rather do what is best for the greater good and take the hit myself than gain from my actions and watch others suffer.  I couldn’t live with myself.

We don’t want to be a slave to money anymore.  We don’t want to have to put money ahead of people, and i feel sad for those who do.  Money is no God to have.  It will only make you miserable.

Our first fundraiser

We have begun our first fundraising event.  It’s through social media and it’s called: Buy a gift and help build a house.  It going really well so far.  We have raised $83.  Our goal is to raise $500 and we have 7 days left.  The way it works is people order things from either my business or C’s business and 100% of the profits go towards the down payment on the land.  Asking people for help is one of the hardest things.  I hate doing it, but I know if I don’t ask, if i don’t share our goal with other people, it wont generate the excitement it needs to get it finished.  So here we are, in our first fundraiser of many.  Wish me luck and let me know if you want to help!

It’s ok to ask for help

I am going to get a LOT of flack for this.  I understand that this is a very hot topic, and I also understand the internal struggle C and I face everyday because of these decisions.

C and I have applied for public assistance.  We are now getting SNAP, he is applying for partial unemployment now that his job cut him down to under 20 hours a week, and we had help paying our heating bill this month.  We will continue to get these benefits until a) C gets a better job b) C starts working 30+ hours at his current job again or c) we move.

Now here is where the moral dilemma comes in.  We know we have $400 put aside for buying this land.  We COULD use that money to pay our bills.  That would still only leave us about $50 for food for the month, but it’s there, we have it.  This is also why I put the money somewhere where I cannot get to it.  If we use this money we will never et out of our current situation.  Here is our justification for this.  We have paid in to the system for years.  We are only needing it to help us for maybe 6 months.  is it better to use the benefits for a short period of time while we save money to better ourselves, or live on the edge of poverty our entire lives?  I am going to go with the former.  I think that’s what assistance should be, to help you through the hard times so you can better yourself.  We are moving in May, period.  Right now the ONLY way that is going to happen is if we ask for help.  Once that happens not only will we be out of the system, never to be on it again, but we will be teaching other people to do the same thing.  To me that’s a win/win situation.  The way that I see it people living in poverty have 3 options.  1) continue to live in poverty and in the system 2) “get a better job” which as we are proving is not as easy as it sounds or 3) learn to get out of it by learning to do things for themselves and not having massive bills to pay.  For me i would much rather do the later.

Little Girl Dreams

It is so fun to watch kids dream. Kids dream without limitations. It’s something that we somehow lose along the way as we grow up.

I know a lot of my friends and family have watched me mess up throughout the years. Time and time again they have watched me do something with excitement only to see me be absolutely miserable once I get there. I know that many of them think that much of what I do is to please the person I am with. I am sure you know someone who plays the chameleon, or have done it yourself. Ever changing trying to find out who they are based on who they are trying to get to love them. I get that, and I get the skepticism surrounding it too.

I have spent my entire adult life, and most of my pre adult life trying to be the right person because somehow the person I wanted to be wasn’t good enough. I was told by family, teachers, school mates, friends, professors, lovers, who I SHOULD be instead of being encouraged to be who I was.

Now that I am a parent I sit back and watch my kids, and their friends, and my friends kids, going through the same thing. We do this to our children because we somehow feel that it’s what is best for them. We mold them into who we think they should be. This is fine in terms of manners, how they should treat people, normal functioning in today’s world, but it’s not ok when it comes to their dreams.

I look at my sister and I admire her. She always knew what she wanted to do. She was encouraged to do it, but she was also just as discouraged as I was. She did it anyway. Despite everything she did it anyway. I always thought that because of that she was somehow better than me, that I had to be more like her, but I didn’t. The difference is that I am a people pleaser where she isn’t. It was more important for me to have friends and have people like me than it was to follow my dreams.

It took me almost 30 years to remember my dream. I was talking about sustainability when I was in first grade. If you asked me then what I wanted to do with my life I would have told you about the farm I was going to have. It was going to have cows, pigs, lots of chickens, a goat, and a garden. We were going to live off the land an grow all of our own food. I was excited about this. I thought this kind of life was fascinating. The problem is, it’s not a life that will make you rich. It’s not a life that fits the “norm”, especially not when you are living right outside DC. instead of being encouraged I was told “oh so you want to be a vet?” “Why don’t you become a doctor?” “You could probably cure diseases!” “People don’t live like that anymore” and my favorite “are you sure thats what you want to do? That’s a lot of hard work”. Like anything else in this works isn’t hard work?!? Was I somehow not a hard worker?

So I went to college, got my awesome degree in ecology. I fought getting a biology degree for the first 2 years because I didn’t want to do what everyone expected me to do. I was afraid then I might have to be a doctor. And by the way I would make the worlds worst doctor ever. I would be like House. I can’t stand most sick people, but that’s a whole other blog.

I then moved to Kentucky. I moved there not for opportunity in my field but because the person i loved most wouldn’t move out of Kentucky for me. I moved there with no real dream other than to get married, and girls, that’s not a dream. That’s something you do along the way. I got married, moved into a subdivision, got a typical job, and hated my life. I hated every minute of it.

When I turned 30 I guess I hit a quarter life crisis. I quit my job to work from home and started doing the things I did (or wanted to do) as a child. I started making my own clothes again, grew a garden, and started to let go of the expectations everyone had for me. I started to get a life for myself again. After a lot of trying to get square pegs to fit into round holes I left my life. I left my husband (yet another long story for another day), I left my house, and I started over.

I may have come to where I am by moving backwards, but I am where I am by finally fighting through the expectations everyone has for me. I know there are a lot of people very close to me who still think this is stupid, or I haven’t thought it through enough, or I an just doing what C wants to do, or whatever. The difference is that now I am surrounding myself not with people I want to like me but people who already do and who are supporting me in this dream. It is a much bigger dream than most people realize.

I look back and wonder what I could have done with my life if I had fought through the negativity and been encouraged more to follow crazy little kid dreams. There is so much I can do with myself now. There is no reason why I can’t teach sustainability to others. The homesteading community here is huge and it’s only growing. I have the background, experience, and motivation to really help other people move into this lifestyle. C is all for it too. He talks about potentially growing the property into someplace where people can experience this kind of lifestyle and realize that they can do even little things to change the world. We have the potential in making a really big difference to the world without having to sacrifice the things that make me happy, and I get to share it with someone I love. My seven year old self would be very proud of me.