Hello April, Please Be Kind

I have debated for days whether I should write this post. Every time I sit down to write I have at least ten ideas on the go vying for my attention. So if I take the time to write about how difficult the month of March was those other ideas get set aside and wait that much longer to be published. Ideas that I think might be more helpful for you, more encouraging, more inspiring, more applicable to your life than my March reflections.

But FIMBY is very much a personal and family journal. It is my story. And today my March struggles win the writing lottery.

I don't even know where to start so let's start at the beginning. The beginning of March specifically.

We welcomed the month with a very difficult Sunday ski (and you thought all our outdoor days were bliss). There were some bad attitudes (mine included), a lot of hard work and in the end some very soul searching questions asked. I'm reminded of the transformational work we went through together three summers ago.

That difficult ski was a catalyst for revisiting the "What are we doing with our lives?" question. You'd think we'd have answered that already, seeing as we made a huge change last year in leaving Maine and moving here to give us the freedom to explore what we want to do with our lives.

We have answered that question in part. We know what our broad purpose and mission is in life. We know what our values are, how we tick, what we love. We know who we are. But prior to this move we didn't have the freedom to merge mission and identity together. We moved so we could do that. Now we are faced with the work of building that.

This questioning hit Damien harder than me since my mission is very much wrapped up raising and educating our kids. Feeding our family. The work I offer to the world at large comes out of the work I do at home.

This month Damien and I have been asking ourselves this - if you're not working to build a career, to gain fame and fortune, to put in x amount of years so you put your kids through college and then retire (ie: our sole purpose in working and living is not to save enough for college and retirement just so someone can repeat the cycle all over again) what are you working for?

In other words, aside from putting food on the table and having a roof over our heads and a few extra funds for fun and saving for the future - what is the point?

And if your goal is to live with less, then how much is enough? What do we really need?

Those are the questions at the tip of the iceberg but what it comes down to is this - we need to craft, on paper, our family mission - in more specific terms than we have done up till this point.

We know why we moved. To give us freedom. Now that we've got that we're in a "what now?" state. We need a clearer roadmap than we've had up till this point. The old roadmap of raise the babies, work to support the babies (& their mother), and do the things we love as much as possible (integrating the raising, working and loving as much as possible) doesn't serve us any longer.

Talking about this stuff (questioning and rejecting societal norms, dealing with our "baggage", defining success, etc.) and writing an actual mission statement is not as easy as some people would have you believe. I feel rocked to my foundations. And it's scary. I'm in a whole new place of losing control and surrender. Scary times two.

I feel a bit disoriented and on shaky ground. Not with the important stuff like who I am and who loves me but in coming to terms with the life we feel called to live. This insecurity is probably just going to be the way of it for a few years in my life. I say this with a touch of irony knowing I will probably struggle with this my whole life.

Hokey Dinah. And that was supposed to be just the introduction!

So from rocky place add the following factors:

  • A client who hasn't paid us for weeks and the significant hit our bank account has suffered because of it. Belt tightening to the max. One of my security crutches is money in the bank. I don't even like spending it. I just want it in the bank. This is a huge growth curve for me. To let go of my tight grip on financial security. Financial security is an illusion and this is a lesson I know I need to learn but it is so hard to learn it. And of course the only way you learn it is trial by fire. And fire it is.
  • We need to leave our chalet the end of May. This was always the deal and we've been looking for another place to rent since we moved here. We haven't found one yet. The ease at which we found this chalet astounds me (it was God thing) because finding another place to rent has proven very difficult. We have opened ourselves to all kinds of options, including spending the summer in Quebec City renting an apartment. (Significant travel is out of the question because of the previous point). Next to a healthy bank account having a place to call home is one of my other security measures. I'm a homemaker. A homemaker needs a home.
  • Tax time. We honestly have no idea how the tax situation will shake out for us and if there's a big bill we're not exactly sure how we'll pay that either. We moved three times last year (2 different countries, three different states/provinces). We own a rental in Maine. We started a business (all our paid work is under that umbrella). It's messy and complicated and March has been about getting everything ready for the accountants. A significant stress for Damien.

It's no wonder it's been a difficult month. The foundations have been rocked. What are we doing with our life? How will we buy groceries next week? Where will we live? And life's inevitable reckoning - taxes - looming large on the horizon.

On the upside I birthed a small e-book. Yes, that was a very vulnerable experience during a particular insecure time for me but the support and encouragement I have felt around that project have been such a blessing to me this month. And book sales have helped to pay for said groceries (even though we were hoping to earmark those funds for other things, like taxes!). You fed our kids! You'll be happy to know they're eating their veggies.

To my credit I stayed the course with our homeschool practice. I need to give myself pats on the back now and then. This wasn't easy but like I wrote in my Simple Homeschool article we have moved into a homeschooling stage that requires a new level of personal diligence on my part. I have a lot to learn and model.

Life will never "settle down" (that's also an illusion) and I can't wait for that day to come to attend to my middle school aged children's education. The relationship and learning dynamics change as children grow, there's no getting around that. This new stage requires more personal discipline for me. Ouch.

Speaking of personal discipline, because the month wasn't hard enough to begin with (smile), I decided to fast from all sweeteners. My tendency is to turn to chocolate or some other little hit during struggles. I didn't want to to do that. I don't like the way it makes me feel. This made the month that much more depressing, the lack of "pick me ups".

You know, when I write it all out it's no wonder I cried as much as I did this month. I'm going through some serious personal growth. And it hurts. To let go of previous expectations, to loosen my grip on illusionary security, to open myself to more change. And to come closer to accepting the only thing constant is change and the ground will always be shifting under my feet. (Oh, but I do dig my heals on this point.)

I thought I was done with painful personal growth for a while. Maybe I'd arrived. (You can already see where this is going.) We had packed up our family, downsized our life, said goodbye to friends and a place I loved (and good library service). And our prize is not Nirvana but more growth! I am tempted to laugh at my naivety but I'm trying to be kinder to myself. Another thing I need to learn.

I realize that the personal growth I've already gone through in the past couple years - the self study (working my way through publishing that), the letting go and uprooting, the big move - was simply setting the stage for this next level. Like peeling the layers of an onion. And just like working with onions, the process makes me cry.

Some of us think if we just do the right things or walk the right path we an avoid the pain of personal growth. Not so my friend.

Life is going to demand of you that you grow and change - regularly. Motherhood teaches us that, so do the seasons, which are never static. Either you accept that (and some of us even invite that growth by actively living outside the box) or fight against it. And in this case resistance really is futile.

Short of avoidance, or rather when we've tried avoidance and it hasn't worked, we think maybe we just need to read the right books, the right Bible verses, practice yoga, find our center, pray, have the right mindset, keep a gratitude journal, meditate and we'll unlock the key to understanding and living gracefully through personal growth.

If a perfect practice exists, I haven't found it yet, the secret to rising above it all. It seems I'm destined to go through these times of growth with a lot of thrashing around. It doesn't look pretty. It looks pretty on the blog because I'm taking photos of the beauty. I'm literally choosing to focus on that.

That's not to say these practices haven't helped me this past month. They have, but they don't take away the tearing, stretching, breaking down and building back up again. But perhaps they make it more bearable?

This weekend Damien directed me to this excellent article on change and resilence. And I see this process happening in my own life right now. The growing into new things. There's no going back. "The thing that we call “health” is not a steady state that we can return to, it is a process of forward motion."

On Saturday morning I listened to Sylvia Boorstein and Krista Tippett talk about nurturing (something we need to do during times of stress). And near the end of that interview Krista shares these words of Sylvia's. A mantra of sorts to help during times of personal growth and pain. I wrote it down.

Sweetheart, you're in pain. Relax, take a breath. Let's pay attention to what is happening. Then we'll figure out what to do.

I love these words.

I alse love the words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. I think a lot of people misjudge the Bible having never read it or encountering people who unintentionally misrepresent the words therein (raising my hand here). Ecclesiastes is a book for a time of struggle and questioning. A time of doubt. It's a book for March.

Ever asked yourself "what's the point?" Check out Ecclesiastes. I'm thinking our mission in life may be to eat, drink and be merry. Although Jesus' words (his basic message of losing your life to find it) do sometimes throw a wrench into that plan. Solomon? Jesus? Solomon? Jesus? Maybe a bit of both.

~~~

This is as far as I got my first morning of writing about March (I spend 2 hours every weekday morning writing). Then a couple more things happened yesterday that I had to include before I turn the page on March and welcome April, open armed.

I went for a walk and as I was gearing up I shared with Damien the essense of this post.

And I realized something, in that brief conversation, chatting with my husband in the middle of the day, at home together. This is the life I want to life and I'm actually living it. The big picture is sometimes hard but the moments building upon moments to make the whole have been beautiful.

Yes March was difficult, the ground is shaking, but every day, or nearly every day, I lived the things I'm called to do. The things I want to do. And there is meaning in that living. In the writing, cooking, reading, learning, sharing, being outdoors, exercising, educating, connecting, creating, contributing to our community, taking care of our home.

And there is meaning in the telling of it. 

Later in the day while I was cutting veggies for supper I listened to another Krista Tippett interview, this time with Kevin Kling. (I warned you I'd be linking to her again and again). And I was comforted and encouraged.

Tears are ok (of course they are!). I'm not the only one who feels torn between two worlds. That being a cracked pot (a crack pot?) is ok.

And that there is a purpose for these type of blog posts. Because when I tell my story these circumstances don't control me anymore. And perhaps it is possible to grow through loss and change with humor and grace.

So April I welcome you with open arms. I love your sunshine and blue skies. Thank you for sending the robins and the red winged blackbirds. Harbingers of spring and rebirth.

Some woodland wildflowers would be special treat, though you'll need to melt the snow first. And if it's not too much to ask, payment for what we're owed would be nice. As would a place to live when we have to move at the end of May.

Short of that I will try to be content with our daily bread and the promise of transformation and new life.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • MJP

    MJP on April 4, 2012, 2:26 p.m.

    Renee, I am so glad you decided to write this post. One particular phrase in the middle has just provided the key to something I have been struggling with. To describe the whole situation would take up far too much comment space, but suffice to say that you have made a huge difference in my life today! The final solution is not clear yet, but I feel like I have broken through a locked door in my brain and am now standing in a new room with several more new doors to explore. THANK YOU!

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  • Jill

    Jill on April 4, 2012, 3:57 p.m.

    Renee --

    Thank you so much for your honest post! I feel have stumbled upon your blog at just the right moment in my journey. I'm wondering about the article that Damien referred you to about change and resilience. The link doesn't seem to work. Could you post the link to the article?

    Thank you.

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  • Kika@embracingimperfection

    Kika@embracingimperfection on April 4, 2012, 4:19 p.m.

    Goodness. Through and through. Honestly, please write a book one day. A whole, big, paper book. I would buy it.

    I knew in my spirit that change was coming (though had no idea what that would look like) this year and I opened myself up to it. And then it arrived. Piece by piece. And I have been wrestling against it ever since:) But the deep down truth is, I do want the change and the growth that comes with it. I do want to be free of fear and my attachements to false-securities.

    I have said this so many times, but I LOVE how you walk us through the process of your working through real issues in life - let us get inside of them, and feel alongside you.

    I, too, am happy that spring is here (sunshine makes everything feel better) but the challenges do not magically disappear at this point.

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  • Natalia

    Natalia on April 4, 2012, 4:45 p.m.

    another big thanks for this post - March has been one of those months for us too (see my lack of blog posts to underline just how hard holding it together has been). But, along with your awesome little ebook, you are inspiring me to get my act together! Thanks Renee

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  • Renee A.

    Renee A. on April 4, 2012, 5:39 p.m.

    Whew,was that a post! I loved it... I always love each and every post of yours. While I'm not going through your exact struggles, I am going through my own right now...trying to find money to move my children and myself out of state and wondering just who on earth will help us make the 15+ hour move since we don't know anybody here. I plan to start my life all over again in my mid 30's and wish I would have seen the future so I could have planned for this. My husband is consumed with the need to keep up with the Jones's at any cost and it surely will cost him his family. I long for a simple life and just enjoying the few years I have with my kids before they are off to get married. I had become a slave to the department stores and felt that the stuff would bring me happiness, yet I sit at a house filled with stuff that hasn't brought me any happiness, but instead is bringing me misery to have to go through it and sell it to get money to move. I agree with you about how we shouldn't be working just to save for college and retirement...college can be costly and what if your kids go through all the money and decide to do something else and what if you die early having not lived life with your family b/c you were too busy working to save money for retirement? I agree we should enjoy what we have and not be a slave to what society says we should be doing...Americans work so much that they don't even take all their vacation days... what happened to time with your family? I'm sure you and your family will make it through...something will come along at the last minute and you will be telling us how it was so close and that you were afraid you wouldn't have a place to go to. Keep the faith and know that God is there for you in your time of need, he won't let you and your family down. I'm also sorry to hear about the deadbeat client....I wonder if he/she is able to sleep at night peacefully knowing how he is hurting a family financially.... or maybe he has his own problems,too, one never knows.I'm sure you will eventually get your money back... it may not be from that person, but through something else. I always enjoy the honesty of your blog and I sometimes decieve myself with how awesome your life must be when I see such lovely photos all the time.Of course, you do have loads of great memories with your family, but like us all we have our bad times,too,it's only natural.We all have our struggles and we all find a way to get through them and it's always better to go through the tough times with someone who loves you than all alone so you can help support and encourage one another.Unfortunately we don't know how things will turn out till we go through them, but God knows and so we have to keep our faith in him that he will let us all come through these bad times of ours. You sound like you're almost at the rock bottom with it coming to the end of your chalet stay,tight finances,etc, so there's no other way to look but up at this point.Don't give up hope and try to be patient with one another is the only advice I can give. I will also be looking through your links....which I love when you share them...I don't do twitter,so have probably missed out on a lot, but I need to spend time with my kids, not another site. :) I think I may have typed a reply longer than your post. :) Anyways, I hope it all works out for the best for you all...I doubt the owner of the chalet would make you leave without a new home to go to...who could be that cruel? I hope all your days to come are wonderful and lead to more happiness. By the way, if you know of any single homeschool mom bloggers that are creative and successful,please share the blog name as I could really use the encouragement right now,thanks!

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  • Ginger Allman

    Ginger Allman on April 4, 2012, 5:51 p.m.

    Oh Renee, I'm so very glad you shared this today. Our life paths have so many parallel elements. We also are having cash-flow problems due to a client who didn't pay. We also deal with the uncertainty of this unconventional life we have chosen. Reading your words helped me see that the gnawing fear in the pit of my stomach over the past few months isn't just my own neurosis but a natural result of choosing my own path and that others feel it too. I do try to remind myself that worry does not correspond to solution and that everything always works out anyway. St. Julian of Norwich said, "…All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" She was right. And in the meantime we reap the benefits of a life well chosen. So many people abdicate their choices. Take comfort in knowing you're not one of them.

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  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on April 4, 2012, 6:56 p.m.

    Oh, give thanks to the cracked pots in our lives or at least to those who are admitting that they are and sharing the post. The dance that you describe is some of the struggles that we have been through as a family in the last few years - financially depressing, moving back and forth, questioning and redefining success. I have a half written post on just this and am finding it hard to finish it:-) Thank you for publishing this. It's beautiful but mostly for me totally inspiring. It's all part of the dance - sometimes it flows, sometimes it squeezes, sometimes we fall flat on our face. Keep dancing:-)

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  • Jessica

    Jessica on April 4, 2012, 10:22 p.m.

    I am so thankful for you. I read a handful of blogs that I love but always find myself most compelled to comment on yours. So much to soak up here. I will be reading this again to absorb this glimps into your journey because it intersects me on my own.

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  • Ashley

    Ashley on April 4, 2012, 11:18 p.m.

    The words of Ecclesiastes brought me great hope in a very dark time. Gave me the freedom to allow myself to "eat, drink and be merry". I appreciate your honesty. :)

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  • michelle

    michelle on April 5, 2012, 1:07 a.m.

    I found your blog today through another blog and I've enjoyed reading your posts so much (I was reading through your vegan and homeschooling posts). I am a homeschooling mom to 7 and I've been a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) for almost 20 yrs. I was inspired by some of your healthy meal ideas, so thank you for that:) I have to tell you, I really loved this post above. I love when bloggers are honest. I am going through some similar things as you are, and I can relate to what you wrote (we run a small home business and are dreading the tax bill too). Life is just so hard sometimes, no matter who you are or what your circumstances are. I wish better times on you and your family, and just...Thank You for your wonderful blog that inspires others.

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  • Ann

    Ann on April 5, 2012, 1:21 a.m.

    I recently happily found your blog. I homeschool. I am an artist, My husband is an artist. I am 53 with a 13 year old daughter. It's hard. It is always hard. And scary. But if I could leave you with one response it would be that everything is already okay :-)

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  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz on April 5, 2012, 3:26 a.m.

    You know, I don't like reading long posts, but I nearly always read yours. I'm in a very different situation but I feel very much the same way! I wanted to mention that as I read through I had a thought "Most people don't experience this much personal growth in 90 years as you have in however old you are". :) I think it always helps to think that we are the ones stuck here in this thing called time, for God though everything just IS and He helps us step back to see ourselves in this moment in time - that's when we realize what really matters.

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  • Dahlia

    Dahlia on April 5, 2012, 3:37 a.m.

    Thank you for your honesty & sharing this with your readers. This reminds me of the saying "Wherever you go, there you are." After two cross-country moves, I learned that the hard way myself. Best of luck on your journey going forward. I love your blog, the insight & recipes you have shared in Heather Bruggeman's Whole Foods course and your e-book, which I'm enjoying reading right now!

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  • Amiee

    Amiee on April 5, 2012, 3:42 a.m.

    Your heartfelt words did my heart good! I want you to know how often your writing soothes my soul...to know I'm not alone. Last night I listened to the Sylvia Boorstein talk on nurturing and I found that line to be so helpful. It was so helpful that I paused it right there and had a good cry.

    Following your heart is worth pressing through the fears. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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  • Teri

    Teri on April 5, 2012, 4:19 a.m.

    These words really resonate with me as my family has been in the middle of serious change and shifting. We've been visioning and making a big life decision for almost 2 years now, and it's exhausting. I am feeling so ready to move forward. But I love what you wrote about your process of moving and creating a new life, and still grappling with life's big questions. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on April 5, 2012, 1:38 p.m.

    Renee, I can really relate! I thought I was done with painful personal growth for a while! Love this sentence... said it many times myself... but I also, like you, put myself in situations of personal growth thinking that it will be easy and that it will flow... A very simple practice (too simple?)that has helped me tremendously is to make positive affirmations all day (I am so happy to be so free, to have found this great new place to live, to be so present, etc. And listening to Eckart Tolle's The power of now, over and over again. Letting go of the mind, that we are not our thoughts, etc. Sometimes, we spend so much time stuck in our thoughts, spinning in the mud, when we really only need to step out of the mind.

    Also, going sugar-free is tough. Psychologicall, but especially physically. The brain is supposed to work on glycogen, it needs sugar to work. When we cut sugar from our diet, we force it to work much harder to change the fat into fuel and when we are undercarbed we are depressed. Renee, I CURED my depression by going High-carb-low-fat raw vegan. I live off fruits and greens and have never been better. I know you are talking about refined sugar (honey, maple syrup and all the rest of it), but make sure you eat tons of fruits, this is what makes us feel human. Please listen to some talks by Dr. Graham on you tube (one is called we have a sweet tooth for a reason). Lovexxx

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    • renee

      renee on April 5, 2012, 1:43 p.m.

      I wasn't restricting fruits and veggies - at all. I do believe we are drawn to sweets for a reason but reaching for the wrong ones is detrimental to our bodies. I'm actually very intrigued with raw, my brother and sister-in-law are eating lots of raw these days and my mother in law gave me a raw cookbook for my birthday. I'm looking at ways to incorporate more raw into our diets, besides our huge salads at lunch. I'm not convinced about 100% raw but I do think we need more raw in our diet. But there is only so much I can tackle at one time. And right now, with everything else so shaky I'm on autopilot in the kitchen. 

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay on April 6, 2012, 5:33 a.m.

    It was so refreshing to read this blog post - especially because my husband and I are also in a time of great personal growth. We are learning to live on (a lot) less since we quit the rat race and my husband started his own home-based business. We are searching for a new home. We have just added another baby to the mix in a time of financial upheaval and on the brink of an impending move. We are on a bit of a roller coaster, always examining our motives and questioning ourselves - are we making the right choices? Why do the right choices feel so damned hard sometimes?

    Blessings to you on your journey. Here's to a bright and beautiful April!

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  • Leslie

    Leslie on April 6, 2012, 4:48 p.m.

    Oh Renee! This totally hit home with me on so many levels. Growth. The pain of growth. but the opposite of growth is stagnation and so we have to keep growing. always. I thought maybe I was done, too, thought maybe I had "arrived" somewhat to a place of coasting. Until January hit. January was my March and it rocked me to my core. I'm still reeling from it and growing through it and seeing that this process will never end. This is life and this is what we're called to - to never stop growing and growing pains hurt. Love to you for this April. Here's to hoping April brings a bit of a respite from the pain, and more ability to see, like, you say here, the beauty in it all - the moments of realizing - I'm living the life I've always wanted! Today, I am living it! - grabbing that moment with all you have and holding on for dear life. Much love and hugs from Costa Rica xo

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  • Maria Calia

    Maria Calia on April 7, 2012, 1:01 p.m.

    I have just recently begun following your blog and have found it very inspiring during a dark time in my life. After this post and seeing how even though you have gone through a rough month you can continue to be upbeat and encouraging to others. It has made me realize that my current issues are minor, not less important because for me they are, but it has helped me put things into perspective. Your question of what your puropose is...somedays it can be seen while others there is uncertainty as to my life purpose. Thank you for your insite and contribution it has lifted me up to a lighter place when all I could see is dark. When a seed or a bulb starts out it starts in the dark and when feed nourishment will grow towards the light, Thank you for being that light for so many of us!

    Always,

    Maria

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  • Melissa R

    Melissa R on April 9, 2012, 1:18 p.m.

    I am thinking quite a bit about this today. I sent your post to my husband as well.

    What is nagging at me is that you consciously made changes to your life and yet you aren't "there" yet. Is there a "there"? On one hand, sure, there's always a journey, always room for change/improvement/growth. But, why can't there just be a "I've arrived". Why does there always have to be another hill on the horizon. In so many ways I feel I have arrived. I have so much of what I've wanted. Yes, there are things that aren't quite what I wish yet (like hubby working way too much) but so much of what I want, I have.

    I know what some of my life goals are and what some aren't. Really quickly, and not all inclusive at all...

    Goals: for my child to have freedom and choices for my child to not sit in a brick building (we homeschool) for my child to be able to THINK, critically, creatively for my family to be together for me to have enough peace to keep me charged (I am an introvert and time with others, even pleasant time, drains me) for me to enjoy the NOW, right NOW it's ok to say no to good things (something I am working on)

    Some things that are not goals for me: I do not need to strive to be as healthy in body as possible. It's very time consuming and "healthy" people die also, some in the prime of life. I do not need to aim my child towards college. That's his choice. I do not need to have goals that are very lofty. Like tackling world hunger or solving trash problems. I can do my small part and that's fine. I do not need to be aware of what is happening in the world at all times. For most of human history people only knew what was happening in their immediate community and didn't even know if there was bad weather (literally) ahead. The human race has survived that way so I can too. I don't have to feel bad about walking away from situations I cannot face. Even if that means I am a fair weather friend at times. (Ok, I have to work through this one, I am not quite there yet!)

    Well, that's just off the top of my head. I have a lot of thinking to do.

    Thanks for the thinking out loud that you share with us!

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  • Lee

    Lee on April 9, 2012, 7:26 p.m.

    Thanks for another heartfelt post Renee. I sometimes think it is hardest when what we have chosen turns out to be difficult. I've thrown my hat over the fence many times in my life (and not done yet!) where outcome is unknown, but not pursuing the path is unthinkable. I love to be settled, and hate to be trapped. Isn't that the way it goes for some of us? I'm sure you guys will find your way through this.

    Looking forward to reading your book!

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  • Charity

    Charity on April 13, 2012, 7:48 p.m.

    Renee< i have been formulating a response to this post in my head for the past few days....but now the kiddos are sick so my long response will have to wait. What I can say is while reading this I felt like you were in my head or possibly tapped my house somehow. (hehe)! Alan and I have been talking about this (not specifically but you get it) for the last month. Thanks for sharing and being transparent!

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