Living simply, chasing dreams

live simply at See Jamie blog

I have a hard time allowing myself the luxury of impractical thoughts. I squash them before they have the tiniest chance to ferment and grow into something. Until this summer, during all my time on the porch, I hadn’t even realized this is something I do. It’s a wretched habit. I’m slowly teaching myself to let those thoughts and dreams stay a while, so that I can take time to figure out where they’re coming from and what parts of them are potentially possible or worth working towards.

It’s not just BIG dreams I squash; it’s anything remotely outside the life I’m living — which is a bit crazy, if you think about it. After all, I’ve already made some big out-of-the-box life decisions. Like adopting a teenager from foster care, then adopting two more kids a few years later. We’re certainly not the only family to do that, but it’s not the norm. For that matter, neither is homeschooling. So what am I afraid of?

Am I living my life, or letting it drag me along for the ride?

If you read my “word” for this year, it’s all about learning to make the most of the time. Making intentional choices day by day. There is no magic bullet for dramatic life change; it’s a culmination of little decisions adding up.

Intentional living: necessary for dream-chasing.

If we hope to make life changes and work towards big goals, we need to weed out the unnecessary and give ourselves wiggle room to figure out how to alter course. This is something I’m trying to do, but it seems there are few examples to follow, and I’m a girl who likes examples.

Notes from a Blue BikeI’ve had my eye on Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider for a while now, sitting there in my Amazon wish list — so I gladly accepted an offer to review it. {Disclosure: I received the book for free.} Subtitled “the art of living intentionally in a chaotic world,” I hoped it would provide fuel for my quest to live fully and intentionally. And of course, I already have the blue bike (pictured above) to go with it!

As hoped, Notes from a Blue Bike provided me some of those real-life examples I like so much.

After returning from several years living overseas in a far simpler life, Tsh and her family immediately fell back into the American way of doing things. Tsh knew she couldn’t recreate their previous life in their new location, so she narrowed down the specific areas that needed a better focus. She devotes a section to each of these topics in the book, with how the family chose to address them. For her, these key areas were: food; work; education; travel; and entertainment. My list might be somewhat different (I haven’t sat down to organize them like that – yet), but I like how she broke these issues down and analyzed them to make changes based on her family’s priorities and goal, rather than the culture norm.

Will I do everything Tsh did? No, of course not, because that wouldn’t be evaluating choices based on the unique needs of my family in light of our dreams. But she’s given me good food for thought.

Living simply > bigger + better.

A large part of my big dream, and part of the road to other dreams, is living simply. Ken and I have discussed this backwards and forwards. It’s crazy how hard it is to simplify in any big way because it’s so counter-cultural to where we live. Sometimes I feel like I need to huddle up at home, sheltering myself from the lure of bigger and better. Of course that isn’t practical and not at all conducive to relationships with real people, so I rely on a few friends who feel similarly, and I read books and blogs to help keep my focus.

A few I like, in addition to Notes from a Blue Bike:

There are many more out there with similar ideas (recommendations welcome!), but these are some of my favorites because they either help me figure out how to simplify, or they help remind me why I want to simplify in the first place.