Monday, September 6, 2010

Night Dreams

Its about 2am in middle Tennessee right now. I cant sleep. I have heard that when you cant sleep the worst thing you can do is lay awake in bed. I don't remember why they (who ever they are) say that but according to the last two hours, I have to agree.

I couldn't bare the restlessness a moment more. I grabbed my favorite quilt, a pillow and my laptop and headed outside to the pavilion.

Twinkling stars have lite up the morning sky by the trillions. Its beautiful.... The crickets and other evening "noise makers", are serenading me a lullaby. The cool damp air is cloaking the quilt that I have wrapped carelessly around me. I'm cold but there is something comforting about this cool dark morning. In the dark, I can see the dreams where as the sunlight can blind. I can dream in this kind of dark.

While laying in the bed, I started thinking about the conversation Lee and I had on the way home from having dinner with his parents. We talked about how obvious it was that we were not meant for the live styles we were living almost five years ago. Lee was a contractor. As soon as he finished the first house he built we were already concerned that we weren't living the life we were destined for. Lee worked a lot. He was under an amazing amount of stress. There were many evenings that I sat out on the front porch of our old house and thought about the horrible price that were paying for our big house and the stuff we filled it with.

I began to question the path of our life, our family business even further as I began to dabble with local wildlife rehab center. I found that our lifestyle disagreed with almost everything I believe in...every ideal I had about god and nature was being littered with commercialism and consumerism. Lee and I began to drift apart as the 7 days a week work hours and the stressful amount of paper work it took to run our business divided us.

One day we had no  other choice. It was as if all a long god was telling us that he had a purpose for us, and that we were not designed for that life that we had chose for ourselves. If we didn't change it, he was.... And so he did.

Years later, I have more people come and talk to me about "how did you make it", "how do you hold your family together", through that kind of.... change  It wasn't easy and any kind of "loss" and "failure", SUCKS... but  ultimately, when one of us wanted to throw in the towel the other was cheering the other one on. That's family. And through, the tears, sorrow, angry bitter words, ultimately we were a family... In its most heartfelt gut wrenching rawness, we. remained. family.

One thing I have learned, "time heals ALL wounds".. and if something is still raw and gushing even after "time" has had its time to work, it cause you haven't quit picking at it.

My walk down memory lane with Lee last night must be why I woke this morning anxious (in good way) about the future. I'm excited about the new things to come. In two years our property will be ours... without a mortgage... ~ solely ours~. We have done a lot out on the property and have continued to pour our blood sweat and tears not just into the physical parts of our homestead but even more so into its spirit.

This year we are hoping to put a real driveway back to the barn. Also Lee and I have been toying with the idea of getting electric in the barn. Its definitely needed. The electric company said that if we hook up the barn  before we have the house built then we will get two separate bills each month. So after much discussion we are going to go off grid for the barn. What a better test run for going solar?

I know that to some this sounds minor. But this is pretty big to us, not just financially but it is a great mile stone in our lives, in the construction of our homestead, or our rebirth.  Before we know it, we will be building our house, (another mile stone)

I look back, almost three years ago we were starting with a blank canvas... But slowly, meticulously, and with the guidance of our "values", we are painting our new world... into the most beautiful place. I look forward to the things to come... whether they are lovely at first or still in its heartfelt rawness. The things to come are destined for greatness.

With my teeth chattering, moths flying into my computer screen, hound dogs barking, and a cow off in the distance that I swear must be giving birth... I think it must be time to go back to bed. The children's' little feet will be pattering against the floor in just a few short hours and sleep is now calling. Its time for rest.

Sweet dreams.


  1. What I can see of your place from the "pieces" you've shown indicates that it's lovely, and that's only the surface of the situation. Congratulations on making the right choice. Incidentally, if you've never read "The Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing, you should.

  2. Hi Leigh,
    Tis a whole brave new world out there me dear, just waiting for you and your beloved Lee. With your positive outlook and Lee's fortitude, I'm sure that you're both going to have every success and a wonderful future together out there.
    Best regards,

  3. Thanks for taking me to the pavilion with you....the stars....the crickets....the Tennessee air. It was nice.
    How's the NO smoking going? I hope you're hanging in there. And by the way, quitting can affect your sleeping and appetite too. In less than 2 weeks, it will be a year for Dan and I since we quit. I can't believe I did it after smoking 37 years!! Be strong...hang in there. YOU CAN DO IT.

  4. It's been a similar but longer and maybe not as painful journey for us. In 2006, after 8 very profitable years as a consulting wetland designer for developers, highway departments, and others - anyone who could afford to pay my billing rate of $120/hour - I got into nonprofit work with Ducks Unlimited. Prior to the switch, I would wake up with night terrors, panic attacks, etc. I tried a hundred different anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, ADHD meds, and nothing seemed to heal that incongruity that I felt (and you described here).

    4 years later, with the economy in the crapper, a baby in the house, and everything more expensive than it was in 2006, I am making *almost* what I was making in 2006.

    That being said, fixing that part of my life brought everything into balance a little better. I don't mind our little house in the city. Or the fact that my garden is down the street. Commuting sucks, but it's a reality in the northeast.

    I'd like to get to a better place, but I'm more or less satisfied with how far we've come so far. It's a tough time in the world, and it's nice to be in a good spot!

  5. I love looking back from the other side and realizing how far we've come ... and all that we survived. It feels good, but more than that, it's empowering to realize how much we've been through and know that we didn't just get through it, but that through our struggle, we came out on the other side stronger - as individuals, as parents, and as a couple. Sounds like it was the same for you guys ;).

  6. Gorges,
    I have read "The Good Life", but have only made it half way through. My animals, (livestock and pets) are such a big part of my life that I found it hard to relate to the Nearings Ideals.
    Not to mention that a novel(ish) books has to catch my attention with in the first three chapters otherwise its donated. But with that said I can read a How to/ text book cover to cover, and still have that mournful feeling that one gets when completing a really great story...
    I enjoyed books like Made from Scratch, Simple Prosperity, but honestly I am more into the How to type books or research books like the Storey's Guide Series, The back Yard Homestead, Green Up Your Clean Up, and my personal favorite, "identifying" series..... Audubon Field Guides.

  7. John,
    Thanks for the well wishes.

    It was my pleasure. I just wish I could have recorded all the sounds! It took a lot of concentrating to find the serenity. Dang old cows and hound dogs! LOL
    I am pleased to say that I am doing very VERY VERY well on the no smoking thing. I will be well into working on my one year before ya know it! I am so proud of you and Dan. I wish Lee would quit too. It would be a lot easier but it has to be his choice.
    This weekend I did something I never did before when I was trying to quit smoking. I sat outside and talked to Lee as HE smoked. I normally would avoid it being around it at all cost, in fear that I would just join in... but actually I didn't have a single desire to. Everyone we know smokes so avoiding spending time with these people because of it would really suck. I was Pleased that I learned I can be around it but not have to participate.

  8. Swamp,
    It was a VERY rough go for us, BUT that path wee have traveled has reinforced my faith. I believe that if we could have came out of what we did and be alright.... everything else is... hmm I don't want to say insignificant because everything has a "role" but... everything else seems subsidiary(?). Not sure if that makes sense?
    I was under a great amount of pressure. I just had a baby and had to complete three speck houses solo because Lee had to take a job where he traveled.... Therefor I also felt the need for antidepressants. They didnt help me either. The only thing that helped, was to sit out in the woods for about 20 minutes in the morning right at dawn before anyone else was awake. That became my new antidepressant and it actually worked. ;)
    Yeah, and I have to agree, and I speak for my husband and I both on this... We are so much happier now than we were before. We are so lucky to have the type of security that we have now, not just financially, but emotionally, and physically. Nothing is ever permanent of plainly defined but I feel like if nothing else our lives are simplified and at a manageable state.

    I find an odd sense of loyalty/camaraderie/ sympathy/ (what ever it is) to know of someone who has went through the same/similar thing as we have... And too hear of "victory", we rejoice in that with you as well. :)

    It is a great feeling to look back down that path and see the progress that has been made. I have to say that you and Deus, are a great inspiration and set a wonderful example for people like myself who are walking in the same direction of sustainable living. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. Looking at my 14th anniverary this fall... of my 2nd that come in, and those that go out unrest ... discovering what's REALLY important(this one never ends) ...some major job changes and financial adjustment and figuring out that TOGETHER we can handle it. Follow the instinct and the gut and who knows where it will lead... there's a reason that the pastures are greener than the sidewalks for us.... the peace that comes from time away to regroup...

  10. We've been talking at home about how "rich people" handle these types of situations. The more "rich folks" I get to know - truly wealthy people - the more I admire their attitudes, which is something I never would have said 5, 10, or 15 years ago.

    "The other 1%" - or many that I've met - have this prevailing faith and confidence that things are absolutely going to be just fine - it's just a matter of time. No matter how many times they get sued, or how many millions they lose, even when they lose their homes, the guys I've met have this unfailing premonition that, "Yeah, this sucks, and a few years from now it will all be a memory."

    I want that confidence. I guess we've beat some pretty good odds so far (including 10 years of marriage) so I'm not sure why I lack it. It's interesting.

  11. Interesting. I have never met anyone who was honest to goodness "rich". But I have met many people who were living comfortably. Their attitudes about wealth varied from one set of values to the next. But....

    I remember shortly after our life change, a man killed himself and his family because they were about to lose everything. He couldn't bare to let his family go through that. It broke my heart. He never even gave his children (who were in hs and college) a chance to make their own way. I understand the stress... I really do but hell there is always something else waiting around the corner. It may not involve BMW'S and 10,000sqft homes and fancy vacations but who needs that crap when you are living an adventure!? ;)

    In todays world 10 years of marriage is beating the odds! :) I think that confidence in ourselves and in the lives we are living and faith in something greater than ourselves is the only thing that has carried us through a few of our "jams".

    We are coming into our 8th year of marriage (10 years together) very soon. I have to say its easier walking in those shoes knowing someone is walking along beside ya. ;)

  12. ::bowing:: ya'l are the bomb!

    new reader if you having guessed :)

    Still living Nashville.. w/ homesteading dreams :)


  13. Karen Sue,
    Wise words! And congrats on the upcoming anniversary! Lee and I are looking at eight years of marriage. I look forward to the 15 year bench mark. ;)

    Hollow Bone,
    Thanks! And Welcome! ;)