‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm not Quitting, I'm Just Quiet

My girls, swinging.
I want to write, folks, I really do. But for the past year, really, I've felt such a draw inward, it's hard to push against that and write down what doesn't want to come out at all. Have you ever experienced seasons of life like that? Even defining it is difficult, but I guess the best way is to say I feel like I've transformed from an extrovert to an introvert. I don't find joy in the same things anymore. I don't like being out in public much and would much rather read for hours or meditate and pray or - no lie - do dishes than go be among people or be social in any way or form. And it's not that I'm depressed - I certainly know what that feels like. It's just an overwhelming desire to go inward, to be silent and listen, and to observe. I think I've visited this season before in my life, but never with this intensity.

But -I have immense guilt when I go long periods without writing here. I feel a responsibility to stay in communication with those who have read my blog, some for many years. These are the same people who supported me when we took that leap of faith in 2010 and moved to Russia for several months to care for Anya. Many of you wrote me beautiful, heartfelt and helpful letters when my adoption of Daniel failed. Others cheered me on throughout hosting Dasha, adopting Matilda, or a million other things I've tried to get through in one piece. I could never communicate the depth of my gratitude - I really don't think it's possible at all.

So I'm trying to understand my own self these days - a self that used to crave  sharing here; a self that was passionate about writing; a self that was very outwardly focused. That's not me anymore. I struggle to find words that define what I'm feeling. I used to sit at my computer and find that I couldn't type fast enough for the words that wanted to come out. Now I can't find words at all, and expressing myself here feels awkward and, even, painful.

I'm not quitting. This isn't a goodbye post. But I felt like I owed people reading here an explanation. I still do the same things: parent Nastia and Matilda, support as many of the girls in Russia as I can, teach Shakespeare, pray and talk to God incessantly, and try to be a better human being each day. But whereas before these things felt like fodder for blog posts, now they don't. Maybe it's writer's block, but I don't think so. I just think my soul has decided to close ranks and be still. My soul is having 'down-time' and wanting nothing more than stillness, simplicity - and authentic communion with God and others through that stillness. Does that make any sense?

I hope so.

I'll keep stopping in a posting little updates, because that's only fair. I know I'm fairly devastated when my favorite bloggers are silent for even a few days. I'll do my best - but it won't be half as passionate or interesting as it used to be. At least not right now.

I hope that's okay with you, reader.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Taking First Steps

credit: Tiny House Listings
I have dreamt of downsizing into a tiny house for at least a decade, if not longer. I am on email lists for every tiny house company out there: this one,and this one and this one, to name a few) and I scour pinterest and bookshops for every resource on tiny houses I can find. I've worked on downsizing for years, but mostly with an eye towards getting rid of clutter - not with the intention to truly clear everything out. But this change keeps calling me.  There is not one reason that feeds this decision, but there are a few primary factors:

1. I hate/despise/loathe our materialistic, hoarding, junk-accumulating society. I am depressed every day by the waste. It hurts my heart. I don't like the message it sends my kids either - that anything should be just tossed aside for the newer, brighter version, that clothes must stay 'up to date' for one to fit in, so one must buy. buy and buy more every season. Ugh.

2. The disparity between the haves and have nots in the world is a constant ache in my heart, and I am part of the problem if I'm not trying to be part of the solution. I want my life to be a reflection of my deepest convictions and beliefs, and it is not right now.
credit: Tiny house Listings

3. I want to free up my money, time and resources so that I can better help Anya and the other girls in her shoes throughout the world. A tiny house means less time tending to 'stuff' and more time to pursue worthy endeavors. A tiny house means less money spent over time on SO many things: books, toys, furniture, heating, electricity, clothes, and a million other items and resources. That money saved can help SO MANY PEOPLE!

4. It gets me closer to living a more authentic life - one with an emphasis on people instead of things. A life that forces us outside more. A life that encourages engagement more. A life that requires me to rely on libraries more than bookstores, experiences more than distractions, others rather than self.

So I'm taking a tiny step forward. I signed up for an online course taught by someone involved in the Tiny House Movement. It's a course developed for those of us who want to transition to tiny from a typical home. Its an eight-week guide to downsizing, de-cluttering, and living smaller and with less. I'm very excited about it. My realistic goal is to be moving into a tiny home within 5 years. I wish it were sooner, but I'm trying to be realistic. I need to save quite a but in order to buy one, and that's the biggest hindrance to it happening sooner. I don't have any money to spare, because every extra bit goes to Anya, but I'm hoping to find a way to sell much of what I have, and put all that money towards our tiny house fund.
Credit: Hornsby Island Caravans

And Matilda is beside herself with excitement - don't worry about her. She has known about my dream of tiny house living since she first hosted with us, and she is ALL on board. She has even drawn tiny plans for our house and has dreams of having more time free to travel, since we now have family all over the world!

I'll keep you posted on what I'm learning as the course progresses. And by all means, if you know any tiny-housers, or if you are looking to down-sizing too, let me know in the comments.

DREAM HOME.  Credit: naturalhomes.org