Tag Archives: Adventure

Reading Time

This picture brings me happiness. A six year old boy sitting on the stairs fully immersed in a book. He is engaged in another world. Images that he is creating in unison with the words on the pages make his experience and this written world unique to him and his mind. What could be better?

There is so much knowledge to be had in the written world. There are so many books that share insight and ideas into the world we live in. Books help form a child’s character. Fictional heroes can show a child how to act and behave toward others.

A few years ago we turned off the TV. We still watch things on Netflix and Hulu but at least I can limit the content to documentaries or selected educational kids programs. There is just something about having my kids stare at flashing light for hours on end that offends me. Especially when it comes to cable television, my kids are being forced media’s endless, pointless and in some cases harmful messages. TV seems to have the power to turn your conscious mind off and just be fed whatever is on the screen. Books are different in that matter as I think they actually turn your conscious mind on. There are very few books I have read that I have not thought about, considered or that haven’t changed my knowledge about something in some way.

Now I understand that there are, well, not so great books out there. But there are a wealth of books out there. Why read a poorly written one? Or one that doesn’t interest you? You aren’t fed anything when you read a book–you have to read it. It isn’t in front of you talking to you, you have to go to the effort to get the information off the page. You have to take the initiative to learn from what you are reading.

Yes, I love books. And yes, I love that without TV, my six year old is at a fourth grade reading level and sits on the stairs riveted in his latest book.


You Call This Security??

Ok, so as I said in my last post we traveled to Saint Louis last week. Travel these days implies going through security. Yup, the good ol’ TSA. Always something to look forward to. Luckily our airport security experience went as smoothly as is possible with young children. In line, however, Weasley wanted to know why we had to go through security. He wanted to know why we take our shoes off, he wanted to know why we have to put our bags through the x-ray machine, he wanted to know why we can’t take large amounts of liquids or our water bottles through security. My husband told him we don’t talk about those things in the security line (never say bomb on an airplane).

I wondered if he’d remember to ask again later. Well, he did. The answer? Fear. My husband explained that every hoop we are put through in the security line is because of one person that tried to hurt people in a particular way. Why do we take our shoes off? Because of one man’s attempt to blow up a plane with his shoes. Liquids? One man’s attempt to blow up a plane with a bottle of liquid explosive. And we all know the reason security is so tight in the US to begin with.

But where does it stop? Crime happens every day all over the world. At what point are we prisoners of our own fear and no longer prisoners of the criminals? At what point are we too afraid to question our own government? At what point does it go to far? Has it already?

We do not question. We cannot argue. This is where the first amendment turns into “freedom of speech except when you are told to shut up.” As is the case in the security line, if my husband had told my son “we have to follow these rules because of fear of bombs” would we have been targeted by security? You absolutely know that if we had argued with security about something we would have been targeted. A few months ago a women in Phoenix got targeted by the TSA for telling them she didn’t want her breastmilk x-rayed. She got put in a glass “holding cell” and missed her flight. (You can read about it here: http://exm.nr/gdk9NG) And thus the TSA earns our silence. Why question when it’s just going to make your life harder? Point made.

But it goes beyond that. See, I was raised in a world of minimal security as a kid. I have now become used to airport security but it isn’t normal. I have become accustomed to following the crowd, doing as I am told, teaching my kids to follow the airport security rules. But here’s what really set me off…

When we visited Saint Louis I took my family to see the Arch. It is a fun childhood memory for me and my kids and husband hadn’t been there. It was a beautiful day and we were in great spirits. Until we walked into the arch that is. As soon as we opened the door we were met by security. Really? Security? Again? Here? 15 years ago when I was here this did not exist. We would waltz right in and enjoy the monument. Not this time. Everyone is a suspected criminal these days.

But here’s the clincher…

It took us a good deal of effort to get Wiggles into her stroller before heading toward the arch. My first thought at having to take her out of the stroller so they could x-ray it? “There goes seeing the museum–we’ll never get her back in the stroller. She’ll be running around in toddler joy now!” Not so. She took one look at that conveyor belt and knew exactly what to do. She got out, sat on my hip and went right back into the stroller.

Then it hit me.

After three flights in her sixteen months of life, my daughter had been completely brain washed. She knew how to follow security guidelines better than she knew how to feed herself.

Next, we bought our tickets to go up into the arch. We were then escorted through the ticket line. After handing in our ticket stubs we were asked to stand up against a concrete wall to have our picture taken. No, you could not refuse. And no, it wasn’t a money making scam for them to get you to buy your family portrait. If fact, they didn’t really sell it at all. It was a record. A record of every person who walked into that portion of the building. Our family picture taken up against that cold wall was now part of the governments record database. Remind you of something? It did me.

The problem is that I am freaked out by this. For my kids it is normality. Is my generation the last one to remember a world without security? Is my generation to last to remember when the constitution meant something? My kids are going to have freedom of speech except when the government tells you that you don’t. (Did you see this? http://huff.to/g9NIL3 ) My kids are going to have the freedom to bear arms until the government says they can’t.

I usually stay completely out of politics. But I wonder at what point the bully becomes the one “protecting” the people from the bullies. Some people are expecting marshal law at some point in the near future. You know, that thing that happens some times in the movies where the government basically puts everyone under house arrest and mans the streets with tanks? Yeah, it’s always so dramatic. I don’t think that is the kind of marshal law we are heading for. I think marshal law is taking place slowly. In the airport, in the Arch, in our towns… Something is wrong. My kids won’t know what it is. I do but what am I going to do about it? I’m certainly not going to argue… that would make my life… well… miserable….

Saint Louis

Last week we took a family trip to Saint Louis. I spent my teen years there and it was like going home. Went to my best friend’s wedding, got to see old friends and childhood haunts. It was a great time. Here are some pictures I took of the Arch. It was fun seeing my kids enjoy places I did as a kid.

Looking straight down from inside the top of the arch

Tug boats are awesome!

That’s a lot of stairs!

At the top!

Bridge over the Mississippi River

Saint Louis has a lot of really amazing old buildings that are abandoned. Fun photo ops for sure.

About Taking That Plunge!

So remember how my last blog post was back in March? And remember how it was all about taking a plunge and doing something entirely different? Yup well, right after I wrote that with all its fantastical ideas, we became stagnate. We became routine bored suburbanites. Depression, constancy, stability, and money all took over our lives. Not to mention fear being the worst of it all. Fear of change, fear of unknown, fear of taking chances, fear of hunger or illness.

“Fear is the mind-killer.” Frank Herbert, Dune..

My mind was rapidly dying. The depression was getting so deep that my husband and I saw no way out. We were officially trapped in our suburbanite lifestyle. My husband’s job was not what he thought it would be and was becoming more corporate in nature. My life was trapped in caring for children and housecleaning and I was beginning to resent both. There had to be more (or less) than this lifestyle. But every time we thought of escape the looming fear won. There was no way we could give up a nice steady income, a stable way of living for the unknown. That would just be stupid, right? … Or would it?… Read the rest of that quote:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
— Frank Herbert, Dune – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

“Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” Well, death is the greatest thing to fear right? So if fear brings death then to fear is to basically bring death upon yourself slowly and miserably right? That’s what I am learning now. If you aren’t living a life of happiness and joy then something is wrong. We knew something was wrong we just had to step to the edge of the cliff–that great chasm of fear. We had to stare down its dark and endless pit. It took us a few weeks and then we jumped. My husband quit his job. Together we are seeking out an untraditional lifestyle.

When we got married, we had many discussions of our love and need for adventure and a fearless lifestyle. Taking each challenge and blessing as it comes. Our stagnation was not who we were or who are together. We had actually fallen into a trap that we are now making our way out of. My husband wants to telecommute, I want to work doing things like selling on my etsy shop or substitute teaching, or getting back into music instruction. We want to possibly switch off the kids while the other works so that we can be together and raise the kids as a family. Having one parent always working is not our idea of parenting. Some people say that the man has to go to work and the woman has to raise the kids–this is often the way it is. But we are a family–there has to be a way to raise the kids in a home where they know both of their parents. We are seeking this alternative out.

So here we are. For the time being we are jobless and that’s ok. We are floating through the unknown but are happy again to not feel trapped. This step is probably going to be the most vital thing we have done in our young married lives and it will build a foundation for happiness and freedom in future years. We will no longer inch up to that cliff and walk away and walk back and stare in its dark unknown with fear holding us back. Instead we will walk up to it with more wisdom and fearlessness and continue down the path we set out on together in the first place. We may end up in some rural country or live on the beach telecommuting in the future. It doesn’t matter. What matters is we took control over our lives and are forging our own path. Bushwhacking our way through life if you will.

Today we went hiking/bouldering with the kids. We climbed steep hillsides over large rocks and scrambled up loose ground and forded a river. As a mother following my family from behind, there were moments where I looked at my children and my husband and the steep looming danger we were attempting to cross and thought of future disaster. My husband led us up mountainsides where if you look at the whole scene it is daunting. Too steep, too loose, too high, too unknown. But once you started out on the path it wasn’t scary at all. Each step had its own moment. Looking at the direct path made it so you were focused on that one step and not the big picture.

Looking at the future is as daunting as looking at a mountainside you are about to climb. If you keep looking ahead you will miss a step and potentially fall. If you look at the future or the whole mountain, you are not only discouraged by the height but you are sure you know where the path will take you and you might miss that next vital step.

Looking at the path, at where you will put your next foot, is secure and you know everything about that foothold. If you slip then you will know the best place to grab hold and pull yourself back up.

We are now following the path we want to be on–one step at a time. We are together in this moment and that is all that matters. Every once in a while we will look up at the peak but how we get there is what matters–which step we choose next is what counts.

Where we are right now matters–its all we have.

Right now we have each other–there is no greater gift than that. We are blessed beyond measure. We have two wonderful children and hope for more. We live at the top of a mountain with beauty in every direction. We have happiness and laughter. We have hope and most importantly we have faith. We have happiness at every turn if we keep focused on what matters.

Most likely we will make ends meet but if we don’t then that is a step we take further up the path. We will live in simplicity, in peace, in the excitement of the unknown.

So for the next few months this blog will be dedicated to our penny pinching, happy lives. I’ll be organizing and simplifying our house and possessions, I’ll be meal planning in order to grocery shop for less, I’ll be sewing and working on projects and I’ll share it all here along with my crazy endless random thoughts that will of course pop up from time to time.

Take the Plunge

We live in a world of fear and “I can’t.” We live in a “free world of oppression.”

There are so many things that people think are not “okay” or not “safe.”

For instance, with my son, my husband and I made a mistake.  We put him in the wrong school and he is not happy so we are going to remedy that.  I am going to homeschool him.  I’m pulling him out today.  Some people ask

“You can do that?”  Heck yes!  Of course I can!  He is my son–not the school’s, not the state’s, not the goverment’s.  Of course there are “regulations” but big deal my child’s education and happiness come first–I’ll do what I have to in order to improve that for him.

You’ve got to just take the pludge.  Not fear the outcome.  I’ll say it again–do not live in fear of possible outcomes!  You have NO idea what the future will  bring so don’t fear what you don’t know.

My husband and I both have an adventurous spirit.  We want to travel and live in different places.  Most would give that up for their children.  We almost did. But why? Why can’t your kids live out your dreams with you?  Our children are going to have a beautiful view of the world only because they are going to see us taking chances, not living oppressed lives of fear.  Not settling down into the corporate culture wishing our lives were different.  Our lives ARE going to be different and so are our kid’s.  And its going to be GREAT!  They may complain some day that they don’t have a “traditional” life but we aren’t a “traditional” family.

See, getting married and having kids doesn’t mean you are “settled down”

into a life of family rearing and you have put off dreams and goals.  It only means you have more people to share your passion for life and dreams with.

All you have to say is “I can” and “I will.”

We live on a small farm.  For 2 years I want to raise chickens and goats and ride my horse and have my kids play with their best friend– the dog.  When our 2 years are up here I want to travel to a different country and different culture and different climate. Then after a year or two  I want to switch it up again.  The only way that is going to happen is if we DO it.  If we set up the timeline, the goal, the savings etc. and DO it.

Don’t say “I wish” say “I will!”

Get inspired, live your dream.

Don’t just make it a long lost dream–make it reality.

Don’t get stuck in everyday life, make everyday life lead to something exciting!

It IS possible!  Just say I CAN do that!  And DO it!