Living A Simple Life- Part 11 (Preparing A Family Dream)

Welcome to Part 11 of my series on Simple Living!  If you would like to start from the beginning, go here.  I absolutely loved reading your comments this week, from those of you who shared “simple” tidbits from your lives.  Thank you!

As I briefly mentioned on Tuesday, Calvin and I spent the past week taking time to dream toward the future.  I believe that such times of “getting away” as a family are so important to maintaining a simple life.  As dusk settled around our tent, the three of us cuddled up on our sleeping bags (waiting for Gen to fall asleep), and murmured quietly, mulling over ideas and appreciating the unity of our family.  The sounds of the night (a grouse’s deep-throated call, the rustling wind in the leaves, the soft noise of water) provided a backdrop for our thoughts.  
We often tend to hold our dreams close to our hearts (even now, I am almost hesitant to share this treasure), but as we chose to be vulnerable in sharing our dreams with his family, we were overwhelmingly blessed by their response.  I realized that this is probably the first time we have approached a dream so tentatively, and yet so open to others’ wisdom.  We have been carrying seeds of this dream for quite awhile, but our time there really solidified our thoughts.  
Our dream is to eventually begin rural homesteading, alongside Calvin’s parents.  As they have been living this life for at least several years, they have a wealth of wisdom and information to share.  We desire to provide Gen with the community of like-minded friends, and the godly heritage of her grandparents as she grows up.  It was such a joy to see Gen thrilled with being outdoors, and we long for her to grow up enjoying God’s creation, just as we did.  We also hope to encourage her in opportunities for her to develop self-sustaining life skills, that a simple rural life can provide.  In addition, it is important to us that we are eventually close by, if we are ever needed to care for aging parents.  
Living a simple, sustainable lifestyle has continually been our goal, and we are excited to see how God is shaping that dream.  At this point, and likely over the next few years, we will be taking “baby steps.”  
In her book All The Way Home, Mary Pride speaks of the importance of acquiring knowledge, and shares her realization that books were not a frivolous expense, but were so important to their growth.  Along with her husband, they began creating a home library.  With this goal in mind, they found books to educate themselves in organic gardening, housekeeping, spiritual growth, etc.  (By the way, I highly recommend this book; it is quite inspiring!)  There are many verses in the Bible that speak of the importance of seeking wisdom; here are a couple:
 “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15)  “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:10-11)
We have been gradually seeking to educate ourselves on the many aspects of living simply and sustainably.  Ironically, our city’s public library systems have some fabulous resources on simple, rural lifestyles!  We have been checking out stacks of books, and taking notes.  The internet has provided us access to a wealth of information on sustainable, responsible living as well.  At some point, we will likely narrow down this deluge of information, and decide to purchase a few books. 
Workshops and mentoring-style groups also abound in our area, which we are attending as time allows.  We have been happily surprised to discover growing friendships with people in our church who are learning sustainable living practices as well.  
We are striving to use this time to learn and prepare as much as we can, and yet, we cannot let our eyes look solely upon the future.  We also need to be present in this moment, aware of what God has for us to do now; continually giving thanks in all circumstances.  
Calvin’s parents kindly gave us some resources and suggestions as we left.  (The best advice was to place our dreams into God’s hands, and let Him guide us.  We were reminded that homesteading can be incredibly hard, frustrating work- especially if we try to do it on our own, without God’s leading and provision.)  
Our conversation on the drive home was filled with such topics:
Most importantly, as we dream, we hesitate to “plan.” “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) We want our steps to be directed by God, and not our own wills. We desire the simplicity of reliance upon God’s guidance and provision; not a life run by our own self-directed, selfish momentum. We are excited to see what kind of “adventure” God has in store for us, as he hones our character and skills! 
My Simple Living series will continue to focus on what we are learning, as we pursue these dreams.  Advice, suggestions, and comments are always welcome!

To be continued… Join me next week for Part 12!

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