on dreams……









Oh, dreams. They are made up of hard work and good ideas and hope.

Many moons ago our first dream was a camp in the woods. We bought cabin books and magazines. Searched for land. Studied kits and plans for cabins. Crunched numbers. Saved, and saved. I imagined driving up to our camp, kids in tow, a giant hammock waiting for us to sit and swing in. We lived in Cape Cod then, a new young family of just four. Property was still affordable to average people. Northern Maine was our hope. It kept our hearts happy somehow, this little dream of ours. 

The timing wasn't right though. Instead of leaving the military to enter the civilian sector of the workforce, we chose to stay in. The wanderlust call was too great, we wanted to see more of the country. Job security and health benefits played a role in that decision too. Ohhh practicality….

Time carried on. Our family grew. And grew…..

The first dream slipped away a little. How could we buy land if we didn't know where we would live every 3 years? East Coast, Alaskan Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes. We have called each of these places home over the last decade and a half….

But we kept saving. In 2009 we put that chunk of money down on our first home. It was in suburbia on one fifteenth of an acre. It felt so far from the dream that started the savings account. This is what being a grown-up is like sometimes. 

As we pulled up carpet and painted walls and tiled floors we kept dreaming….

What if we lived in town and created an urban homestead academy? Taught people to keep chickens, brew beer & can tomatoes?

What if we bought a Volkswagen bus and sold soup and rice bowls and bubbly tea from it.

What about a sailboat? A yurt? Off the grid living?

An old beaten up farmhouse with a writer's retreat? I'd serve them scones with ridiculous amounts butter, studded with raspberries from the backyard and huge fresh salads with spicy greens and local cheese for lunch.

Do we still want that camp?

Can we really live working part time in our 40's? 

Are we crazy?

Four years later we sold that house and moved to this one. It feels a little closer to the original plan, but it's a high cost area and has a hefty mortgage that cannot be maintained if we want to work part time in the near future. The savings account has dwindled significantly from home ownership. (damn that grown-up thing again.)

But I'm stubborn. I can't give this one up. So, the dreaming continues…

I don't want to live too far from community. I'd like running water and internet service of some sort. Joe wants a tractor. And a donkey. I'm not sure about that last one. I want rows and rows of flowers and herbs. More beehives & chickens. A homestead easy enough to leave in the care of someone else for a weekend getaway, but still just big enough to provide us with a root cellar full of nourishment to last through winters. A place nearby to push our kayaks in for a paddle. Simple, humble, affordable housing. Does this exist? It's not much and a whole lot all at the same time.

Nothing is held too hard and fast. I know things can change. What feels right now may be completely wrong later. An opportunity we never knew existed could be hanging out for just the right moment to show itself. It might sound wishy-washy, but I like to think of it as open-minded. In the meantime I put my thinking cap on. Scrape pennies from our budget into the savings account. Pay off debt. Wistfully swoon over property listings of the aforementioned broken-down-farm. 

Hope. Plan. Dream. Repeat.

My soul needs dreams. Yours too. Dream, and dream big. Be brave. Write it down. Make it art. Sing it. Say it out loud. Manifest it, in some way….. one tiny piece at a time until you are holding it on your hands.


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver 





19 thoughts on “on dreams……

  1. i enjoyed reading this Stephinie. dreaming can be so productive, and it’s especially essential to my good spirits this time of year. my family and i set our long held dream in motion almost three years ago with a move from CO to western NC. the lure of more (cheaper!) land and a slower lifestyle (but still close to town) took us on this grand adventure across the country. so far, so good (despite all the unexpected grown-up repairs needed on this big old house). but still, hubs is dreaming of his own tractor, and i’m dreaming of a beach vacation. we can have it all, right? just not all at the same time.


  2. Stephinie! We are thinking alike! I wrote something today that while following a different path in the writing, ends up at much the same place.


  3. My husband and I have wanted to move to western mass or southern vermont for years. It’s much cheaper than south eastern mass & SO SO beautiful. Both areas have just enough community/art/happenings and plenty of quiet and room for homesteading.
    We’re still renting, with that dream in mind.
    Now, we just need to find some available teaching jobs!


  4. It keeps me plodding forward, the world turning, and my tireless fight for air to breath. Dreaming is the bread of my soul ….I often wonder if we’re going to make it, but I guess we’ve got a pretty good track record, that improves with each lap around the sun…
    Cheers to dreams, dear friend.


  5. Beautiful. I think I am one step behind you. We bought this house in town because it’s what we can afford on one salary. Luckily we have a fairly large lot so chickens and bees and even two miniature goats is totally achievable. Still we hope and dream once we’ve gotten enough money again to buy a piece of property father out. Maybe something we can build our own adobe house on. We have dreams of food security and quiet surrounds. So for now we learn and manifest in this little home of ours. It’s more than a starter home. It’s a learning home.


  6. I feel like you have just written my story. My husband and I have such similar aspirations as yours. We are just at that place you were a decade or so ago as the smaller family of four, just having made the decision to forgo our attempt to enter the civilian workforce and continue on in the military. My husband just signed the contract for eight more years or technically indefinite, until retirement, just last week. He’s been in 12 already so we were in that should we stay in or get out space for quite a while. Practicality, secure employment, health benefits, etc. All that adulthood stuff, won out. We hope to have 2 more children and by the time he retires, (at 38!) I will have had those last two babies, started and completed school for midwifery, (my dream! I’m a doula for now) and will have saved enough money to put a nice down payment on a home in the Pacific Northwest. We are leaving AK (both of our home state) for WA in October and it will be so bittersweet. While I’m glad to be having the chance to live in WA and continue on this adventure, (It’ll be my 4th duty station and his 6th) and getting a fresh new start, I will be leaving my home, (again!) and it will be the first move that my children are old enough to be aware of and have feelings about. You are such an inspiration to me, seeing you have bees and chickens and such a beautiful and bountiful garden, even though you’re not able to technically put down roots, makes me think all of that is attainable to me too! Best wishes on your dream and your journey!


  7. I totally agree! Massachusetts and New York have some tax benefits that are hard to pass up for retired military. So we’re looking in both of those places. Wishing you guys the best of luck in finding your perfect place too!


  8. Yes! I remember that “indefinite” enlistment. It felt so huge…. and then…. here we are with twenty years in. It went by slowly, but quickly… I’m sure you understand that πŸ™‚ Your dream sounds fabulous!! You can certainly do ALL of that and more in the coming years.
    Even though the constant uprooting is hard, I wouldn’t change any of it. We often joke that we don’t have a local number for an emergency contact, but we could break down in our car just about anywhere in the United States and have a friend to call πŸ™‚ And so it goes…..
    Many good wishes to you in achieving your dreams as well!


  9. This was beautiful, stephinie! The winters retreat does sound heavenly. Rasberries and butter abound! But… Think about the year round growing season down here in the south!!! Tempting isn’t it πŸ˜‰


  10. This really resonated with me.. I started nursing school not to long ago- With the hopes of going on to specialize in alternative medicine. Its mentally strenuous, and the only solace I get is when I dream. A cozy-crafty home full of love and laughter. nestled quietly on a acre or 2 of land.
    I’ve thought of opening an academy too, much like the science camp I worked at in highschool- but with crafts for kids, sewing classing, hunter gathering, exploring trails, canning classes, herbal teaching, soap making and the lot instead.
    I only hope to achieve something within this realm.
    When I close my eyes, this dream is my happy place.


  11. Your dream sounds completely amazing! It’s so similar to what I hope for someday as well. To create a nurturing place of learning. May all your dreams come true! xo~


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