Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding Home

We engage in frequent pushing and pulling at the ideas of buying an existing home in the city to gut and renovate, and buying land outside of it on which to design and build something custom. We’re six months out from the expiration of our current lease, which doesn't matter much because we are required to wait three years from the date of our short sale before we’ll qualify for another mortgage. We’re still just a year and a half out.

While our little Cape Cod rental is sufficient, we have been chronically unmotivated to invest in our living space. At some point, especially if we decide to stay here for another year we’re going to have to shake ourselves out of renter mentality and embrace what we have to work with: decrepit bathrooms, lack of storage space, outdated kitchen, and all.

On the other hand, there is a sense of relief at the idea of staying put for another year or two, even if that means staying in this house, because we really love our neighborhood and know that the logistics required to move a household can feel like a herculean effort.

Regardless of whether we decide to stay or move in the short-term, we can and often do fill up hours when we have them, daydreaming about what will come next, after the waiting is over. What can we create with the resources we have, what will the process look like, and how will it be to manage either option while also keeping pace with our growing family and careers. (The topic of more babies has become a push and pull discussion all its own, but I’ll save that for another day.)

Over the last year I think we've identified almost every reasonable permutation of house type and location, tracing the trajectory of each option along a logical path from what our needs are now with two toddlers, to what our needs will be later as our family gets bigger and grows older. We've even projected what our needs may look like when the kids are gone. Our next house will be the home in which our family grows up. Ahh, I cannot wait.

A month ago we came very close to putting down an offer on a couple acre lot in one of our favorite areas, made possible only by the fact that we could have paid for it in cash. It wouldn't have been perfect, but it would have been pretty cool. The problem was the creek running through the property, which indicated some substantial zoning and flood plain restrictions. We were excited to think creatively about ways to design a home that would accommodate the land, but after a few weeks of research and inquiry we decided to move on.

Through our discussion it has been interesting to see that we keep finding our way back to two things: nature and a desire to design the spaces we live in. After fighting our own logic and imagination about what it means to live in the city or to live in the country, I think we are finally open to listening to what resonates within us. Recently we've come back around to an idea we had early in our process, when we still lived in northern Virginia, which would take us far outside the city limits but inspires us with the possibility of buying up a large parcel of land (5-10 acres) and then nestling a home somewhere in the middle of all that nature.

Whether the homesteading lifestyle is considered a fad, or a backlash to the feminist movement, or an incredible opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, return to a family centered way of living, and improve our self-sufficiency, I am drawn to the idea of making our home and the land around it a primary focus of our collective time and energy.

I want to pursue the romantic entertainments of homemaking like foraging, harvesting, canning, pickling, and fermenting. I imagine a fragrant and overflowing garden of flowers and a large year ‘round garden with fruit bushes and vegetable patches; beekeeping for the flowers, and honey, too; and backyard hens to raise and gather eggs from; maybe even a cow. I long for a more intimate connection to our food chain, to the earth, and to each other. I want to feel called to the land we live on. I want the kids to grow up knowing nature like it was a part of them, to claim the uninhabited wilderness as their own, and to have a relationship with something bigger than themselves.

I'll leave you with this poem by Wendall Barry. It's been on my mind since I first read it yesterday:

The Peace of Wild Things

When Despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, 
I go and lie down where the wood drake 
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


  1. I like the dream of homesteading but the reality makes me sleepy. But I do want to do more gardening, canning, preserving, etc now that we are settling into our new place. It's a very shaded lot, however, so I might need to get creative.

    Have you read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver? I think you would enjoy it very much.

    We are pursuing a dream to live abroad for a year in 2016. We are thinking S. France or maybe Italy. The idea would be to live somewhere outside of a village and be more self-sufficient and out of our comfort zone. It will be a sabbatical of sorts for A and I will likely blog it (possibly to help income-wise). I don't know if it will happen but A. is very determined. ANyway - that might be our version of homesteading!

    1. I love the "makes me sleepy" part of your comment, and I know exactly what you mean! I'm sure that in my reality I will only do the homesteading kinds of activities that I really enjoy, after a lot of for-fun experimentation to figure out what parts make sense for us and which don't. I don't see us living completely self sufficiently--we happily live with many conveniences and I hope to incorporate the practical activities that add value in some form or another. You guys have a GREAT backyard, and finding light is a challenge with such a wild space. Our garden last year grew exactly one tomato. Too sad to ever report on but it's because the huge trees that line our little yard covered up most of the sunlight. I'm not even going to bother this year. I guess I could try pots in the front yard!?

      I listened to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" on tape when I was pregnant with Merritt. It was a catalyst that inspired another turning point in my evolution of thinking related to how we live. That book in particular peaked my interest in raising chickens...and killing them for food. Do you remember that part? I just loved that book!

      As for your dreams to live abroad...I would love to do that also. So incredible!! I hope that you can make it happen, what an experience! Have you considered blogging now as you're thinking through the process, I know it's early, but take us along for the ride. I would love it. France or Greece would be my top picks for living abroad.

  2. Thanks, I love it Nicole!! I'm following now :)


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