Early mornings in the quiet can only happen when I rise early before the chattering masses—these give me my best thinking hours. No screens until after lunchtime for the kiddos make for a much healthier, happier clan. Living with only one (old) car helps us afford to travel. Getting out of debt means we don’t have to make as much money to live. Date nights when we can, Tate nights when we can’t so we remember to say hi to each other.

These are things we’ve come to learn about ourselves, and it took us a while, to be honest. We weren’t always the best at knowing what’s important to us. We had a few years of living other peoples’ dreams for us, dreams we thought were ours, too. A bit of doing things because That’s What You Do.

We haven’t done it all beautifully, of course; we’re still learning, after all. We know from real-life experience that we can’t live in isolation from community, and we’ve unintentionally done stuff over the years to prohibit us from deepening those bonds. We plan to do a better job.

I know that taking care of my physical health means being better at all my roles in life, and well… I’m working on it, as you know.

And there’s artistry that needs birthing and breathing, so we’re making changes to how our family produces in order that this artist can create his—well, his art.

We’re all works in progress, aren’t we?

Paddling Upstream

I’ve heard it said that if you’re asked the same question three times, then you have a particular knowledge that needs sharing. People see in you something that others want for themselves, and so they ask you because you seem to know the secret.

I don’t know how true that is, but the idea makes sense. And sometimes it happens where you least expect it.

I’ve been asked over the years a few repeated questions—questions about how to know your vocation and your purpose, for example, or how to make goals that are realistic and reachable. How to simplify and know what to get rid of—that’s always a big one.

I decided to listen to the wisdom of others in my life and create something that’ll maybe scratch an itch. Perhaps it’ll give you some insight into your own answers, the ones that make sense for your particular life situation.

See, here’s what I believe: we probably already have the answers within us. We just need a good map and a decent guide to show us how to look at it.

Living a life that makes sense with your particular purpose and your personhood (and those in your household)—that’s the best way to live. There’s not one cookie-cutter formula. But the current, the mainstream culture around us says otherwise; they’ve given us a formula that says “Do A and B, then you’ll get C and D and be happy.”

Living a life that makes sense for us, even if it’s different than other lives around us—that’s paddling upstream. But paddling upstream only works if you have the right map, the right gear for the journey, and the right boat.

We need to know these things so that we have a real, tangible, true-for-us sense of where we want to go in life. But in order to do that—well, we need to find the right map.


After several years and a few iterations, this "thing" I originally talked about is now the method I use to create a Rule of Life. Find out more (and create your own unique version) here.