A Travellerspoint blog

Coming Full Circle

Know Thyself, Know God

I thought of this analogy today. God is the composer and conductor of the orchestra of Life. As the composer, I think it’s fairly self explanatory. He “composed” us; He made us and everything in this Universe. But then he gave us free will. This is where the conductor part comes in. The individual instruments and those playing them can do their own thing. They don’t have to follow what music was written for them and they don’t have to pay attention to the conductor guiding them. However, when they don’t, the music sounds awful and there is no harmony. When they do listen to the conductor and play their individual piece to the flow of the entire orchestra, the most beautiful music can be produced. The same goes for Life. We have free will and can do whatever we want. But when we choose to align our will with God’s will, it truly is so much better. How do I know this? Because I am experiencing it. I feel as if every moment is a gift from God. I don’t have to worry because I know Spirit is flowing through me. I am floating effortlessly through Life, with total faith and surrender, as I dance and play my music in the orchestra that is this Universe. I can actually feel the vibrations of love as they flow through me and touch others. I am elated, even as I do simple tasks, like make tortillas or play with Elijah. Nothing can phase me or throw me off my melody because I am truly One with God, the Creator, and I am paying attention to the Conductor of Life.

Now I am not perfect either. Far from it, actually. There are days when I don’t feel like this. Yet, this feeling of Oneness and Divine Love is becoming more and more the norm, not the fleeting exception. However, when I don’t feel the love, and my old habits sneak in, the difference now is, I don’t beat myself up over it. I let it go and love myself anyway. That’s being human, right? We make mistakes and we learn from them. I don’t dwell on them and I definitely don’t let them run my life or define me. It’s the most empowering feeling in the world. To know that I can choose how I feel and can choose what I let into my consciousness. At any moment, I can choose to align myself with God, again and again, however often I mess up. God is always forgiving, and now, so am I.

So how did I get to this point? It’s been a long journey, to say the least. We traveled to Peru and back, and then across the whole United States, and we actually weren’t much closer to finding our perfect place to live or to finding God. So what happened? We stopped traveling and settled in an apartment in Eugene, OR. When we finally stopped searching outside of ourselves, the only place left to look was within ourselves. So that’s what I did. I had always known, in my head, that “happiness only comes from within,” but I didn’t know it at all with my heart or my soul. Now I finally understand what that means.

Happiness really does only come from within!

I was never going to be happy anywhere, until I could be happy wherever I was.

I emptied myself of my attachments and deflated my ego along our journey, only to feel quite empty and hopeless. It was at this moment (which was actually like a 3-6 month period), that I could be truly filled with Spirit. And once that happens, real happiness and real love could fill my entire Being and Soul. Again, this actually didn’t happen in one single aha! moment, but many fleeting ones. Until finally, I was able to start reprogramming my body, mind, and soul to be in alignment with one another and to reflect my true values and God’s Will on a daily basis. It took time and effort to actively “catch” negative thought patterns. It took a “letting go” of old, unconscious reactions to trigger situations. It took practice to be present, checking every thought and feeling. But it couldn’t be done without God, Spirit, inside of me, fueling me from within. The calming Presence of Spirit was finally able to shine through enough to help overcome years of unconscious programmed living. It’s through constant prayer, calling on Spirit moment by moment (even for the smallest of things, like opening a jar), daily meditation, and positive affirmations that I am finally seeing results of my “work,” which is actually more of un-work, more of a surrendering, a giving in to Spirit. I am finally realizing what it means to be a co-creator with God. He made us into creators, in His image, but not to create on our own, but through Him.

I believe our reality will reflect the quality of the questions we ask in Life. If we ask to know Jesus, we’ll know Jesus. If we ask to know Krishna, we’ll know Krishna. If we ask, “Why me?!” we’ll surely suffer. If we ask for a “good” job and money, that’s what we’ll get too. And so on, it goes. Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive.” He wasn’t joking. If we ask to know the Source of All Life, we will know it. I didn’t realize that at the beginning of my journey, I actually said in our first blog postings that we were asking to find the Source of All Life, God, the Creator. I don’t think I realized what an enormous undertaking that would include. There has been much suffering and learning involved. And I am far, far from done. I have asked a question that will continue to be answered for the rest of this Life. I feel like I am learning new things every single day and it is so exciting. I have a passion for life right now that it sometimes brings me to tears in the most random times. I am truly happy with myself, with my life, with everyone around me, with this exact moment. Words cannot convey the “fire in my belly” that I am feeling! I wish that every single person and being on this planet could experience this. I feel compelled to share it with the world. I believe this is what Jesus was taking about when he said that we could be like Him, and that He wanted us to make disciples in His way. I heard somewhere that Jesus didn’t actually hang out with prostitutes and beggars because He didn’t see prostitutes and beggars. He saw the Divinity in everyone and everything around Him. We can be like that too.

Imagine a world where everyone was completely free to truly do exactly what they loved, what they are really passionate about, what makes them feel as if time stands still. Imagine what the world would be like if we all played our unique instrument in the orchestra of Life. It would be a much different world than the one we live in now. Right now, it sounds like chaos, but I am beginning to hear a slight melody arising. Things are changing. We are not all here to do the same thing or play the same instrument, but we all are here for a purpose and we all have a place in the Orchestra. I know this world is possible because I can imagine it. And that’s where it starts, with an idea. Everything in this world started with an idea. So even if you don’t have an idea and can’t imagine this world I speak of, you can always ask a question. What if everyone had unlimited possibilities and potential available to them to live out their wildest dreams, right now? What would that world look like?

So without further ado, we have some big news. We are moving to northern Missouri to live on five acres of land, near the Possibility Alliance, an intentional community we visited last May. We are being given the opportunity to live our dream of homesteading, living simply, and being One with God's Creation. We are so excited, and yet sad to be leaving Eugene. We truly enjoyed our time here, and have made live-long friends, who will hopefully be able to visit us someday on our farm. This is where we'll be able to live out everything we learned along this inward journey. We won't have many of the comforts of modern living and it will be difficult, to say the least, but we know this is our call, our purpose in this life. We need to live "Spirit Embodied in the Flesh." The ultimate human experience for us is one of both the Divine and the Earth. We will only have God to rely on and we are excited. Our convictions of living off the land, reducing our carbon footprint, "living locally to support globally," and to serve God's greatest Creation, Nature, are finally emerging into our reality. Once we let Spirit fill us, we knew it was only a matter of time. We had complete faith that the perfect piece of land would come to us, and it did. To be honest, we didn't think it would be in Missouri, but that's the exciting part of all of this. You never know what God's up to! He always has something better for us than we could ever imagine. So the next chapter for us is about to begin, in one short month, we'll be heading back to Missouri, where all of this started for. We'll come full circle physically, but spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, we are forever changed.

Here's some pictures to remember Eugene with!
DSCN2626.jpgDSCN2624.jpgDSCN2628.jpgDSCN2637.jpgDSCN2639.jpg

Posted by jessp2386 15:26 Archived in USA Comments (1)

New Beginnings

Eugene, OR

So it seems we’ve been getting worse about keeping up on our blog. Life just happens and all of a sudden it’s been four months already! Well, our life has sure has been a roller coaster, to say the least, over the past couple months. In our last blog, we were in Portland. Well, we had a wonderful time there, but felt the call to keep going south to visit one more intentional community called Circle of Children near Eugene, OR. Long story short, anything can sound amazing on a website. Sadly, in reality, Circle of Children was far from amazing….we ended up leaving after two long days, even though we had just trekked across half the country to see this place, ugghhhh. A bit depressing, huh?
DSCN2138.jpgDSCN2155.jpgDSCN2164.jpg

So we headed into the nearest town, Eugene, to gather our puzzled thoughts. Why had we felt so drawn to come all this way to end up like this? Only God knows. We still don’t, that’s for sure. Anyway, since then, we’ve stayed a number of places nearby. First, it was with an elderly couple who invited us into their home after meeting them at a farmers market. Then we work-traded in exchange for an RV spot at a local hostel. All the while, we were visiting other intentional communities around the area. None in particular sparked our interest or had any openings until we visited Heart-Culture Farm Community. Now, it wasn’t glamorous, organized, or particularly sustainable, but it had potential. 33 acres of farm land, with almost none of it being used. All of sudden, ideas of food forests, permaculture gardens, animal-crop rotation systems were dancing through our heads! So we decided to stay. And that’s where we were for the last three months.
DSCN2185.jpgDSCN2197.jpgDSCN2235.jpgDSCN2244.jpg

Community life definitely isn't easy. The ideals of living in community are confronted with the reality of living in community. We realized even more about ourselves, about living with others, and about what we are really looking for in community. This has been a tremendous learning experience for us, in terms of personal, spiritual, and interpersonal growth. And we’re still learning to let go when it’s necessary and follow the signs that God is giving us.

With that said (and not going into the gory details), we decided to leave that community. We realized it was a learning experience, but definitely not the place for us to live long term. There was a possibility that we were going to get an apartment at another nearby intentional community near here, Lost Valley, but that didn’t work out (and possibly for the best). So we are now living in a 2 bedroom apartment near downtown Eugene. We are really close to parks, the Wiliamette River, and local markets. It's also been great to feel "normal" again, to have a home base. We're definitely not the wandering types. We've enjoyed getting to know the area, attending a local church and becoming part of that community, and trying to meet like-minded people in Eugene. Since here though, we have been on a couple mini-vacations to the Oregon coast and up to Seattle for Jessica's cousin's wedding (we took the train!). Now, it seems a new journey has begun for us, one of rebirth and rebuilding.
DSCN2224.jpgDSCN2230.jpgDSCN2368.jpgDSCN2373.jpgDSCN2330.jpgDSCN2378.jpg

So it may seem silly that we left our home and garden in Kansas City to just end up in an apartment in another US city. To many, it seems we have actually back-tracked in our life’s journey; there was a point we were wondering the same thing. However, this journey has provided us with more personal and spiritual growth than we could have ever done had we stayed in Kansas City. So we don’t have our farm yet, or even a garden, but we also know that we’re not done yet. This point in our journey is a stepping stone for something greater. We’re not sure what yet, but we know that something is coming. We will be farming and homesteading in the next few years, we’re just not sure where. Right now, we’re working on centering ourselves and connecting with God and others.

Our living situation aside, here's a little update about each one of us!

Tracy got a job as a counselor at a local non-profit. He's been there for a little over two months now and loves it. He really realized how much he missed counseling and is happy to be back helping people. He is also working on getting his license to do private practice here in Oregon. It's been a change having him away most of the day, but we're getting used to it. Elijah usually starts talking about dada an hour or so before he comes home from work. He is also able to ride his bike to work, now that our apartment is only 1.5 miles away!

Jessica is adjusting to being at home with Elijah all day by herself. It's definitely a task to chase a toddler around all day! And as the weather gets colder (we just had our first snow actually!), she's having to get even more creative to keep Elijah busy. We have been able to meet some new friends here in Eugene who have children, so that's been nice for Elijah and mama. Jessica has also been busy in the kitchen. She is soooo happy to have a kitchen that functions (that was one of the problems at Heart-Culture), and she has been baking breads, making ice cream, and making other simply things from scratch!

And finally Elijah, well he mainly poses for pictures all day, if you can't tell already ;) He has changed so much in just the last few months. He is doing more talking. He likes to try and repeat what we say. He also says most words that start with "B" like ball, balloon, baboon, bubble, etc. He actually hasn't gotten any more teeth, which is weird, but he is eating a lot of food now. He eats pretty much everything, but meat and cheese (with the exception of bacon and really expensive cheese, haha). Also, he is out of diapers!! You heard it, by about 17 months old (because we did EC), we stopped putting him in diapers because he is finally telling us when he needs to go potty! It's been pretty awesome! He is also loving playing instruments. He plays the guitar, the harmonica, the drums, the piano, etc. He also loves animals; one of the hardest things to leave at Heart-Culture were our chickens. We raised them for 8 weeks from day-old chicks and Elijah would give them kisses. It was super cute! Hopefully, someday soon, we will have some farm land and chickens again.

Until then, I will keep updating you all on our adventures in Eugene!
DSCN2275.jpgDSCN2320.jpgDSCN2322.jpgDSCN2402.jpgDSCN2408.jpgDSCN2410.jpgDSCN2428.jpg

Posted by jessp2386 07.12.2013 22:23 Archived in USA Tagged community new_beginnings changes Comments (2)

Whose Really in Control Here?

Becoming a Vessel for Spirit to Work Through Us

"Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness if only we had perfect confidence in the Power we were obeying.”
Hannah Whitall Smith

It’s Friday morning. One day after arriving in Portland, Oregon. We are sitting in a slightly dirty motel room. We are wondering what God has in store for us now. Knowing this is another test of faith, we still resist it slightly. We have no internet connection, no phone, and no way of knowing where to go or what to do; we are not in control. We can’t use our pop-up camper because of a city rule about RVs needing to be self-containing. We can’t find a tent campground; they’re either full or too far away. We are hungry too. It’s time for breakfast. So we start to drive. We have a very tiny map of Portland in our road atlas and try to decide which way to go, searching for a café…

Our journey up to now has brought us to this point, we know this. We know God is asking us to trust in Him to guide us to where we need to go. But man, it’s hard! All our programming tells us that we are in control of our lives. What are we doing?!? Why is it so hard to “let go” and let God lead us?

We’ll get back to this morning in just a minute. Let’s back up now, and bring you all up to speed, to how we got here in the first place. Last you heard, we were in Missouri. We had visited three different intentional communities, all very different from one another. We ultimately decided to keep journeying. We didn’t feel we were done yet. We really liked Sandhill Farm community in Missouri, and still may go back there to visit again, but felt called to check out one more community near Eugene, OR called Circle of Children. We’ll be headed there the beginning of August. Until then, we trucked it across the Great Plains and Rockies, visiting Yellowstone along the way, to make it to Spokane, Washington, where we would stay with Jessica’s family for a few weeks.

After a long and exhausting week traveling, we made it to Spokane. We were ready to take it easy for awhile, relax and let the grandparents smother Elijah with hugs and kisses. But alas! God had other plans for us, as we’ve become accustomed to now. Just as we thought we would relax in Florida when we came back from Peru, God decided we were not done learning and growing (and never will be). We won’t go into the details. Long story short, this whole journey up until now has been about ridding ourselves of our egos, attachments, and the illusion of control in our lives. We said in the beginning we were giving our lives up to follow God/Spirit wherever he may lead us, and He took us seriously.

If you’ve forgotten, we’ll sum it up nicely for you. First, we gave away or sold everything we owned, down to one backpack for the three of us. This got rid of our attachment to things, stuff, material possessions, plain and simple. Next, we left the country, our friends and family, the comforts of our “home” and everything familiar. That stripped us of many attachments, like TV, phones, the English language, our urban farm, our culture, etc. the list goes on as you can guess. Then, there were little lessons along the way, like when Jessica has a freak reaction to a sunburn that left her looking like Quasimodo for three days straight. If she had any attachment to how she looked, it was gone after that. Or one we didn’t mention yet, when Tracy got giardia for about two months, lost 20 pounds, and some days couldn’t get out of bed at all. If he was at all attached to a sense of strength, well-being, or “manliness,” it was definitely lost then. We’ve had little reminders from God that he is looking out for us and keeping us on our path. In Spokane, the message was the same. We needed to empty ourselves of our former identities, our egos. These are false senses of self and ultimately unfulfilling. What we needed was to get out of the way and let the Spirit fill us to make us whole again, truly whole, to be in touch with God. But all we felt at this point was empty.

Where was this Spirit that was supposed to fill us and where was God??

That’s when we really “let go” and cried out to God to fill us up with His love and His Spirit. We had little to nothing left. We couldn’t go any further trying to figure it out ourselves; we couldn’t doubt His plan for us anymore. We need God in our lives. And it was that simple. Of course, there are ups and downs to anything, good and bad days, but after that moment of ultimate surrender, life has been a little better every day. We know God is taking care of us, no matter what. That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said you must take up the cross and die each day. If ever a doubt, a negative thought, a worry comes into your mind, simply give it to God. And it really goes away!! We’re not kidding! For a long time, we were still holding onto this idea that we knew better, that we had to make a plan, but when you really give it all up to God, life is way easier!

Back to our story. We had just arrived in Portland and God was giving us the ultimate test of faith. What would we do in a situation where we forced to rely on God’s divine guidance? Would we panic? Would we stress out because we couldn’t look up a map, or Google a place to eat breakfast or stay the night? Would we just leave town because we could camp somewhere else instead? If you asked us a few months ago, the answer to those questions probably would have been, “Heck yes!” But no, we decided to stay relatively calm and let God literally guide us to where we needed to be.

So we drove. And ended up at a small café in NE Portland which (of course) didn’t have wifi. So we ate. And as we were eating and enjoying our breakfast, a little girl about Elijah’s age and her mother sat next to us. Naturally the toddlers brought us all into conversation. “How old is he?” “What’s her name?” You know, the usual.

Then silence.

Some believe that in every encounter we have with another human being there is a message for and from each individual, but it’s up to us to figure what those messages are.

Then just as they were getting ready to leave, the mother speaks up. “Do I know you from somewhere (to Jessica)? You look really familiar.”

Some also believe that when you recognize a stranger or get a sense that you know someone when you don’t, the Universe is trying to tell us something about the encounter. There is a message, a connection to be made, if we would just listen…

“No, we actually just got into town yesterday,” Jessica replies. It’s at this point that both of us knew that God was trying to work His magic through this conversation. After a little small talk about our current situation, the mother says with a slight hesitation, “I know this is a little weird, but we have an extra bedroom you could stay in.” And that was that.

So here we are now, staying with this wonderful little family. We ended up having so much in common with them, it can’t be a coincidence. This is Divine Intervention at its finest. We have children three weeks apart in age. We practice attachment parenting, like breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc. Okay so far, you could say that is just coincidence. We’re in Portland for one and lots of people do that here. But then it gets strange. They are also looking for intentional community, have very similar spiritual beliefs, want to live off the grid, and grow their own food! They actually just put a “meet up” request on meetup.com for fellow community seekers because they had recently been feeling so isolated from living and being with others.

So if that’s not proof that God exists and still works in our lives today, we don’t know what is. We’re convinced. And from now on, we’re giving every doubt, worry or problem over to God. We want to be vessels for God’s love and Spirit to work through us. He’s got a much better plan for our lives. Until next time!!

Elijah had his 1st Birthday
DSCN1738.jpgDSCN1741.jpg

Hot Springs and Yellowstone
DSCN1823.jpgDSCN1920.jpgDSCN1948.jpgDSCN1960.jpgDSCN1985.jpg

Spokane
DSCN2037.jpgDSCN2047.jpgDSCN2077.jpgDSCN2046.jpgDSCN2052.jpg

Posted by jessp2386 20.07.2013 14:07 Archived in USA Tagged meditation family god yellowstone spirit spokane submission acceptance divine_intervention ego empty_vessel Comments (0)

What is Sustainable?

When you really start thinking about it....

Wow, so a lot has happened since the last blog entry. To bring you all up to date, we traveled from Atlanta, GA to The Farm in TN. We stayed there two nights, knowing we weren’t actually interested in living there; it was more of just a stopping point and sight to see since they’re one of the most famous intentional communities. From TN, we drove into Missouri. After many rainy days and nights spent in state parks and a stay at Tracy’s parents, we made it to the Possibility Alliance (PA) on May 6th. They are an electricity-free and fossil fuel-free community with many high aspirations of saving the world through sustainability, love and nonviolence. After a wonderful stay at the PA, we headed to tri-communities area in the far northeastern corner of MO. The small town of Rutledge (population 109 in the last census) is home to three different intentional communities (Sandhill Farm, Dancing Rabbit, and Red Earth Farms), two of which we were staying at. First we were to visit Sandhill Farm on May 13th, a small income-sharing community that was founded in the 70s and is still going strong. They have a large emphasis on growing and preserving their own food, about 90%, which was deliciously amazing, by the way. Then it was off the Dancing Rabbit (DR) on May 20th, a very different style of community, an dense ecovillage, with goals of reaching 500-1000 residents. That’s where we are now.

So we’ve literally come full circle; we’re back in Missouri. And we can’t say that we’ve come any closer to finding that perfect place that aligns exactly with our values, but that place probably doesn’t exist, even in our heads anymore. Since visiting the last three communities, our ideas of sustainability have really been challenged. We’ve seen everything from the PA’s version of radical (and we mean radical) simplicity to iPods running off solar and wind power at DR. We’ve also seen 40 year old no-till organic gardens and we’ve seen people using tractors to fill 2 by 8 foot garden beds. Everything comes into question when you start pondering “what is sustainable?” What does it really mean to live with the Earth? One example, what is the embodied energy that went into this computer I’m on right now? If you don’t know, Wiki’s definition of Embodied Energy is this: “Embodied Energy is the sum of all the energy required to produce goods or services, considered as if that energy was incorporated or 'embodied' in the product itself.” How many parts and people’s lives went into making it? According to a nifty graph made at the PA, we learned that one computer takes thousands of parts, lives, and fuel to make. If one person decided to just make a computer from scratch (and we mean from scratch, like mining for your own metals, scratch), it would take 100,000 years to make it!! That’s kind of ridiculous, we know, but it puts a lot of things in perspective when you really start to think about what sustainability means to you.
For more information about energy usage, check out this site: http://theenergycollective.com/cdemorsella/48566/embodied-energy-measure-sustainability

Another quandary comes up when different individuals in a community have different goals of sustainability. Like us personally, we first think of food, growing and preserving it, as a way of being sustainable, while someone else thinks of solar panels and energy usage, and someone else thinks of biking instead of driving, and someone else thinks education of the masses is best, and so on. It’s endless! What we’ve learned after talking with folks at DR is that it’s extremely hard for people to agree on when “to use” or “not to use” a weed-eater. Everyone has a different level of comfort for what makes them feel like they’re moving towards sustainability and other areas that they are more “lax” on. For example, for Jessica here, she’s realized that she really likes hot showers. She’s not willing to forgo that right now in the name of being sustainable. For someone else, they’re just fine with jumping in a pond and calling it clean. So basically, it comes down to what can we do now? And how can we go to sleep at night without feeling guilty that we’re not doing all that we can to help our planet out?

The only answer we can come up with now is this: yes, to it all. Any level of sustainability is a movement towards being more sustainable as a species and for our planet. We only have one Earth to live on and at our current rate of consumption, resources are running out fast. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem like it. We’ve all heard people talking about the end of oil for decades now. Is it ever going to actually end?? The answer is yes, by the way. Here’s a new fact we just learned from The Humanure Handbook (an awesome book that everyone should read!). If everyone on the planet consumed as much as Americans did, we would need 3 more Earths to sustain us all. We are only 1/20 of the population, but consume like we’re 1/3 of it! So our suggestion for you and our plan (since it can get downright overwhelming at times) is this. Do what you feel comfortable with now, whatever that is. It’s one small step in the right direction, and then when that becomes the norm, take one more step, and one more…..and eventually we’ll all be living more sustainably. We can’t go live like humans did thousands of years ago right now, but we can all start being more conscious of our actions and how they affect others and the planet that we call home.

With that said, we really like it here in the tri-communities area of Missouri, and most likely we’ll end up applying for membership at one of these communities. We’re still in the decision-making process, but we’ll let you all know soon what we decide! Stay tuned!

The Possibility Alliance
DSCN1656.jpgDSCN1655.jpg

Sandhill Farm
DSCN1671.jpg3670F3472219AC681762E3D47470772C.jpgDSCN1667.jpgDSCN1679.jpg

Dancing Rabbit
DSCN1688.jpgDSCN1685.jpgDSCN1693.jpgDSCN1689.jpgDSCN1682.jpgDSCN1687.jpg

Posted by jessp2386 23.05.2013 09:31 Archived in USA Tagged missouri sustainability community_living intentional_communities Comments (1)

Understanding God's Path

It's Not About Giving Up Something...It's About Getting More Out of Life

So for the last three weeks, we’ve spend our time at two different Christian intentional living communities here in Georgia, Koinonia Farm and Jubilee Partners. The founders of Jubilee actually came from Koinonia, so the structures of the two communities are very similar. Both are doing really great things for the greater communities around them in terms of service and both are slowly growing in ways of sustainability; however, neither one of us felt called by God to live there. We’ve learned that we are definitely looking for a community committed to living as sustainable as possible; we are looking to grow most of our own food (and its got to be organic!), build our own dwellings (out of local and earth-based or reused materials, and reduce the amount of stuff we buy and use on a daily basis. We have noticed that both Koinonia and Jubilee faced a divide among members about food. Its one of those topics that is very personal and ignites passion in most people; parenting is another one, haha. Some people don’t care what is in or on their food and just want to spend the least amount of money or effort to get food to the table, while others are extremely passionate about growing and eating organically and sustainably and others fall somewhere in between. We’ve learned that we’re on that far end; we know that we will have to end up in a community committed to organic and sustainable production and consumption of food. We believe that what you ingest, what you feed your body, mind and soul, is just too important. I guess food will be a “deal breaker” for us as we search for community.

Here's some pictures from Koinonia:
DSCN1454.jpgDSCN1473.jpgDSCN1500.jpgDSCN1506.jpgDSCN1508.jpgDSCN1511.jpg
And some from Jubilee, with the cute refugee children:
DSCN1555.jpgDSCN1552.jpg

Anyway, with that said, Jessica had been having trouble figuring out what to write about for the blog for weeks now. Being in a spiritual community setting, she thought it should have been easy, but it wasn’t until now (sitting in a motel room in Atlanta, GA) that we’ve felt God guiding us again. Maybe that’s because when we struggle, we learn and grow, and this journey is about learning and growing for our family.

We enjoyed our time at Koinonia and Jubilee. It was so nice to be outdoors, to farm, to commune with others, and to enjoy ourselves. We were starting to see what living in community is all about and we were also learning what little things about community life we like and some things we don’t like. We were excited to start camping using our new pop-up camper; we had heard back from three other communities, so our itinerary was full, and it was going to be easy sailing for the next couple months of traveling…….right?

No. That’s not at all what God had in store for us! Instead, we ended up only making it two hours from Jubilee when our van started overheating very fast and we had to pull over. On top of that, Elijah had gotten a fever the night before (102) and was still running one all day. So with an overheated baby and an overheating van, we finally made it to the next exit off the interstate (after stopping every half mile for 20 minutes at a time). Luckily, God didn’t make it to difficult for us. The nearest exit had 5 different options for motels, an auto repair shop, a Walmart and a Target, all within walking distance, and many options for food (even organic!). Well, as we got settled into our motel, Elijah’s fever began to spike at 105. So with faith that God knew what he was doing, we took Elijah to the hospital. After some children’s Motrin and a look-over, the doctor concluded that it is probably a virus and the only thing to do was treat the fever and wait it out. His fever broke before leaving and we hailed a cab back to our motel for an exhausted night’s rest. The next day was better as his fever stabilized, and eventually went away all together. He’s really a great baby and was only a little extra whiny throughout the whole thing.

We’re still not sure why God decided that we needed to stay awhile in Atlanta. Maybe it was to remind us how much we can’t stand the city, haha? Just in case we needed extra motivation to find a community. Or maybe it was to experience an all-Black church; it was like being at a concert for God! Whatever the reason, at this point, we are sooooo ready to live simply and sustainably (traveling is not the life for us), we might just stop at the next community we like, hehe (Jessica is having daydreams of raising chickens and planting seeds). Maybe we’ll never know quite what God had in mind for us, but a couple good lessons were learned while we’ve been here. So since we can’t really decide on one topic for this blog entry, here’s a little bit about a few different topics. Feel free to give us any feedback too!! We’d love to hear others insights on what we’re doing or experiences you’re having!

Topic 1: Community Life

Can Americans really live together in community? Are we too territorial? Too independent? Has our sense of community been bred out or our culture? Watching a living, breathing, functioning community is very interesting. You get all these individuals with different personalities and ideas of how things should be done, but somehow they are making it work, ever so slowly. It seems that there needs to be a common goal, a way of life that is shared by the group to make it work, whether that is stewardship to the Earth or service to God, there’s got to be a common thread to bring people back together when there is disagreement. It also requires a reprogramming of the mind, body and spirit to a state that is truly communal and sees that we are all one. It’s really hard to fathom, this concept of oneness. We know its true with our heads, but can only see fleeting glimpses of it within our hearts. It’s this concept that we feel is lacking in most Americans, ourselves included. We’ve been trained to be independent and think with our minds, not our hearts. And because of this, it is really hard to see the oneness, the connectedness, between us all. You can get a glimpse of it after a tragedy, but what would happen if we channeled that energy each day to celebrate wellness and cheer on our fellow person?

Topic 2: Faith

What does it mean to have faith? We mean real faith in God’s plan for you? We were at a local church a week ago and in a small group discussion after the service. We were talking about “change” and how that makes us feel. What if God called you to make a change in your life that you were uncomfortable with? Would you do it? Or would you resist the feeling? It was interesting hearing other people speak about it because they mentioned things like “mergers happening at work” stressing them out, or about changing the field of work they were in and how that impacted their daily life. To us, these changes seemed superficial, but we realize to most people “jobs” are extremely real and dictate everything in their lives. Once in Peru, someone said you can pick out the Americans because they always ask the question “What do you do?” in conversations. We, Americans, seem to define our life, our life’s importance, by the work we do. So we got to wondering, do we really have faith in God or do we have faith in our jobs? Do we really let God decide what we do each day or do we let our boss or our schedule decide that? Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter. So what would you do if you felt called to do something that meant giving up your job? Do you have faith that God would provide for you?

Topic 3: The Meditation Effect

So back to a topic regarding oneness. Some people (more and more every day) believe that there is this universal consciousness that connects us all. There’s actually a lot of scientific research out there that supports this. Look up the "100th Monkey" or check out David Wilcock’s site for more info: divinecosmos.com. So the theory behind the meditation effect is that if enough people focus their attention on one thing (whether it be happiness, peace or fear), it will enter the minds of even more people, with the potential of reaching the entire human race. Have you ever felt the difference between a bustling city and the quiet of nature? Why is one calmer than the other? Why do certain places emanate a different vibe than others, some positive, some negative? We think that in many cities, a lot of people are stressed, rushed, and generally have negative feelings; you can see it in their driving (especially in Tampa, FL, man, that was an angry city). It seems to get into your mind, these same feelings, even when your day didn’t start bad or negative. How is this so? Maybe it’s the universal consciousness. This is one reason we feel called to live a more simple and sustainable life; we think that if we do it, naturally others will follow too via this universal consciousness that we all tap into, even unconsciously, every day. If we start having wonderful feelings of loving the Earth, being thankful to God, and being mindful of what we consume, maybe others will too. We can only hope!

Finally, Topic 4: No Impact Man

So this past weekend, we watched the documentary film, "No Impact Man," a tale of one man (and his wife and daughter) who decided to live one year with no environmental impact on the Earth. Please, please check this out FOR FREE on Hulu.com (Top left, click Browse, then Documentaries, then scroll right and look for it!). What intrigued us the most was why some people in the film had such a negative reaction to someone doing something seemingly so positive? We’ve had similar reactions, we believe, to what we’re doing (and exposing) on this journey. So we began pondering why people don’t want to hear about all the awful things that are happening in our country. We think it makes people feel guilty about the way they’re living; they simply don’t want to hear about it because then if you know it, you might have to do something about it.

So with that, why don’t people want to do something about it? Americans are very passionate people, about certain topics, so why aren’t they up in arms about statements such as this: Did you know that an average Georgia peach can be found with 62 different chemicals on/in it? 25 are known honeybee toxins, 11 are developmental/reproductive toxins, 12 are neurotoxins, 10 are known carcingens, and an astounding 29 are hormone disruptors (and we wonder why girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier?). More info can be found at whatsonmyfood.org. (Data comes from the USDA and the EPA) To us, this is ridiculous, that we would allow companies to knowingly poison us and our children!! But you all already know that about us :) So back to everyone else in America, why aren’t we upset?!? Why don’t we demand change? We think it’s because then Americans would have to change others part of their live, and most feel that means giving up things they like.

So back to the film. The wife in the film was a perfect example of your average American. She loved her TV shows, her quad espresso-whatever drink from Starbucks, and her daily eating-out at restaurants. She felt that if she gave up those things that made her happy, she’d be miserable. And at first, she was. She resisted her husband’s efforts to live more simply, secretly sneaking a coffee every now and then. But then something started to change, within her. She began to see that after giving up those material things she thought she loved, she first felt an emptiness, a hole--a longing--that slowly began to be filled with things like love, connection, and true appreciation. The end result was that after stripping away all this “stuff” we have in America what you find is that we’re really just filling a hole in our souls that really longs to be filled with deeper things, like God and Spirit, a connection to the Earth and the food we eat, a connection to others around us that doesn’t involve Facebook, and a sincere desire to love ourselves and others around us by forming real relationships in community. So basically what we’re trying to say is before you feel guilty, before you get judgmental or defensive, look within, to what you really want in life and what can really fill that hole in each one of us. We think you can make that change; we believe that all of humanity is capable of living harmoniously with each other and with the planet, and it doesn’t involve giving up anything, it really means getting the most out of our lives here on Earth.

So now for an update on our travels! We plan to leave Atlanta tomorrow for Summertown, TN where The “infamous” Farm is located. It’s an intentional community which started back in the 70s by a bunch of hippies from California. They are probably most known for their birthing center with Ina May Gaskin, a midwife who has birthed over a thousand babies and written countless books on birthing. Check out thefarmcommunity.com for more information about them! Till next time!!

DSCN1447.jpgDSCN1517.jpgDSCN1523.jpgDSCN1520.jpgDSCN1547.jpgDSCN1550.jpgDSCN1493.jpgDSCN1490.jpgDSCN1561.jpgDSCN1469b2.jpg

Posted by jessp2386 22.04.2013 18:19 Archived in USA Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 21) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 »