For the Dreamers

At the beginning of the year, I made a few goals for myself, one of which was to blog monthly (at least) for an entire year.  It really shouldn't be THAT hard to put my thoughts in writing every once in a while, but finding the time to make this a priority has been SO challenging!  Part of the challenge is that I want to explore and write about SO.MANY.THINGS.  I want to unpack the value that I've seen through Storytelling Photography and share my heart for capturing family moments.  I want to share more about my husband's business and the importance of creating a space you love.  I want to write about our before and after projects.  I want to write about parenting and motherhood and home decor and capsule wardrobes and home remedies and minimalist living.  My interests range far and wide and determining what this blog should be about and where to invest my already limited time has been no small feat.

But I think this "problem" is the positive result of a choice I made a few months ago.  When Nora was born, I let myself off of the hook in a lot of ways.  I loosened my grip on my workout schedule.  Laundry gets done when there is time.  The house doesn't need to be spotless at all times.  I started to live with less structure and more flow and in the freedom of that, I began to explore.  I gave myself permission to dream differently and decided that the story I am writing and the story our family is writing can be about whatever the heck we want it to be about, and that we can change our minds whenever we darn well choose.  It is such a liberating feeling to give yourself the grace to allow yourself to change course (read here for more on changing your dreams).

And because of that decision, here I am, sitting in my bed, making a GIANT list of blog post topics and business ideas...because I can.  Because possibility excites me.  Because, at the moment, THIS gives me life.  And when inspiration and excitement strikes, you just gotta go with it.  My husband is sound asleep beside me and my brain in running faster than my fingers can type.  It's awesome.  And overwhelming.  And fantastic.  And a bit scary.  Allowing ourselves to dream and explore with God is such an exhilarating feeling.  Some days my dream consists of connecting with families through a camera.  Other days it looks like making a house a home with my husband.  But I've decided that I can love and dream about both.  

All too often, I tend to see God as someone who has a "plan" for me and when I narrow in on the concept of "a plan", I accidentally believe that there is only one course with one option and I'd better not make the wrong decisions or the whole thing will derail and be a dumpster fire of failure.  But I think Bob Goff paints a much more beautiful (and truthful) picture.

"I think a father's job, when it's done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children's lives, and whisper, 'Where do you want to go?' Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us.  God asks what is is He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our should to experience the richness of the world He made.  And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 'Let's go do THAT together".  -Bob Goff

What a beautiful invitation that too often we turn down out of fear of what others might think of us.  I pains me to think of those who have also turned down this invitation because of the pressure that I've put on them; shaming them into a safe way of living because it makes me uncomfortable (and maybe a bit jealous) to see them writing unconventional, passionate stories with their lives.

I've had the privilege of connecting with a few other dreamers lately.  Some are at the beginning stages of wanting to try something new and others are in active pursuit.  I cannot even put into words how impactful it has been for me to engage with people who have decided to want something different for their life and who have given themselves permission to "just go for it".  It's allowed me to dream more freely and openly, without the concern of what others might think, because to be honest, it does not matter one bit.

So this is just a word of encouragement for all of you other late-night dreamers who are burning the midnight oil.  You get to pursue whatever makes you most proud of the story you are writing.  But don't just pursue those things with what you have left at the end of the day.  Create space for your craft to flourish.  Chase your dreams unapologetically, out in the open.  And encourage others when you see them leaning into something new and daring.  I'm reminded more and more each day that we've only got one life-story to write, let's make it a great one!

Ashley Sider