Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dare the Dream - Our SeaChange Whirlwind

If you are reading this - you are either a supportive family member, friend or curious visitor. Thanks for stopping by :)

Our journey has been quite a whirlwind... and though it seems cliche to talk of seachange (or treechange) I hope you find this blog interesting and as amazing as we did experiencing it all unfold...hmmm - Where to begin?

How did we get here?

This is the question...

At the beginning of 2009, if anyone had told me that we would selling our house in Brisbane suburbia and relocating to the beautiful Australian coast - well I wouldn't have believed them.
There were too m
any reasons why this was not our path...
We were well settled into the suburb-scape with the kids at a really really great school, juggled health issues (please no extra stress!), our favourite shops nearby and our own house we fought hard for. We also had a very full community of friends and family all around us.... Why would we move from this? No-matter what dreams niggled deep down inside us - 'rational' won out. Besides, I didn't think we were even allowed to have more than this (our lot in life)...

Sure we talked about retiring to the coast 'one day' - usually with the sigh of "wouldn't it be nice... one day"... But I totally believed that we needed to remain as we were until we had slogged it through life, the kids were older (moved out even?) and we 'deserved' to go for the dream of coastal living.... It had taken us ten years to even get the deposit to buy our first home in suburbia (that's another whole story). Surely we needed to be wise and hold onto this first home for several more years before we even thought of upgrading...

Then it happened... A whirlwind hit us...
and our path well and truly changed direction :)

It began via the growing awareness that we were headed for a crisis of sorts... An evolving conviction over a couple of months (built up over years to be honest) that we needed to 'fight for our family' and that how we were living wasn't cutting it.

is that saying
If you keep doing what you've always done - 
you get the same results"....
Well when we were brutally honest with our current results, our relationship as a couple, with our kids and as a family as a whole - it was lacking...
And this lack was building up in intensity... We were busy in our lives (doing good things of course) and made choices that meant our family consistently took 2nd place...

I had a sudden realisation that if we were at war - I would do absolutely anything to protect my family... I was, in essence, by my lack of action, allowing my family relationships to be battered... slowly but surely... If I desired to protect and place them first - where is the action that showed this??? In my busyness running around - many projects, tiredness, unproductive or unhealthy habits, ... oh and really, where was the 'quality time' that is so essential to building relationships in positive ways...

Our marriage,
our children - were not just a task on the list or to be taken for granted... They are precious relationships to be protected, placed first and nutured mind, body and spirit... I believed this... but did I live this? Not very well...

So, one week in June 2009, J & I had a confronting conversation. I finally agreed to be open to other paths no-matter where they led - open to other opportunities that would allow us to put each other and our family first.... Even if it took me away from my comfort zone in Brisbane.

My first step was to escape from Brisbane for a weekend away with my man... no kids :) We took a breath of fresh air, reconnected with each other and explored the coast... We remembered how much we loved certain places on the coast... Our first kiss was here... soooo many fond precious memories... each holiday we tried to escape this area... We began to look around with new eyes...Began to dream 'What If ?'... What if we slowed our lifestyle down? What if we lived somewhere we were outdoor more... emmersed ourselves in nature... family activities together more... lived a healthier lifestyle? What if we were away from all the distractions that were currently in our life?
Looking around we remembered our dream to build our own place - and we began to ask about prices of land... Most were as expected and too expensive... Then we drove down a different street... Past a sign that said "DARE THE DREAM".... What an incredible motto we said!!! Then as we keep driving we see beautiful australian bush and flora/forna of an eco-friendly estate... Wow! We loved this place - it had a peaceful environment and so many trees, but surely its too expensive...
Well it doesn't hurt to look around we thought...

As it turned out, the land prices had just been lowered (bringing them to the upper edge of a budget we could achieve)... We were able to explore the land and paths through the reserve. We totally fell in love with a particular block that backed onto the nature reserve (trees were the only neighbours at the rear of the block - never to be cut down... the outlook was straight into a nature sanctuary) hmmm Sanctuary....

There were walking paths all through the nature reserve.
The potential for leading a healthy lifestyle was right at the doorstep. These paths led past the lake and all the way to the n
earby gorgeous river precinct...

AND there were schools nearby! Our minds began to dream... Imagine if J was able to get a JOB at the nearby high school... hmmmm... What a incredible thought! I could keep working from home for my job ... and if J got a job at that school then he could walk to work! Slower lifestyle... healthier lifestyle... space for the kids to play... if a job ever turned up nearby then relocating was actually possible!!! I actually got slightly scared about hoping such a thing...
Dare we dream it??? Well, this place seemed to tick all the boxes... and now we had seen a block of land to aspire to...

So, returning to Brisbane we decided that all we could do was 'open the door' to this potential change... We would take step at a time, keep our eyes open and if the 'doors' kept opening then we would keep moving forward... as scary and as exciting as it seemed... We didn't have to wait long at all...

Within 6 days (not even one week later) there was a job advertised in J's areas of teaching and at the exact school near the block of land!!!! OMG - I expected abit more time to adjust to the thought of this move... but no - J applied, went for the interview and then GOT THE JOB!!! The 'door' was not only staying open for us to walk through - we were speeding though it :))) How could we back out now?!

We then had a rushed few weeks to pack up, get a rental in the area up the coast and sell our existing house... Whew!!! It was a whirlwind... But looking back now - I suspect that if it didn't happen so quickly I may have chickened out from such an overwhelming task... You definitely need guts to go for change / dreams / more in life...

There were also many little inspiring events that helped me keep faith along the bumpy way... There were many practical needs to ensure we survived such a time of change/stress with three kids and limited budget. We needed to rent somewhere cheap! This was overwhelming but worked out. TICK

We needed to get the kids into a new school. The school we wanted was 'full' but due to J being a teacher at the connected high school - they made the exception and found the kids a spot. TICK

Step by step we kept walking forward...
Our eldest daughter was very very apprehensive about the new school. On a visit prior to starting we accidently
bumped into a teacher - and what do you know - it was a familiar face from our Brisbane school - a teacher who had relocated the year before. It made all the difference to our daughter's anxiety levels.

Another practical example was our washing machine situation... Basically, I have a very large washing machine that would never have fit into the small space in the unit we were to rent until our house was built. We didnt' have the money to buy a new one.
A few days before the moving trucks came, a house across the road put out a washing machine ont
o the curb with a FREE sign attached...
It worked perfectly (was only missing one little hose - cost me $12 to replace) and it fit into the space in the unit!!!
I could now wash our clothes :) TICK

Then after our exhausting move to the unit (up 3 flights of stairs), my daughter runs in early morning to tell me there was a rainbow... Sure enough - we woke to a RAINBOW on our first morning at our new location on the coast!!!
It almost seemed too corny to be true... But there it was!!!

So there's the basic background story...
I will keep posting about the steps of our
construction, particularly photo updates of the progress. So if you are interested in these - stay in touch.

I also hope to share more of the back stories from the past 10 months. Eg: the insane rollercoaster ride that was our finance application(s):
Deposit on Land! Yay!!! excitement... OMG is the house gonna sell??? Nup contract fell through... Get an extension for the land contract... House sold Yay! Now bank needs more paperwork... Yes you have the money, but not enough...

Are we crazy??? What are we doing again? Oh thats right - DARING THE DREAM!

Now we need house plans to do loan for both land and home together... Stress... hurry up and get house contract... not quick enough - need another extension on land contract... Take more out of house plans to bring cost down... Is that enough? Oh please please.... What if the bank doesn't value it enough? Is it all over?

Just Breathe.... more paperwork... and finally "Yes you have been approve
d!" You mean the land is ours??? Now we can't go back!

Next step: hang in tight for council approval....

Frequent survival tactic =
"I think I'll go for a walk
on the beach"... waves... peace... calm...

Thank Y
ou God!

Then of course there is the
adventure of living in a small 2 bedroom unit with 3 kids stacked in bunks (in one very small room)... Oh the stories... I think I will get my funnier half to tell those ones... stay tuned :)))

Anyway this post gives some background...
However my future blogs unfold - thank you for reading about this adven
ture we are on... and this journey towards "building sanctuary" for our family :)))

If our story, in some small way, encourages you to also give attention to your relationships, family, dreams and hopes - then it is double the blessing...

Please feel free to comment...
I'd love to hear from you!

Peace :)


  1. aahhh Mary ... I feel like I just had a cuppa with you reading your first entry ... a quote came to mind ...
    "a ship is safe in the harbour but that's not what a ship is for" ~ William Shedd
    your courage & conviciton is inspirational ... I miss you my friend ... sending hugs your way ! love, Kell xoxo

  2. Great writing Mary. It's very inspiring!
    Here's a link to another blog you might like.
    Although her style's different to yours, all whitewashed and driftwood, like you she lives by the sea,in a little shack she's done up. I love reading about her life by the sea, walks on the beach etc. Very relaxing.

  3. Oh Kel - thanks 4 ur comment :)))) wish it was a cuppa with u in the real world my dear friend. U have to give us a bell wen u next holiday up here... In the meantime - its nice to connect in the virtual world :) Luv 2 u and urs xoxo

  4. Esther - that blog (abeachcottage) is amazing.. def going to follow closely... Thanks heaps! :)) xoxo

  5. Thanks for sharing that story Mary. You have a way of making a truly unbelievable (and not always pleasant) story sound so achievable - inspiration I need as I take my family down the same path.

  6. Thanks Matt - Looking forward to our families journeying together on this adventure :)

  7. Thanks Mary for the sharing... Made me miss you heaps and heaps... I felt lonely with out you guys. It also made me jelous! I would love to pack up and move either to the beach or coast, but Joe doesn't think it would work because of his business (sometimes, I hate that business because of the commitment needed) but we all know how committed Joe can be when he puts him mind to it. Love you and I look forward to reading more. How do I register to get notifications via email? Couldn't work it out. Sarah

  8. Don't worry about my question about registering... I think I worked it out.

  9. Hi Sarah, love u, miss u also :)
    When a seachange isn't on the cards, I reakon "sanctuary" can be always be created in little ways as well.... I love the film clip from Lemony Snicket that I posted below - coz its about being "together" whatever the events/circumstances... Just see my post as me encouraging you to create "sanctuary" with your family - whenever, however, in whatever ways you can... big or small...
    Love u!

  10. It is so neat to find your blog. My husband and I are daring to dream of the possibilities for our future. We are at a time in life where God seems to be opening our hearts and minds to dream things that even seem impossible. It was great to read about your adventure! :)

  11. Oh tea - it's lovely to meet you here... Adventures do need 'guts' and faith for the journey... Blessings on yours with your husband :)
    I love your post (I had to head over and find out more about u :) I resonate with your words.... "daring to envision the life we really want to live"... simple / crazy adventures... Lovely, good stuff.... Thanks for ur supportive comment :)