The Gift of Vision {Esther Emery for #wholemama}

It is so fun to have Esther write for us today. She was the momentum behind #wholemama when we began (30 weeks ago!!) and it is just right to have her begin this new year here. 



By Esther Emery

This is the first year in ages that I have no idea what I’m supposed to be working on. In my creative life, I have hardly any deadlines to meet. Hardly any obligations at all, that seem substantial. The calendar is a big, blank, intimidating thing.

I keep waking up with the feeling that I’ve forgotten something really, really important. Like a whole book, or something, that I was supposed to write. Or putting on my pants.

It’s the calm after the storm for me right now. In the late fall I pulled a round of book edits out of my bone marrow, which is the sort of extraction usually only done by surgeons or man-eating lions, so it’s a miracle I survived. But I did survive. But also that book doesn’t release for another whole year. That’s a long time.

I feel like a rock that just got washed over by a really, really big wave and now the tide is low. What do I do now?

It wasn’t only the edits that washed over me in late 2015. I also had an unexpected explosion on a platform I would never have guessed was going to take off for me. I’ll tell you the truth, because you’re my friends, the explosion was so big it completely lifted me off my feet. I shifted my direction to respond, which I think was the right thing to do. But now I’m not exactly sure where I am, or how far off course I’ve travelled. Do I try to get back on the old path? Or forge ahead from here? Or do I have the force of will (magic, really) to bring the two together?  

Envision…is our word for the week, that we’re all writing on together. And I hate it, but I need it so, so badly. Right now this is exactly what I need.

I remember when I was first moving off the grid with my family, a friend of ours made us a quilt. It was a beautiful free hand kind of quilt, the kind that makes a picture. And in the picture were all the things I had said I wanted in our off grid homestead. There was a home, and in the home a table, and on the table a bowl of apples. There was water running by a garden and a small orchard and a swing set, and evergreen trees and mountains in the background.

It was the gift of vision.

I laid that picture over the blank, intimidating pages of the calendar and I felt much less like I was stranded in an unknown land. I felt much more like a person going somewhere. Maybe not a person with a mission — we don’t need to go that far — but for sure a person who remembered to put on pants.

I need to draw my quilt for 2016. Anybody with me? I need to remember the things I said I wanted, and make a picture with them.

** How does the palpable quiet and growing truth of my off grid life these days fit with having a following on YouTube? ** What does it mean to be a person who wrote a book but can’t prove it because it won’t be on the shelves for another whole year? ** What does it mean to be a mom whose kids are now another year older, and aren’t ever going to be babies again? **

I’d love for this to be the season of making lists and resolutions. I’d love even more for it to be the season of doubling down and getting lots of work done. But I’m afraid it just isn’t. For me this is a season of quiet and prayer: planning and patience. It’s a season of baby steps, just inching forward, trying not to do anything too rash until I can figure out what the heck is going on. It’s a season ripe for “envision.”

Your turn! What do you need to envision this New Year? What’s your technique? Do you quilt, draw, pray, dream…write blog posts? I look forward to reading everyone’s words!




Esther writes at Church in the Canyon where she writes about her life, faith and the wild sacred. She lives with her three kids and husband in a yurt on an Idaho mountainside.  Here is her youtube channel about everything off-grid.



Join in as we write on ‘Envision’? Don’t forget to link up here:

We also have our #wholemama facebook group where you can access the prompts early and get to know us in person(ish) :)

9 thoughts on “The Gift of Vision {Esther Emery for #wholemama}

  1. Esther, what fun to find your words here! You have expressed so well that feeling of having come unmoored. I’m doubling down on feeding my Sunday School class this winter, and trusting that in the process, my own soul will find sustenance as well.


  2. Esther. I think I’m a few seasons behind you. So much writing, so many ideas I want to get down and precious little time to do it. Praying this season brings you a well deserved time of rest and renewal. Cannot wait for your printed words to be ready.


  3. I’m kind of in the same place, but I think it’s turning 49. The transition of kids into college and marriage and aging parents (when did that happen?) has been one of those waves that washed over me this year. I’m building my new business but am having trouble envisioning what’s next with my writing. Like you talked about in another post, I spend a lot of time–too much energy, really–wondering what I’m “supposed” to do. Funny how that is still a question as I move into my 50s. I am eagerly awaiting your book, Esther.


  4. I am in a place of not knowing what I’m supposed to be working on either… just taking it one idea at a time and seeing where that gets me. Sort of a year for experimenting.


  5. I think I’m in a place where I need to make more progress on some of the dreams I had last year. I need to take baby steps and move forward one day at a time. But I also need to throw some rest time in there, too, and time for waiting. I need to make some plans and follow through with them. But I want to make this a year of brightness and joy no matter how dark the circumstances get. I hope to do more art journaling and poetry writing. :) I love what your friend did for you with the quilt. Such a delightful thing!


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