Is It Time To Dream?

by holli on April 8, 2015

I will never forget that time when I was nineteen, following my boyfriend as he literally used a machete to clear a path through the greenbelt behind my Aunt’s house. She and I were talking and following him along a little hidden area in the city – adventuring down a steep ravine area behind her house. I don’t remember exactly how the topic came up, but I’ll never forget that moment…

She looked at me and said with full earnest conviction, “You can do anything.” We were talking about dreams and the future and my hopes. It wasn’t often that I had a chance to really talk to her, and the moment will forever be etched in my memory, because I was amazed at how comical our surroundings were with the sincerity and depth of our conversation. Looking back, that was a perfect scene. Really, how many people get a chance to adventure down a slope and have a heart to heart talk with someone so dear and inspiring?

My Aunt isn’t old enough to be my Mother, but I have always looked up to her. Whether she knew it or not, her life acted as a sort of real life Cinderella story for me. Her life still does!

That day, I remember smiling at her comment, and yet deep down, I didn’t believe it. I knew good and great things happen, but I wasn’t sure it could happen for everyone. I was just starting to think about how to make it on my own. Having grown up just under middle class, I knew that life was a struggle. There wasn’t a clear way for me to break that cycle I grew up in with parents who didn’t have a full college education and always lived pay check to pay check (or through food stamps and generosity of family).

But, slowly, I am starting to see the truth. The possibilities are all around us, we just have to be brave and patient enough to reach…

I’m leaving for Bolivia in one week, and while part of me feels like this is a dream come true, part of me is afraid. Everything about this opportunity to learn non-profit photography in the very place I vowed to myself to return and help the local people is unbelievably perfect. To go, I had to ask for help, and have faith that all the details would line up. They have, and yet here I sit, feeling my eyes well up.

I am afraid that I’ll go and discover that I really don’t like working outside my comfort zone. Or that seeing first-hand what life is like in a country with such a high infant mortality rate will make me feel helpless. And, I expect to cry. A lot. I’m like that.

And, I’m afraid that I’ll love it, and want to do it all the time. I am not sure how that would actually be possible when I want to be the kind of Mom who’s home to chaperone filed trips and snuggle my kids on sick days.

But, then I pause and I remember how far I’ve come to chase this opportunity to explore the dream I had 16 years ago. When I was 16, I traveled as my Grandma’s companion to Bolivia as she did a little reunion tour – having grown up as a missionaries’ daughter she spent her teen years there. It was the first time I saw what poverty really looks like. And, I knew I had to help out, but didn’t know how I ever really could. Back in Seattle, I was just a teenager and it seemed like a very long time until I would be able to explore that dream.

So, it’s with a heart full of gratitude that I get to see what this little dream really looks like in person. Will I love it? Will want to step into it fully? As I pack and prepare, I’m reminded that you really can do anything. It’s just a matter of patience, persistence and opportunity.



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Update: All The Things

by holli on March 18, 2015

CostaRicaAdventure 6 (1)

Hola from Costa Rica!

Hello, Dear Readers!

This is a long-overdue update. As I entered into 2015, I knew that I had some sorting and de-cluttering to do in my life in order to find more focus and balance to reach toward goals that kept evading me. Like dear friends that you are, I’m jumping back into the blogging sphere with a personal letter. Here’s what is has been going on around here…


The biggest change in our home life is giving up our community garden plot. It was a wonderful place to grow our own food for roughly 3 years, and it was hard to let it go. But, I realized last summer that what I really wanted from the garden was two things:

1. My kids to know where their food comes from – how it grows.

2. Reap the rewards of growing some of our own foods – at peak harvest time, we reduced our grocery budget by 20%!

Last summer, I found us “volunteering” more in the school garden where my kids felt more invested than our own garden plot where we pay an annual fee for the same efforts. As we entered into the Fall season, I also found myself with much less time to dedicate toward what having a community plot involves: for example, leading a volunteer role – I hosted potlucks and an annual cider press. This was the first season where I didn’t host any event. It was hard and frustrating, but I simply didn’t have the time.

I have accepted the fact that my kids get this kind of experience at school and that while I want to grow my own food, now is not the right time or place.


In February, we took our longest vacation and traveled the farthest we ever have as a family – to Costa Rica! It was 12 days outside our comfort zone in Central America. The kids traveled better than I ever dreamed and I think we must do it again – probably not as soon as we’d all like. We had the pleasure of staying most of the time with relatives who knew where to get groceries and medical care (hola, swimmers ear!). We all missed the warmth as soon as we landed back in SeaTac!


In the last few months, and even through last summer, I have kept vigilant about my family’s health. As I shared about a year ago, my kids and I share the MTHFR gene mutation. My kids had tested high for Mercury, Lead and Arsenic and we’ve worked hard to remove those from their bodies. I’m happy to report the Mercury is gone, Arsenic and Lead are down, but still present. I’ve learned an awful lot about our food, the environment and MTHFR. It’s all a little overwhelming, but I’m happy to share more in a dedicated post.


As I have been shifting my focus this year, I’ve taken a long look at where our family goals are and where my personal goals are in order to reach them. We want to live in a house with a big enough yard to grow our own food and to have pets and possibly chickens. We can’t do that unless I start to really contribute to our income. My photography and crafting have so far only been little more than self-sustaining hobbies.

With only 24 hours in a day, I have finally accepted that I cannot do ALL The Things. So, I let go of a volunteer neighborhood role as well as the community garden plot. My time has been spent on building a photography business instead, which is fun but also hard to admit that I can’t do everything.

I’m honestly not sure where to go with Scratch Treehouse. I have numerous ideas and recipes to share, but find myself stuck. I think taking a break from writing was keeping me from writing longer than I anticipated. So, I’d like to ask you:

What has been most helpful to you here on Scratch Treehouse?

Is it the recipes?

The Health posts?

The honest rantings of life with kids?

I plan on jumping back into this, but am trying to regain my focus. Thank you for reading and sticking around!




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It’s that time again. The time for gyms, diet books and nutritionists to get back to work! You see some diets work wonders for your friends, and your mom swears by hers. Every diet seems to contradict another. You try one, and it doesn’t do a single thing except make you HANGRY (angry + hungry). […]

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A Year In Review: 2014

January 2, 2015

This is the month where I have to accept good enough. Some things are unfinished. Some goals weren’t even given a chance. Some things have to be let go. I have missed writing and sharing, but it is one area that I have to let go of when I’m just barely able to keep up with […]

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