Partial Solutions

Do you have a dream? A really big and beautiful dream? A dream that you feel like you just can’t start working on yet?

Maybe it’s a book you want to write. A book you will write, just as soon as you can set aside a space in the house that is just for writing, and take uninterrupted holidays and spend a month or so dedicated to your magnum opus.

Maybe you want to invite people over to dinner. And you will. Just as soon as you get a dining table that can fit more than four, and can afford a new couch to replace your ratty old one.

Maybe you dream of running a marathon. And you’ll start training just as soon as you can block out an hour of each day to go for a run. 

Maybe you want to travel. But right now you spend every weekend at home watching TV because you can’t afford an international adventure.

Maybe you want to go into missions, but you’re worried about how you’ll finance your retirement if you leave now, so you’re staying at your job waiting until your superannuation is at a sufficient level before you take the leap and go.

Christina and I have a bit of a chat about our big dreams (among other things) in this week’s podcast. I’m finding that I’m becoming very enamoured of the idea of ‘partial solutions’. (I first heard that term on Tsh Oxenriders podcast, Simple.)

Whatever the dream that you have, I’m sure that there’s a perfect solution that will allow you to achieve that dream. And you may have spent hours thinking about that perfect solution, polishing it up, gazing at its beauty. But all that time and effort has not brought you any closer to achieving that dream. And in some cases, it might have pushed you further away.

Here’s a beautiful scene we found on a weekend adventure.

How about you start thinking instead about a partial solution?

Maybe you can start to write your book sitting on your bed in the last fifteen minutes of the day.

Maybe you can invite people over to dinner despite your small table. The kids can sit on the ratty couch and you and the adults can take the table. You won’t be so worried about stains if the couch is already ratty, and you can all relax.

Maybe you can pack some runners and go for a walk in your lunch hour at work. Or if you have kids, you can walk them to school. Maybe you can only get out for ten minutes; it’s better than nothing, and my experience was that a ten minute walk kickstarted my fitness routine much more effectively than a half-hour run that was never taken.

Maybe you can pack the car and go for a Saturday adventure. Just a day out, right where you live. A bush walk, or an investigation of a small town you have never looked at before. 

Maybe you can share your faith with those around you, reach out to people where you are, just like you would if you were living in a foreign country.

And here’s a thought, if you’re not putting partial solutions in place, then maybe you don’t actually want that dream after all. Maybe you just like the idea of it. Maybe it’s time to really examine your priorities and find out what your dream actually is.

What dreams do you have, and what are you doing to move towards them?

When you look at your life do you already see a partial solution in action that shows your heart for what you want to do or be?

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Not so much of the Quiet Life

This is nothing to do with the post really, it’s just a super cute photo I took while we were away.

I know that this blog is called ‘A Quiet Life’ but I feel like my life has been anything but quiet lately. I am launching my debut novel today, I have just come home from an overseas trip, before that was my daughter’s graduation in Canberra, I am giving a talk at a women’s event next week, and so on, and so on.

The good thing about adventures is that you have a lot more to write about. I have four blogs running around in my head right now that I will share with you over the next couple of weeks. And after today I’m sure I’ll have even more to write about.

The bad thing is that all adventures involve a level of discomfort and stretch. But maybe that’s a good thing too.

I found out last week that I was stretched just a little bit more than was comfortable when I looked at the e-tickets for our trip to Vanuatu and found that we were leaving on the Wednesday, not the Thursday. And getting back on the Thursday, not the Wednesday. I had effectively lost two days from my time budget.

I freaked out.

I wondered what else I had forgotten.

I had put too much on my plate.

But fortunately I found out on the Monday so we didn’t miss the plane. We went on the trip.

The trip was successful and beautiful and you’ll hear more about it soon.

But I had overloaded myself and could not keep everything I needed to remember in my head. Maybe it’s not a good idea to plan a graduation visit, a book launch, a speech at a women’s event (with a second book involved) and an overseas trip, all within four weeks. I should remember that for the future.

So yes, I got overloaded and started to freak out, but I didn’t need to. Nothing dreadful happened just because I couldn’t quite keep it all together.

I forgot I was on the roster at church but the lovely Val took my place without complaining. I didn’t get the washing done before we left but I’ve caught up on it now. I haven’t kept up with some other blogs I usually write but there haven’t been howls of protest from anyone. Yesterday I managed to write a speech for my book launch tonight and I’ve prepared the online launch party.

I haven’t felt successful but I am miles from failure.

The sermon given on the Sunday we were in Vanuatu was about worrying. Or rather, not worrying. The good book says ‘who of you by worrying can add one hour to their life?’

It’s so true. Worry doesn’t get rid of the problem. It doesn’t do anything. It just keeps us busy and stressed and upset but it doesn’t solve anything or take us anywhere.

So yes, I have a lot on my plate right now but it’s getting less. Each day takes away that day’s chunk of things to do, and each day the stuff on my plate gets easier to manage. And all of it is an adventure, and a joyful adventure if I keep my attitude right.

Right now I am living as much as possible one day at a time. ‘Why worry about tomorrow? Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ And by letting go of tomorrow’s stress I have more energy to deal with the troubles of today, and can look forward to tomorrow or to next week when the majority of the adventures will be over and I can get back to my quiet life.

If you’re interested in buying my debut novel it’s available at Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo. If the links don’t work you can search Deadly Misconduct by RJ Amos. My novel writing website is and you can sign up to my writer newsletter there. Or you can come to my online book launch on Facebook where I’ll be sharing funnies and answering your questions from 10am to 4pm Australian Eastern Standard Time today. 

Just a little adventure



Balcony view
This is the view from our balcony where we have to sit to get internet access. I can handle it…

I write this from a one-bedroom hut in the middle of nowhere in Vanuatu. Actually, it’s in the middle of Teouma Valley. It’s very beautiful here, very green.

I’d like to say it’s peaceful and quiet but there are so many insects calling outside that it feels like I have tinnitus.  And I met up with a rather large spider when I was trying to use the outside loo today (there is no inside loo). And a cricket. And a host of millipedes. So far I haven’t seen a centipede or anything too poisonous but I walk with care. Oh, and there’s a rat in the roof tonight so I hope he doesn’t make too much noise when we’re trying to sleep.

When the insects stop calling, the birds start and the dawn chorus has to be heard to be believed. We are going to bed at an early hour so we can cope with the bright and early starts. Oh and the other super-cute noise is geckos blowing kisses to each other.

We are not on holidays as such, we have come here to visit with some friends who work as missionaries here and to try to support them. I think we’re being supportive but to be honest it feels a bit like a holiday too. Moz has helped with some maintenance, I’ve done some writing and brought some work with me from the uni, and next week we’ll be visiting a school and helping students with maths and science.

One big focus of the work here is clean water. Roger, our host, was telling us tonight about the seminars he gives to educate Ni-Vanuatu (the locals) about sanitation and the importance of hand washing. He says it’s amazing to see the lights go on for the Ni-Vanuatu as he tells them that the childhood illnesses they see all the time could disappear if they just washed their hands under running water.  Roger also works with teams to build water tanks for the villages so that they have access to clean drinking water.

It’s easy to think that the way we live at home is normal, that water, water you can drink, pouring from every tap in the house is normal, that hot and cold running water is normal, that flushing toilets are normal, that fridges that keep our food from spoiling is normal.

It is so far from normal.

The room we are staying in while we visit is luxurious by local standards. It has a wooden floor that is raised above the earth, it has a sealed ceiling and fly screens on the doors, it has electric lighting and power outlets and it has a bed and two couches. All of these luxuries are denied to many locals who live in corrugated iron shanties with dirt floors.

However, I don’t feel like I’m living in luxury. For me this lifestyle is a bit of a stretch. I don’t like having to wander outside to go to the loo and I’ll like it even less tonight after seeing that spider. I miss my little creature comforts like fans and air-conditioning.

But I’m grateful for the reminder of how privileged I am. How unbelievably fortunate to have been born white, in a western country, with education and job opportunities and medical facilities. I hope that I can take this gratefulness home with me and see all my blessings with new eyes.

And I hope that I can help make a difference for the people here too. For people all over the world who just don’t have the luxuries that we see as the basics in life.

And I hope that the rat scrabbling around in our ceiling doesn’t keep me awake tonight.

If you would like to hear more about Roger and Cindy’s work here in Vanuatu you can go to the V2Life Facebook page or their website.