Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

When Living the Dream is Scary

This week will be a week of guest posts, as I embark on a social media break. I am honored to have Andi Cumbo guest posting on the first day. Andi is a writer, editor, and writing teacher. I loved meeting her in person the other weekend at the Quitter conference. She has an amazing heart, and is incredibly helpful. You can follow her blog here, or find her on Twitter here.

I don’t even know how to run a chainsaw. I don’t own a tractor, and how to care for goats and alpacas is certainly not in my repertoire of “things I consider myself good at.”

Yet, I bought a farm. A farmhouse plus ten acres.

Oh, and I bought a farm without a full-time job, just my self-employment income as a writer, editor and teacher to support me.

If I think about it too much, my chest really hurts.

But if I let myself enjoy it, to marvel in the grace that is living this dream, I feel like I could fly.

This has been a dream of mine for years now – to have a space where I could write and think, where I could raise animals as pets, where I could invite friends to visit, and where I can see nature without having to get in a car.

I am absolutely drunk on the grace.

Still, it scares me. I have big visions for this place as a retreat space for writers and musicians. I want to allow artists to come here for respite and host small concerts and readings.  I dream that this place will one day produce a bit of money that I can give to small nonprofits that work in local communities to make big change.

I dream, and then I quake a bit. It seems impossible – with my unshaped pasture and 728 square foot house – to even begin to see this place becoming that dream.

Then, I remind myself that it seemed impossible to even have the space to begin with.

And I let myself dream again.

Andi Cumbo is a writer, editor and writing teacher who lives in the mountain of Virginia. She has just finished her first book, You Will Not Be Forgotten, about the people who were enslaved on the plantation where she was raised. You can read her blog and learn more about her classes on her website – www.andilit.com.


  1. Andi, you are ROCKING your dream and inspiring so many others in the process. Thanks for having the courage to push through the fear and chest pain and just live!

  2. Using your farm for a retreat space…sounds like a really cool idea!

  3. I love this dream. And am slightly jealous to be honest. :)

  4. Thank you so much, Andi! I love your heart and your dream!

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