Not sure where this is going

I’ve had a lot of thoughts going on in my head lately (don’t say it!).  I read a story not too long ago (and I can’t find it now, or I’d link to it) about a family that sold all their stuff and moved to Africa to become missionaries.  Then, there was the story I posted about yesterday where 97 military families lost all their household belongings in a fire.  Today, I read this post on another blog where she said,

“Doesn’t the Bible say that this world is not our home, and that we are essentially aliens? So why then do we try so hard to be comfortable here? These questions have been on my heart for awhile. It seems as if we will take risks for God to a certain point, and we will allow ourselves to experience discomfort for awhile, but it is still all in our “control”, and we quickly scramble back to a place where we can settle in and get comfortable again.”

I don’t know exactly where my thoughts are going or where God is leading me with this, but I do know this.  Over the past several years I have grown less and less materialistic.  I care less and less about “stuff”.  I’d rather spend time with people than receive gifts.  Clutter stresses me out in a big way (and then I’m too stressed to know where to start…it’s a vicious cycle).

But it hasn’t always been that way.  Almost 9 years ago when Hubby and I were newly married.  We lived in a nice apartment with 2 bedrooms upstairs and a living/dining/kitchen downstairs.  We had friends and family over and were able to entertain.  We even had a relative w/kids live with us at one time, and a good friend going through a divorce live with us during another time.  So it was plenty big for us.

But I wanted more.  I wanted a house.  The details of all that I’ll save for another post on stewardship (or lack of), but my point right now is that I remember us looking at a house that was 1500 square feet.  I thought it would be way too small.  Never mind that it was twice the size of where we were living, but it just didn’t compare with many of our friends’ homes.  I thought there was no way we could raise a family in that.

Oh, the irony!  We ended up buying a larger home.  Hubby and I even had our own offices, plus our bedroom, plus a room for our daughter.  Then, along the way we lost it due to bankruptcy (like I said, another post another time).  Years later, here we are in a 3 bedroom, 1500 square foot house.  We’ve lived here for 4 years and it has been the best house ever!! We’ve had parties, we’ve entertained, we’ve had sleepovers.  We’ve had 4 kids at once living here and had plenty of room.

We don’t need huge.  We don’t need more space.   We definitely don’t need more stuff.  We are blessed way more than we deserve!

There have been many times that Hubby and I have talked about apartment life.  We actually enjoyed it.  Sure, it’s nice having a yard with kids, but many apartment complexes have large grassy areas to play, or even a playground.

So, what do we do about it? I don’t know.  We’ve also talked about living in a trailer/camper for a while depending on where the Army takes us.  I think it would be great! Downsize, save some money, and if we got the right kind – be ready to go camping at a moment’s notice.

I used to joke that God had obviously not called us to be rich, but in truth, we are oh-so-rich compared to so many.  What right do we have to collect more and more and more stuff when there are so many others in need? God didn’t put us here to be cozy and comfortable in a huge house.  He put us here to do His work.   How can we best do that?  I’m not sure yet.

As we prepare to move soon, I’ve been trying to go through our things and purge those things that we haven’t used (or unpacked) since we moved in here 4 years ago.  We just don’t need to move those things with us yet again.  But I also wonder what else we should be purging? What else could we do without that I am hanging on to?

I worked in my daughter’s room a couple days ago because she wanted to switch her bed around.  We were also packing up some of her stuffed animals to put in the garage that she isn’t ready to get rid of, but we just don’t have room for in her room.  I remember standing there trying to figure out how to convince her that she has way too many, when I realized I do the same thing.  She’s actually very generous and would give away almost any of her toys except her stuffed animals.  Those are true friends to her and it’s hard for her to separate the reality that they aren’t real from the fact that they are just toys.  So I don’t push her too much to part with them.  But, I also recognize that I need to set an example by parting with some things that I “love but don’t use” or “might need someday…even though I haven’t in the last 5 years”.  I don’t like to get rid of things I think I might need because I’m so frugal it would bug me to have to buy them again.  At the same time, I know that my stress level would be so much better without all the extra stuff around.  What a blessing this stuff could be to someone else too!

Something to think about.

Oh, and another thing? When we were first looking to buy a house all those years ago, we immediately nixed any that had a chain link fence.  We wanted a wood fence.  We wanted our privacy after all that time in an apartment.  After living in this house, it would be hard to get us into a house with a wood fence now.  Our next door neighbor here has a chain link fence, and because of that fence we have made lifelong friends with some amazing people that I am honored and blessed to have in my life!  It all started with the “fence talk” like Tim Allen and Wilson in Home Improvement, but it grew into a friendship that Hubby & I will cherish for the rest of my life.  If we had both had wood fences, I don’t know that we would have ever seen each other or struck up a conversation.

I also no longer like garages in the back.  Our first house had garages in the front, and people were always outside riding bikes, grilling, and just hanging out watching the kids play.  Here, the garage is in the back and we never see anyone out front.  People come home, pull in the garage, close the door and shut themselves off from the rest of the world.

Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day!

I am in a great mood today for so many reasons!

** I got to see my husband yesterday and that just completely lifted me up!

** The baby is napping today! Probably means he won’t sleep tonight, but he’s actually napping!! I’ll take it 🙂

** The temperature outside is 72 degrees and sunny – perfect! I feel drained when it’s crazy hot, but this beautiful weather just lifts my spirits!

** I spent 2 hours outside with the kids! We ate lunch out there and played on the swings.  Put Little Bear in the jumper on the patio for a while, then pushed him in the baby swing.  He LOVED the baby swing, especially because Lovebug was swinging right beside him.  We’re planning on some more outside time after rest time!

** I pushed Bug for a while on the swing, and just hung out enjoying her company.  She was making up all sorts of songs, as she often does, and I just cherished the moment as I listened to her.  She sang one song  called “Maybe I’m just meant to be a Cowgirl”.  Then she had another one about how she dreams of living in the country one day – away from all the stores and gas stations with a big yard to run around in, and to have a horse and a dog.  She also sang songs about our previous foster kids and how much fun she had with them, using every one of their names and talking about special times she had with each of them.

** That song led to a great talk with my mature, sweet, kind daughter about foster parenting.  She was talking about how much she loves to have the other kids here and to be able to help them and their families.  I said “Even if they leave and go back home?”….she said “Yep, even if they leave. I love helping other kids. So far we’ve helped 2 families entirely, and we are helping one right now.  I love having brothers and sisters here for a while, and then when they leave, I get a break and can enjoy being an only kid for a while, so it all works out.”

What more could a parent ask for?  I am so thankful for my many, many blessings!

Whew! That was close!

Tonight, we were at church because my daughter had choir.  I was hanging out talking to a friend when we got word that a tornado had touched down in a city close by and that one was predicted to be very nearby in a matter of minutes.  I went to the nursery to find out if I needed to pick up my baby, or find out what their plan was.  The plan was to get everyone in the building down into the basement, or “the Brick” as we call it.  I offered to take my baby so they’d have one less to keep up with.

Of course, then it occurred to me that the baby was probably handling the sudden-change-in-plans-with-no-warning much better than my older child.  I knew she was in good hands though as I’m friends with one of her teachers.  As I was headed down to the basement with the baby, I ran into Lovebug’s class going down the stairs too.  Turns out, after talking to the teacher, she had a brief moment of panic, but then moved on and was doing great!  Incredible!

We all hung out in the basement (which is a super super safe place to be during all this.  I was safer there than I would have been at home, really.  Some of the teachers started playing guitar and singing to keep the kids entertained.  They were going to put on a movie, but the sirens stopped blaring and they cancelled the warning, so it was time to go back to class.  Lovebug said, “I thought we were going to watch a movie!”.  I mean, seriously.  “Don’t say it if you aren’t going to do it”, I’m sure she was thinking. LOL Thankfully, she went back to class happily after it was all over and they dismissed us.

I just have to say that I am super impressed at the way the staff and volunteers handled this tonight.  There was great organization through the whole event.  The teachers were calm and keeping the kids happy.  The kids did great following their leaders down the stairs. God was truly watching over us all!

I wanna talk about me!

I like the song “I wanna talk about me” by Toby Keith just because I think it’s funny, not because I really relate to it.  I really do work hard to be a good listener, and I’m not what I consider an “all about me” person (I hope you don’t either), but this time I am going to talk about me! 🙂

A friend of mine tagged me with this from her blog, so I thought I would answer these just for fun.

1. What do you normally smell like? Bath & Body Works “Brown Sugar & Fig”

2. How far away do you live from your parents? 15 minutes away from my parents…for a few more months.

3. Are you happy with your job? Yes, I am! I love being a wife, mother, and homeschooling teacher!

4. What did you get in the mail today? My new Beco Butterfly carrier, and some junk mail.

5. How do you like your steak cooked? Like charcoal.  Seriously, I want it D.O.N.E – done.  So I usually order salmon or shrimp instead 🙂

6. What do you usually order at Taco Bell? I used to love the Taco Supreme, but now that we are Gluten-Free, I stay away.

7. Have you ever sat all the way through Gone With the Wind? No, but would like to.

8. Have you ever been to Mt Rushmore? Nope.

9. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)? I have 2 favorite places….At the beach, or in the woods.  I love to be surrounded by nature!  My favorite place I’ve ever been away from home would be Costa Rica.

10. What is your favorite candle scent? Food ones (vanilla, sugar cookie, apple cinnamon, etc) or Clean (cotton, fresh air)

11. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? Nope.

12. Have you ever been to NYC or LA? I was born in a suburb of LA, and lived there till I was 5. I’ve been to NY, but I was around 7 years old so all I remember is climbing every single step of the Statue of Liberty.  I want to go back to visit, and LoveBug has had it in her head for 2 years that she will go to NY when she is 8, so maybe we’ll get a chance to do that.

13. Do you prefer to pack your own groceries? Most of the time, I would just as soon pack my own, but I haven’t had any bread or produce squished for a while so I don’t mind letting them do it.

14. What is your favorite snack? Popcorn

Someone ran over my Starbucks cup!

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A couple days ago, we were driving home from the gym and about to turn down our alley when Rob noticed a SQUISHED coffee cup in the road.  Hmmmmm – It’s a Starbucks metal cup, and it’s the exact BRIGHT PINK color that mine is.  Hmmmm, I haven’t seen mine for a couple days.  Could it be?  Nah, it couldn’t be.  Could it? 

We got home and searched the cabinets and the dishwasher.  Nope, not there.  That MUST have been mine.  But how?  My sweet hubby went to go retrieve my litter from the street, and of course I had to take a picture.  

My best guess is that I set it up on the back of the truck when I loaded and buckled Emily in her seat and then drove off without it.  Rob said the worst part was that it meant I never even noticed that day that I didn’t have the coffee I obviously took the time to make for myself.

Of course…..the distractions of a toddler mom.   I know that there are many studies showing that pregnant women have memory loss, but should those effects really still be happening almost 4 years after giving birth?  Can I blame it on the hormones I have to take after having my hysterectomy?