Monday, September 15, 2014

quick catch up

up late.

I keep thinking that surely things will slow down.
[buuuuuut. they don't. ha!]

We are full steam ahead with school.
[and it only took me 3 days of staying up till 2am to get it all ready. someday I'll share the deets on that.]

We have a good routine established
[or so i thought until choir and gymnastics and artsview and so on peeked around the corner and said, "oh, Hello!"]

We have a new "Family Contribution" (aka CHORES) system that is working out pretty well
[one of these days I'll post pictures and give details on this too... but knowing me, it could take a year, so don't hold your breath waiting. I don't want to be responsible for those senseless deaths]

We have NOT sold our house yet.
[but we did get the inside repainted and spruced and if it doesn't sell in the next couple of months we might just rent it out]

We shaved the dog.
[really that's worth it's own entire post. but I want to go to sleep]

good. night.
[or as i used to say... blog ya later... though "weeks" might be more accurate than simply saying "later"]

Friday, August 8, 2014

want. need. anxiety.

it's amazing how easily and how quickly a simple comparison can change your definition of "want" to "need".

i gave samuel a math placement test to see where to start him in a different curriculum. since we cut off the school year rather abruptly because of buying/selling houses, he didn't get as far as i would have liked, but he tested to a certain book and i happen to have that book, so that's good. but i don't have the solution manual or the test & worksheet book, and since it's an older version i'm not sure if they still offer those things for this version.

so i started looking around at the current version of this text and of course i already know that we can't buy any school materials right now, but i kept looking, thinking maybe if i just found one site that had it low enough then i could figure something out.

serveral minutes later i notice my leg bouncing (ya know that nervous bounce) and my heart rate going a little faster and a little anxiety starting to build within. before i knew it, i was just focused on finding this newer version with everything i needed to go with it and i was realizing how impossible it was becoming.... so i paused and bowed my head.

but i didn't pray that some miracle would take place and i'd magically get this curriculum kit. i halfway did, for just a split second... but prayer isn't magic. no instead i prayed that i would trust the Lord. and that i would be content with what's available to me. there are a million and one resources out there for math. and they will do just fine. i do not "need" the curriculum kit. i have what i "need" and its ok if i don't get what i "want".

and now, wonder of wonders... there's peace again. bye bye anxiety. my situation did not change. but my perspective has been realigned.

how often does this happen in other areas of my life? your life? whether its an outfit, a car, a house or anything that we begin to covet (defined as "yearn to posses or have). we don't' need to spend hours on our knees praying for things to magically appear, or problems to magically be solved, or our covetous wishes to be granted. that is not the purpose of prayer. we need to spend time with the Father so that our heart, our thoughts, our desires, and our perspective become one with His. so that our yearning is fixed on the Creator, His purposes and His ways.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Whirlwind of a Month

i honestly can't remember the details...

everything has become quite blurred in my mind's eye due to an endless sea of boxes...

but here goes...


ok that's all that really matters. we're in. we love it. and we definitely have to get rid of a LOT. MORE. STUFF. sheesh. I'm pretty sure our oldest daughter has to get rid of the most since she went from having her own room to sharing with her two sisters.

but the kids love this house. they love the neighborhood too. new and old friends really makes it worth it for them.

my favorite part is probably how sunny and bright it is throughout most of the day. and i do love the hardwood floors. i really do think the size is perfect for our family.

the hardest part is probably that i want everything to be in its place, but that's just going to take some time and i have to remind myself that its ok if it's not done right away. :P

the other tough part has been not having a fridge. especially at a time when we really have to watch our spending and i've basically had to grocery shop every day or two because the mini-fridge we're using just won't hold enough for a family of six. buuuut after a few weeks of waiting, it has arrived and man, do i appreciate it!!

aside from quite a few boxes everywhere, the house is definitely livable. still not sure where some stuff is. but we're definitely getting there.

i would just like to say, that for anyone thinking it would be too hard to downsize, you really ought to consider it. :) obviously different families have different needs and so forth, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of house and stuff you have to keep up with, just let some of it go... or a lot of it! it's quite refreshing. even in the midst of our moving chaos there are moments of stillness and quiet where i pause and realize that the simplicity of things helps me be more aware of the blessings around. i hope we keep this trend move forward and keep getting rid of things that weigh us down.

don't get me wrong, i've had some "break down" moments too, especially when trying to work with the kids in their time of adjustment. and then i tend to get frustrated that some things are even an issue because i see that it's the selfishness of this world and more specifically our american culture that's staring me in the face, and it's because i've taught it to them and its so deeply infused in my own thinking and actions.

and there have been other moments of some fear and trepidation as we face a tight (but still extremely blessed) budget, as in the school year won't start out with "perfectly" new crayons and map pencils and notebooks, but we have more than enough supplies to last a couple years. and we cancelled our netflix account but the kids have been playing more games together and enjoying neighborhood friends. and we didn't go "out" for the traditional frozen yogurt for our daughters birthday but we still had some from the store at a fraction of the price. and we didn't get her a present, but she had a friend over and all the kids laughed a wonderfully care free laugh at an old movie and cheered over late night cheap pizza...thank you little Caesars lol. and selling the hubby's car couldn't have come at a better time to help cover fixing the van (and the car itself) and stuff for the old house that still hasn't sold (pray it sells!!). but see what i mean, we are still so blessed and still have SO much.

and i'm reminded of the Lord's grace in all of this.

and i'm reminded that He is for us.

and i'm reminded why we've put ourselves in this position. and i wouldn't want it any other way.

and i think psalm 119:32 words it perfectly, "I will run the course of your commandments. For You shall enlarge my heart"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

permission to grieve

everyone has their own story.

this is mine.

364 days out of the year i try not to define myself by my past. i'm strong and move forward. i try to see the positive side. i focus on a plethora of blessings. i try to live forgiveness and i try to grow. it's not always easy, but usually it's relatively doable.

but there's always that one day.

and it always hits me like a ton of bricks.

and i always seem to forget that it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks.

sometimes i'm just flat out cranky. sometimes sad. sometimes bitter. sometimes i have no words. sometimes i pretend i'm great. sometimes i feel rejected. sometimes i feel forgotten. sometimes i cry. sometimes i hold it in. sometimes i want to drive off. sometimes i want to drink. sometimes i want to forget. sometimes i just want to sit in silence. sometimes i want to be alone. sometimes i feel alone. sometimes i want to be surrounded by my friends. sometimes i wish things had been different. sometimes i want to scream. sometimes i want to run. sometimes i get anxious. sometimes i panic. sometimes i ignore it. sometimes i feel guilty. sometimes i feel selfish.

what i realized this year... is that even if i can make it through the one day... if i don't let myself feel all the feels there are to feel (also known as grieving)... it'll still come bite me in the butt days or weeks later. i can't escape it.

and i've decided it's time to stop trying to escape... stop trying to be strong. stop trying to act like it doesn't effect me. it's time to give myself permission to grieve and simply let another layer of the wound be exposed... so it can heal.

the specifics don't matter. i'm sure many, if not all of us, have a day, or an experience, or an event, or a person that we have to deal with every so often. and i hope you can give yourself permission to work through it however you  need to work through it. i hope you can face it head on and let yourself be vulnerable to the pain AND the healing.

and that's all i have to say about that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

the latest

phew, just checked the date of my last post and was glad it hadn't quite been a month yet. just 3 weeks. technically i have a post that i started the very next day... and then a bunch of stuff kicked into gear aaaand here we are.

so just a quick review of the last three weeks. it's basically been day after day after day of cleaning the house and not really doing a lot of anything because you wanna be ready to leave if you get a phone to show the house.

we've also been busy selling stuff that wont fit or work well in our different space. and technically we should have already been in the new house by now and had a nice empty house to show with cleaned carpets instead of a half decorated, half organized, half packed, half a house of weird-not-matching-things going on. i can't even put it into proper words and sentences.

anyways. a few plans have changed since last we met. but let me catch you up on specifics since some people seem to enjoy that kind of stuff. we've sold our couch and loveseat, two twin beds, our entire queen bedroom suite, school desks (we had six in the house. six. really? we have four kids. and really we could do with two since we need places to put school laptops, but anyways, bye bye desks), a round table from the school room... silliness. i mean, i'm not schooling 10 children here, why so many desks and tables? um what else... a bench, tv trays and oh yeah ANOTHER table (like a little indoor picnic table). aye aye aye. oh we still need to sell a desk that we've been using as an entertainment center. whew.

thanks to a plethora of garage sale type facebook groups, i haven't actually had to deal with having a garage sale. awh yeah.

so all those things have been sold at a decent price and the funds used to replace it all with the following:
  • a slightly smaller, sleeker couch (on sale at the furniture store. awh yeah. i wanted to find one resale but everyone's pretty much just selling the bulky kind we just got rid of) 
  • a smaller, simpler desk that will replace the current bigger desk/entertainment center (resale facebook group)
  • 3 twin mattresses (decent price at Sam's club) and dave and i have moved down the the full sized bed that was micah's and double as a guest bed 
  • to match the colors in the new house we bought new sheets for everyone. sam also got a new comforter and i purchased a new quilt and sheets for our bed since the queen sized stuff obviously wont fit (and i didn't want dave having to sleep in the shabby chic floral stuff micah had)
  • a new rug (since we will have hardwood floors, and the coffee table will serve as school desk area, i figured we outta buy a somewhat decent rug). which reminds me, i guess we can give away the previous rug since it was given to us.
  • two chairs from a local resale shop (i tried to look up the type... one is basically called a vintage midcentury modern chair... huh? and the other i dunno. i dont really care. all i care is that i got TWO chairs for the price of... well like HALF of a new chair!)
  • 3 retro suitcases (local thrift shops)
  • a few (ok FIVE... i guess i have a thing for tables) of the super simple but colorful Lack tables from ikea. 1 for each of the girls to have in their room to place their retro suitcase "vanity" on and serve as a desk when needed... and two to use as a very inexpensive split coffee table (i don't know if that's what you call it, but that's what i'm calling it). i WAS going to drive to ikea this weekend, but it was cheaper to have it shipped than spend on gas as well as all the other stuff (aka non-essential junk) i would've unintentionally carried out of the store.
  • and i still have enough from what we've sold to get paint for the house, an end table to go between the chairs (resale of course), and a cheap but somewhat decent rug for our bedroom, and probably a couple more of the Lack side tables since we dont have nightstands anymore... but we gotta wait to see what space is left once we move in... more waiting. sigh.

ok that was probably way too detailed... oh well.

i really have tried to be very mindful of everything i'm looking at and purchasing. and i still face the temptation to get things that will "look great" and "go perfect" but if it's not on the list then i just gotta remind myself not to get it. right now i absolutely need to focus on the absolute essentials (and even that's been pretty lax... new sheets aren't essential.xbut you gotta decide what you gotta decide and you gotta be content with your decision and i am. content.

and a bit stressed. not gonna candy-coat it... its not easy planning so much ahead and making countless trips to stores and spending numerous hours online to find the best deals and comparing quality with affordability and necessity and so on.

the hardest part really is that I am SO ready to BE in the new house and to put what we do have where it will go and to stand in the middle of the room and smile and think to myself ,"...ahhh" and "thank you Lord". and i am SO ready for colorful walls and rooms!!

"A home filled with only the things you love or use is a home you will truly love to use." -J. Baker
... that's my goal right now in all this planning and selling and purchasing... keep and/or get the things that are essential and efficient and in the colors that we love... and let go of the rest.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

house plans

you know those times you feel guilty for not feeling guilty?

this is sorta like that... i mean, it's supposed to be "hard" to downsize right? it's a sacrifice. it's crazy.

meh... it's really not a big deal though. of course it's requiring a significant amount of my time to think through our little downsizing adventure, but i'll say it again... it's STILL a LOT of ROOM!!

anyways, it's been really fun thinking of how to fit things in. i just posted some large items to sell and the question has come up about where we're going to sleep if we're selling all our beds (we're not, but i guess it seems like it)... and i kinda just wanna be a little sassy pants and respond, "the girls are gonna sleep on the floor"... which they are. but don't call cps, that's not as terrible as it sounds.

aaaaaaaaaand pause for perspective: in the blistering heat of summer, the beautiful children at asha house in India (whom i miss terribly) sleep right on the concrete floor. Helps them stay "cool" (yeah, it's still terribly hot). and it's not much harder that the mattress they otherwise sleep on. and they don't complain.

aaaaaaaaaand back to our regularly scheduled program... the girls will still be on mattresses that are soft and bouncy and comfy and in air conditioned and heated rooms... and they're excited about it. we're gonna have fun and do it up like a morrocan or arabian type bedroom. 3 twin mattresses together to make one huge sleeping area and drape some pretty sari fabric canopy style. then we'll have colorful pillows everywhere (i'm already imagining the great reading spot it'll become). and i wont have to buy a bunch of overpriced pillows... i have a lot... and by "a lot", i mean a lot for a texas resident... a lot of quilts that have been gifted to us that pretty much only get pulled out when someone sleeps over. well i'm going to roll them up like a sleeping bag and put them in a handy dandy little drawstring type cover and BAM... bolster pillows gallore! Hello! can i get a hallelujah?!?! decor and storage rolled into one. YES!!!

see what i mean... i'm so excited about this... remind me again how is this difficult??

Sam will inherit the musical instruments into his room (thanks to his current loft bed, he can still have plenty of room for all is lego creations). we're getting rid of the chair that he hardely ever uses and mostly gets used as a collecting spot for clutter.

we wont have a fireplace so that means more wall space for bookshelves and a deep window seat that can double as a guest bed (sounds so fun... i wanna sleep there!). school desk/laptop area will be the cubbied-crate-coffee table i plan to make (hobby lobby + coupons = affordable supplies).

and as far as everything else goes, really we just need less "bulky" items. more of a sleek and "modern" style. so we'll sell what we can and  be very thoughtful about whatever we do purchase to make sure it's going to be practical and beneficial to the space it will fill.

like i said before... we have so much.

Lord, let us be generous with every item and every square foot of space and every dollar that this whole process frees up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

a conundrum. a confirmation. a challenge.

Sometime last summer, our family went to a local splash park. It's the newest and promises to be the biggest park complex of our little city. It's technically in the south part of town, but it doesn't "feel" like the south part of town. and if you dont live in Longview, then you may not understand that everything south of Hwy 80 is just not as... desirable. Ya know... you don't forget to lock your cars... and there are certain streets you just don't even drive down.... and houses are smaller and older... and the ratio of pimped up cars to minivans is the exact opposite of the north side of town. but really, i grew up in Houston. (yeah the 4th largest city in the U.S)... So to me Longview is just a little bump in the road/ Main Street town (which i love btw way) and the differences between north and south longview aren't anywhere near the range of differences in H-town.

back to last summer though, we visited the splash park and it happened to be at a later time of day (most often I would meet other moms and kids at the park during the morning or afternoon hours) but this time it was after work and the hubs came along.

i'm not usually surprised by much, but i was pretty surprised that night. it was like walking into a completely different place. it was like walking into a park in south Longview (as terrible as that sounds). the whole atmosphere was different. families were different in their attitude and treatment of one another and a million other things

and the whole time i just kept trying to think of a way to connect with someone, anyone. and i was completely blank. (and embarrassed and disappointed that i was blank) not that there was much opportunity to get a word in edge wise between all the yelling and boisterous banter. i couldn't even think of anything to comment on or ask about... it was... it was so foreign to me... honestly it was like culture shock (and i've visited other cultures and i've grown up in ghetto schools, i shouldn't have felt that). And the kids... the kids who are usually such a great way to segway into the adults... they were just plain rude. and the parents seemed to have such little regard for their children anyways that even the sincerest of compliments about their kids wouldve been scoffed at and laughed off.

over the next few days i just couldn't get over how i just had NO CLUE how to make a connection. and i realized that it was because i had no 1st hand understanding of how these folks live, or what they deal with, or have been through, or were raised, or anything (other than the older woman telling her children they needed to go to church; gotta love grandmas).

fyi: my mind runs through a crazy progession of thoughts in an insanely unexplainable fashion.. so to sum up part of that... my thoughts, with numerous stops in between, went from: asking how to make a connection in order to make an impact... to: once in a while outreaches are stupid and dont really do much or make a lasting impact (at least the ones i've been involved in)... to: well who would want to connect with me when i live across town... to: we'll just have to live in the same community in order to connect.

and thus began the thought process and the path toward moving further south.

really our house moving plans have been three fold: to cut down our mortgage (sorta explained HERE), to downsize, and to move into south longview. and surpisingly the reactions haven't been that extreme at all when i mention to people who ask that the house we're so excited about is in south Longview... but i can tell there's at least an ounce of...
...running through their minds. its ok. i knows we're crayzee.

today the big splash park was closed for construction (adding more of the next phase), but we didn't know that until we drove up and we were ready for some water fun. i couldnt' remember where the other "north-sided" splash park was, but i knew about one in south longview that we had been to once before for a homeschool park day a few years ago. and the closer we got... well pretty much i just kept hoping we weren't going to interrupt any drug deals. haha... no seriously.

fortunately there was a family there... or at least 2 kids with a group of adults... that pulled up moments after us. within seconds all the kids were joyfully playing together. the two kids were super sweet and polite (which i have to say was surprising since the women of the group that they were somehow related to, were walking around very loudly fussing about "mother-f this and mother-f that"). and based on all the other vehicles and groups that pulled in and out during that hour, our little family stuck out like a sore thumb (but i have to admit that having a spraypainted van and a couple tatts helped me feel a leeeeetle bit more confident that i could maybe blend in a little... at least enough to keep from getting us killed... haha... no seriously). but we did what we could to just.. well... be ourselves. sharing towels with the kiddos and just ya know, just being there. this is where the "confirmation" came that the kids really are the best way to connect... they're simply more open, and have fewer assumptions towards other kids. reach the kids and you'll reach the parents.

so this evening my thoughts have turned to how shall we prepare the kids for the "world" they're about to enter. i didn't point out the mistreatment or the foul language of the other adults towards each other today, but it'll have to be discussed. What did they hear? what did they see? how did they feel about that? what do we do about it?  and then also trying to discover the right way, or shall i say, the biblical perspective of safety.. (ya gots to have street smarts). i don't want to raise "safe and scared" kids. i want to raise adventurers who take risks for the right reasons. who don't cling to their own lives but lay it down for others. and i don't want them to be afraid of what "might" happen, i want them to trust that every moment the Lord will lead them in wisdom and love and self sacrifice. i want them to go to hard places and do hard things. and i want them prepared and equipped.

ultimately this whole thing is bigger than me and my blank brain, bigger than the kids and their future everything, bigger than our soon to be house (situated in one of the nice "pockets" of south longview), bigger than our lives and the air we breathe... and knowing that makes it seem a little less... scary... cause it's not just us or about us. but most importantly, it reveals how desperately we must trust in the Spirit's leading and lean on the truth of God's word and follow the example that Christ set for us in order to take even just one tiny step in this journey.