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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's Hard to Explain

Pretty sure that this will be the fourth time I have written this post... er, re-written.

it's almost like when you have a dream and then you attempt to actually vocalize it and you just can't get it to make sense, or you just can't seem to paint a proper picture of what you saw and you sorta wish you hadn't really tried to explain the whole thing. like that. that's a bit how i feel right now, but i keep getting asked the question and so i'm going to do my best to very simply answer it. {my problem is that i like to anticipate what responses or questions might arise and try to address those, but since this is my fourth or fifth attempt, i'm just going to go with simple and I'm sure by the end I'll be wondering why in the world this has taken so long. oh well}.


...we have a nice house in a nice neighborhood and we have plenty of room and many wonderful things to fill those rooms with.

*now insert 4 years of radical books, mission trips, intense bible studies, discussions with friends, and so on... right... about... here*

...but another way of looking at it is that we have a lot of stuff. and it just keeps growing and we keep cramming and storing and organizing and we're pretty much done with that whole thing.

...and we pretty much wanna use our resources on less stuff and live to be more people focused. locally and globally.


...we've decided to buy a smaller house {really it's still huge by comparison to the rest of the world who often fills one room with an entire family, but it's the step we're taking for now}.

...and we're hoping that by getting a smaller house we will force ourselves to de-own and reduce our stuff and stress and all that...

...and by doing so we can hopefully have more resources available for that "people focus" thing i mentioned above.

it's been an adventure to say the least. my theme song has been "let it go". i grab an item as i sift through a drawer or closet or pile and ask myself if I need/use it or love it? if the answer is no, but i still hesitate getting rid of it, i sing "let it gooo, let it gooo" and quickly place it in the give bag or the trash bag. some stuff has been easier than other stuff. and i'm ok with that although it is a little embarrassing. but we've really tried to take this whole process with a posture of learning and growing. we pause and talk through things with the kids (sometimes not so beautifully because i'm dealing with my own sentimental attachments) but at the end of the day, we know it's all worth it and we're doing our best to place our complete trust in the Giver of all good things, and know that as we lighten our own material burden, we'll make ourselves more available to give more, and do more, and learn more, and grow more, and love more, and so on.

it really has been quite exciting. and challenging.

so that's it in a nutshell... my little explanation of our current path of life. :)