Archives for December 2015

What we can bring

Way back in 1992, we were living in a cute older house in town, were the happy parents of three tiny children, and were dreaming of homesteading in the country.  Big garden, orchard, chickens, all of it.  When we found a 3 acre piece of land for the princely sum of $13,ooo, we leaped on it.

The next summer, after looking at dozens of house plan books and finding just the right plan, we sold our first house (in 5 days, no less) and began building this one.  The plan was that we would serve as general contracters, subbing out all the parts of the build to various subcontracters.

Finding an affordable rental to live in during the build was made harder by the fact that we had a dog.  We ended up buying two old travel trailers which we paid for on payments– $112 a month. No way we could have found rent that cheap.  We rented an outhouse, drilled a well, and lived right there on that 3 acre stretch of land while we built us a house.

Yes.  Three kids, two parents, a dog, a couple of cats, and a couple of travel trailers.  Our full-size refrigerator, our house plants, and a whole variety of other household items were protected from the weather by nothing more than a cattle chute that we covered with a tarp.  We jokingly called our ramshackle campsite ‘Okietown’.

Now, looking back from the perspective of a parent, I wonder just how worried our parents were about us.  They probably thought we had taken leave of our senses.  Thankfully God watched over that home build.  Our maiden voyage as home contractors went smoothly, and just 3.5 months later, in October of 1993, our home was done and we were moving in.

Just in time.  The weather had already gotten cold enough that I made frosty footprints walking across outdoor carpet each morning from our travel trailer to the kids’ trailer to get them out of bed.  Wow, were ever glad to move into our new home.  It felt like a palace.

Since that happy move-in date in 1993, we’ve added 7 children to our family, had many huge gardens, many happy Christmases, and many years of homeschooling.  We’ve birthed children, adopted children, seen their first steps and their first words and their first Christmas programs and all the other firsts that come with watching children grow.

We’ve read story after story on that old green living room carpet.  We’ve built Lego masterpieces and gathered eggs and bottle-fed baby calves and gone for long lovely walks and even welcomed grandkids into the family who then proceeded to do all the things here that our own children have.

Oh, this has been a good home for us.

We are definitely feeling many pangs of nostalgia.  But we’ve done all we came here to do, and we’re ready for some different pursuits.  And it helps to remember that in leaving the house, we’re not leaving all those amazing memories.  They get to come right along with us, and continue to be a huge part of our children’s childhood.

So we’ll take pictures.  We’ll copy our wall-mounted growth chart to a piece of trim we can mount in our new house, and then use it to document the growth of the grandkids just as it did their parents. We’re breathing deep of the last days we have here in this house.  (Due to a paperwork snafu, we’re getting a few extra bonus days.  In fact, it looks like we get one more Christmas right here.) But we’re also confident that in looking forward to this next adventure, we’re not truly losing all the neat blessings we’ve gained while living here.  It will forever be a part of the memories of a really wonderful part of our lives.

I think also that our very human wish for a lovely home is a beautiful reminder of the only perfect home we will ever experience:  heaven.

I pray that as we all celebrate home and family and love and the miraculous birth of Jesus during this beautiful time of year, we’ll also be joyful thinking of the heavenly home where some day we will celebrate forever.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!


Kids and gifts. And Jesus.

This is the time of year when my momma-heart wants to give my children the perfect gift. Well, truth be told, always I long to do that, but that longing is huge at Christmas. This year with all the busy-ness of moving, my Christmas gift-hunting feels hampered, what with budget constraints and time restraints and the need to focus on the huge task of moving from one home to another. But still, I think of each of my loved ones when I lie in bed at night.  I’d give them the sun and the moon and the stars, if I could, if that is what will bring them joy.

This time of year also, with all the busy-ness of Christmas, is a time when tempers can flare, when tired-kid tantrums can push a tired momma over the edge, leaving a momma feeling like the strain of all that rampant emotion is too much to bear. Don’t kids understand mom is tired? Busy? Stretched? Trying her darndest to make sure this Christmas will be memorable and special and beautiful?

I know it is completely illogical, but somehow I think if loved ones could just see past my to-do list to my heart, they’d save all their negativity til another month, just set it aside, give me a bit of breathing room.  Because, oh, drama.  I really don’t need it right now.  Let’s have joy and tranquility and understanding and patience instead.

Humans don’t work like that though, do they?  Stress just boils every bit of negativity to the surface, doesn’t it?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at an angry toddler, or a stubborn teen, and prayed desperately for wisdom great enough, words wise enough, to turn that heart around.   Oh, what a useful power that would be.

Yesterday in church the theme of the sermon was this simple longing: “We wish to see Jesus.”

Oh, yes. That.

But how can that longing guide my momma-heart?  Help meet my children’s needs? Direct their hearts?

I suspect in each situation, each heart is different.  Jesus demonstrated that Himself, in his different approaches to human drama. Sometimes he came to earth in baby humility.

Fisher Price nativity

Other times He threw the money-grubbers out of the temple.  Or healed their broken bodies.  Or fed their hungry tummies.  Or fed their hungry souls.  Or showed beautiful grace in the face of the ugliest of sin.

And then there was the bit where He spread out his arms in love and died, just so we could be in heaven with Him someday.

All love, all the time.  But evidenced in different ways.

I’m not ever going to do love as well as Jesus does.  But in the end it’s not my love, really, that I want my children to see.   I want the words out of my mouth, and the actions of my hands,  and even the gifts under the Christmas tree to show them Jesus.  To remind them of the great love He has for each and every one of them.

In this season of gift-giving, of scurrying, and hurrying to prepare just the right celebration for our loved ones, I pray that I will be able to point my loved ones to the truest, best Lover of their souls.

Whether they know it or not, they wish to see Jesus. May my words, and actions, and attitudes direct them to Him this Christmas.

And always.

We wish to see Jesus.

Fisher Price nativity

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. -Isaiah 61:1




Things I’m doing this week

I’m sitting here at 5:30 PM in my PJ’s yawning and waiting for my coffee to kick in. After last night’s work, I had a nice long sleep today.  So once I get to work tonight, I’ll be golden, but at the moment it’s PJ’s and yawning for me.

Hard to believe we move in a week. Though we’re getting lots done, my to-do lists don’t seem to be getting shorter. Seems like the emptier the house gets, the more little odds and ends I discover that we really ought to fix up. Am currently wondering if we really truly need to do new bathroom counters as our real estate agent recommended, or if fresh, lovely granite in just the kitchen will be enough.

Here are some of the things I’ve been working on this week.

  • Perfecting my caulking techniques
  • Learning how to install a new range hood
  • Using lots of boxes and packing tape–  we already used up that big-ol pile of boxes I got a couple weeks ago
  • Trolling Pinterest for great packing ideas
  • Planning to label my 2 quart jars at the new house with paint markers like this.  Isn’t it cute?  Here are the markers: Sharpie Oil Paint Marker
  • Painting, painting, painting– most of the main level is done, and the upstairs has been started.
  • Wrapping lots and lots of Christmas gifts.  Trying hard to keep up with the Christmas prep in the middle of the packing to move.
  • Getting far enough in packing that I am beginning to have the dreaded ‘misc’ boxes– just jumbles of odds and ends still sitting in corners in various rooms.
  • Cooking most of our dinners either on stovetop or in the turkey roaster, since our oven broke and we’re waiting to buy a new one until we move.  There’s a tater tot casserole in the turkey roaster as I type– hooray for freezer food! It’s dinner and then off to work around here.
  • Once this move gets done I look forward to blogging a little more often.  But it may be quiet around here during the busyness that is bound to be happening in the next couple weeks. Hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying your Christmas preparations!


Bonus hours

What with moving in 17 days— 17, people!– and Christmas in 24, I’ve been wishing I could find some bonus hours in the day somehow. Well, this morning I was granted my wish. After working night shift all weekend (and sleeping the subsequent days), this morning I woke up at 4 AM completely unable to go back to sleep.  So I’m just going with it.   There might be a nap this afternoon.  But for now I am mapping out all sorts of things that I’d like to accomplish today.

On the agenda:tater tot casserole

  • Bring the van  to Wal-mart to jump start my car which decided to die there last evening.  Bah.
  • Empty more kitchen cabinets and get more things packed away into the storage unit.
  • Take down the upper cabinets over the stove top, so that my husband can install the new range hood we bought to update the look of the kitchen.
  • Make 3 tater tot casseroles to freeze as easy meals for busy days in the next few weeks.
  • Gather paperwork needed from the bank for our house closing.  (Did I mention that’s in 17 days??  Eeek!)
  • Put up the Christmas tree and finish other decorating here.
  • Decide what to make for family dinner on Saturday.

Meanwhile despite all the busyness, I keep finding myself wandering over to Pinterest thinking of various projects I am hoping to do in the new house. One fun idea is a minimalist sideboard in the dining area that (with bar stools) could double as a school desk for the girls, or be used to serve food when we are having a big crowd over.  Here are two versions of it that I really like.

Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic

Clean Lines

Clean Lines














And then just for fun, here’s an easy peasy table decor idea for Christmas. The only problem would be keeping the kids out of the treats, I think! How are you doing this week? How are you preparing for Christmas?