Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Blessings of Today

Mille has really been struggling with throwing some big temper tantrums.  I know the move and all the changes around our house are hard on her because she is aware of the chaos, routines are interrupted, even the physical environment being changed with boxes, and piles of things being sorted through and thrown out decreases her sense of normalcy and content.  She doesn’t have the skills or vocabulary to express what is bothering her.  I’m not sure she is consciously aware of what is bothering her.  So she is easily set off into a fit.  Crying, refusing to answer questions, screaming, with her body she becomes either floppy, refusing to hold herself up to stand or sit, or else she becomes stiff, so you cannot hold her.  We have been trying the approach of distract and then teach.  We bring up a completely different topic that will peak her interest and when she calms down and engages then we talk about her behavior and what was wrong and what the right choices would be.  Sometimes we simply have to let her scream it out for a while before she can calm down.   Our discussion includes what choices she made and other choices she could have made or could make next time.  Often the fits begin when we ask her to do something and she doesn’t want to, so we have had a lot of conversations about obedience.  We also have been teaching her that Core Phase is her most important job and it is to learn obedience, right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, and relationship skills.

Today she had a real doosey of a fit, in which nothing was working so I had to lock her in an empty room until she calmed (hmmm, that won’t be an option in the new house).  I was stewing the whole time, wondering if I was doing the right thing, and at what point I should go talk to her.  Finally, I did go talk, before she was calm.  Through the door I told her if she could take three deep breaths and quit crying I would let her out.  She promptly did, and very soon was distracted and happily engaged in playing.  This was during my precious quiet time when I  was trying to get stuff done, so I skipped the discussion, when she was willing to just change directions.   She did great the rest of the day.

Here is where the sweet blessing comes.  Tonight as Jonathan tucked her in, she said, “Daddy, tonight I want to be obedient.”  Rolled over and was ready for sleep.  Jonathan said, “Mille”  she looked back at him.  “Thank you.  That is a good core phase choice.”  She gave him a big smile, and rolled over for sleep.

The other blessing of today was Kate learned she was cast as Katherine in Taming of the Shrew.  She couldn’t be more ecstatic.  Her first lead role.

I’m a mother going to bed with her heart full of gratitude!

Why the change?

We have taken a couple of loads over to our new home, and they have moved a couple loads over to this one. So this move is feeling very real. Jonathan and I have no doubts about the path we have chosen, and for the first time in our lives are not really concerned about whether others understand, like or dislike our choices. We know it is what God wants us to do at this time. It only seems unconventional to a mind of the last 100 years – maybe less. We are thrilled to be loosing 2000 sq ft. of space to fill with stuff, maintain and pay for. We know our family gets along very happily in relatively small spaces and I am happy to keep it that way. We don’t think we can make the original goal of having the house paid off by Jonathan’s 40th birthday, but we will be able to in year from closing. That goal feels awesome! No debt to anyone hanging over our heads! The house is still going to need some work to make it what we want, but we are not scared of it, or overwhelmed by it. Compared to the house we have been in and what we did to it, this new house will feel like a breeze, and less expensive to do each project, there is half the space to do it to. We have a clearer vision of what we want and need and what we don’t want or need.

Wyatt is excited about a man cave for his room where the storage room has been. The girls are excited to all share one room for sleeping and another as a dressing room. I am excited about the fruit trees and grapevines and lots of hardwood floors. Jonathan is excited about a garage tall enough to put a pair of rings to practice muscle-ups. We are all excited to be close enough to easily walk or bike to church, or the library, or the park, Mimi and Papa’s, the cemetery where Addy is buried, the store, or even Crossfit.

I am definitely going through some emotional roller coasters on figuring out what else to get rid of. I have shrunk Christmas decor down to two large tubs, but I want to get it down to just one – nativities and lights. I have one other tub of decorations for all other holidays, but I didn’t pull any of them out this past year, so I guess they can go. I have boxes and boxes of books, that I know can be shrunk down. I really just want to keep the best ones, but looking at each one and determining “best” takes time when you have way more than you should. We are moving to a house just a couple blocks from the library, so many books that could be had there I would rather they store. Our clothes closets all look rather bare here in this big house. I love that I love to wear each piece in my closet – and that my choices are very simple. Two skirts, two jeans, one cute pair of pants, and half a dozen tops. And the kitchen, we are only keeping appliances and gadgets we use regularly, and that have no easy substitute. No more muffin tins, waffle irons, or ice cream maker. I can do a loaf of sweet bread, pancakes, and a smoothie. I cleaned out all the old food that had wondered to the back of the pantry from lack of use, and all the spices that had MSG or the generic word “spices” on the label. I threw out ancient soy sauce – unopened, and white flour that was rancid. I added the dried seaweed I found to a pot of split peas I was cooking – yum, and realized how much food we really have in our house. I have gotten in the habit of eating mostly fresh vegetables and realized that I ought to use some of the dried ones on hand. Our eating habits and ideas of nutrition have changed significantly since we moved into this house. But that could be a whole other blog.

The hardest part of shrinking our belongings is figuring out what to do with all the stuff we don’t want. We have to pay to take it to the dumps. Some of it I feel guilty giving to DI or others because then it will just clog up their time and brainspace. Some is nice enough I think we should sell it, but that takes quite a bit of time to do. I would love to put every extra dollar into our paying off the house so we can hit as close to Joanthan’s 40th for pay-off as we can.

I have started to love the phrase that “we can’t take any of our stuff to heaven, so we ought not be to attached to it.” What I am attached to is my family. I want the extra time and money I have been wasting on materialism to go toward a hike with my children, reading a book aloud together, watching a sunrise, eating a meal that we completely grew and prepared together. I want to enjoy living and the beautiful, wondrous world God created, and spend less time fretting over stuff – getting it, using it, cleaning it, storing it, wearing it, fixing it, and getting rid of it.

I want to build more relationships, spend more time serving, go to bed early and get up early, to study and grow beautiful things, like children, plants, and healthy bodies and dear friends. I want to live the gospel more like I feel Jesus did. I want to live on purpose. I am living on purpose. That is why we are moving to this cute little house.

new house

The Strength of My Child

My adorable 6 year old Mille got glasses this past Friday – super cute, super thick glasses- the kind that make her eyes look really big. She has been mostly excited about them, and eager to show them off to everyone. Today at a big family dinner she was hesitant to go downstairs and play with cousins. Perhaps the challenge of focusing and being unsure of depth perception made the stairs intimidating. So I went down with her. Her cousin, her age, looked up and saw Mille and laughed. She said “Those glasses look funny. They make your eyes look wierd.” I was stunned. Mille didn’t seem to respond at all. Then her cousin asked, “Why do you have glasses when you are so young?” I came out of my shock enough to say that they help her to see better, and we are glad she was able to get them. Mille soon got distracted with some dress-ups and was off playing. I returned upstairs to cry in my husbands shoulder. That is not the first time other children have teased, asked belittling questions, or noticed Mille’s differences. Most of the time Mille ignores it, doesn’t understand it, or just moves on. Only a couple times has she felt left out or come to me with her feelings hurt. I, on the other hand, as mother bear, get my dander up and my feelings hurt each time I see other children leave Mille out, tease or point out her “problems”. I try hard not to let Mille see it, and I understand that children are frank and say things as they see them. They are not trying to be mean, but rather to understand their world and the different people in it.
I am grateful that Mille is strong – emotionally. I am grateful that she is the cheerful, giggly girl she is. This past week she has wanted to play peek-a-boo in various ways, and gets as much joy from it as a 1 year old baby usually would. Maybe this is because of the new things she is seeing with her glasses. But I love her sincere, innocent laughter and joy. She has some levels of captivity from her decreased ability to function as most children. She is physically and verbally not as capable as others her age, but she has so much more freedom because she is not fettered by worrying about what others think. Her world is simple and mostly happy. She is strong in knowing she is a child of God, that she is loved. She is strong in spreading joy to others around her. She is strong in try, try again. I love you Mille!

Liber Lifestyle – The Atypical Happy Way

Jonathan and I have been working and studying for many years to understand what freedom and a life of peace and joy would look like.

I grew up with the traditional image of happily-ever-after being in a big, beautiful house, surrounded by a big beautiful yard. Perhaps a big, fancy RV parked nearby. I would wear nice clothes, my children would always be well dressed. Our schooling would be of the highest caliber, and my children would excel. At home there are plenty of fun toys – electronics, building sets, doll houses, and Legos, a plush home theater decked out with movies and games. We would be involved with plenty of lessons and sports to improve (and showcase) our talents. I would drive a newer, always clean car to get me and the kiddos to all those activities. We would go on nice vacations all over the world to have wholesome recreation and cultural experiences, with plenty of money for restaurants, theme parks, etc along the way…

In reality what I enjoy most in life is reading a good story with my children, and hearing them say “keep going, Pleeease,” when we get to the end of the chapter; watching them pitch in to make dinner or blitz the house, or work in the garden and do it with a good attitude. I love when we go on a hike and everyone gets excited to try a new edible plant we find. Or going to the grocery store with my husband holding my hand, and discussing our excitements and struggles and we go down the isles. None of these sweetest joys require any big, fancy anything. And all the beauty desired is found in the workmanship of God.

My new vision of happily-ever-after has evolved, and so have our goals. We are finally under contract to move to a smaller house. We are cutting the square footage in half. We do love farming, gardening and permaculture, but we are also cutting our acreage down from 1.4 to .37 acres. To make this change we have gotten rid of huge amounts of stuff – I can no longer tell you what all of it was, why we had it, or how much money we spent on it. But being rid of it feels lighter and freer. We will be working on honing our skills at time, money and space efficient food production, and fine tuning a small plot of land. We will also be cutting the mortgage debt down to a third of what it was. Our goal is to have it paid off by Jonathan’s 40th birthday. That will take some serious scrimping and saving, and probably entrepreneurial efforts for the next 7 months, but we, including our children, are excited for the challenge.

A liber lifestyle is slower, simpler. It is filled with little pleasures and joys of life, Filled with relationships. Not stuff, not houses, not activities (I still have some weeding out to do on that one.) It has plenty of space for the whisperings of the spirit. It has space for family, conversation, reading, and working on the things that really matter most to me.