Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
The last week has been pretty stressful for me with all this hanging out there. You know, the kind of stress where you realize that you're just a little cranky and on edge and more likely to take picking from your husband the wrong way. That kind. The kind that makes you think, "Huh, didn't realize I was stressed, but I guess I must be."
I think I've gotten used to being a nomad. We've lived in so many different places, and we've rented in them all. If there was something I didn't like about a place, oh well, I knew I'd have the option of leaving there soon anyway. Well, it doesn't work that way if you own your dwelling. If an unneighborly person moves in next door to you, you can't just move. You have to deal with it.
Owning a house will glue your feet to the ground more than renting will. I don't know if I like that idea. I don't know if I want permanence. Actually "owning" my own place doesn't feel that important to me at the moment. After all, the bank will mostly own it for the next several years. The main benefit is that I can change it however I want, and the rent won't be going up. =)
We're not fix-it people. I suspect that we won't really become fix-it people, though I could be surprised. I don't like the idea of relying on friends to teach us how to do the home repairs that need to be done. I also don't like the idea of hiring the work out if we should be learning how to do it ourselves... I think too far in advance. It's a bad habit. I should be just enjoying this moment of moving into a house that doesn't need something major done to it. Have I mentioned I have a new fridge and a new flat top stove? =) Focus on the positive, Ellen.
Think about the sunlight streaming through the lovely French doors into your living room. See the branches from your backyard trees with autumn leaves dancing from them. Imagine pulling fresh bread from your oven while glimpsing a warm fire in your fireplace from the corner of your eye. See your home filled with family and friends enjoying sweet fellowship together. Ahhh. That's better. =)
Oh yeah, have I mentioned that I think I broke my little toe? We've got it all here, folks. Highs... lows... and everything in between. Yup. I probably broke it a month ago, and then I slammed into the door frame in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago, and its messed up again. This morning, I stubbed it, and I couldn't keep from screaming because it hurt so much, and Seth got scared and started crying. So I finally made an appointment. I guess I'm going to have to give in and have those x-rays done after all.
This is going to be busy week. I have my end of mentoring program dinner tonight, a training for MOPS tomorrow, signing loan papers on Thursday, dinner with a college student family friend on Thursday night, and we leave for a weekend with Mimi and Pop Pop at the cabin on Friday. Whew!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Things aren't looking bright and pleasant like they did in the golden age before they left. The Narnians are gearing up for war against the cruel Telmarines, they're concerned that the children they see before them aren't up to the task of leading them in battle, and worst of all, Aslan is nowhere to be found. Things are going from bad to worse. The children are muddling around, desperately seeking direction, and pretending they've got it together to keep their people from falling apart.
The Narnians have hunkered down in a cave, and the children join them there. They don't recognize it, though it seems vaguely familiar. Prince Caspian asks them, "Don't you know this place?" He takes them further back in the darkness, and lights up the room with a torch. Suddenly the walls are illuminated, and they show beautiful carvings of them as kings and queens, with a beautiful picture of Aslan framing it all. Behind them is the Stone Table, broken in half. They are in Aslan's How.
Lucy lovingly touches the Table, remembering. All stop and gaze at Aslan's face. I gaze at it, and I am filled with sadness and longing. I miss Aslan. I want to know where he is, too. I miss his comfort, I miss his guidance, and I miss his friendship. Everything was better when he was around. I want him to show up and tell them and me exactly what to do. I want him to make everything clear and better and simple again. I just miss him, and I miss him so bad it hurts for a minute or two.
I have read these books over and over again, since I was a child. I grew up with them, and I grew up knowing that Aslan was intended to represent Christ. Seeing him speak to the children on the big screen and give them personal guidance made me see him a different way, though. He seemed more real and personal after that than he did in the books.
And knowing this, I can trace my sadness and longing. I long for the day when I can speak with Christ face to face. I know He won't always tell me what I long to hear, and I know that I won't always understand. But I miss seeing Him and touching Him. It is lonely to be without Him on this earth, muddling around, hoping that I am hearing him right and walking in the right way. I have His word, but sometimes, I just wish He could sit down next to me, hold my hand, and explain it to me. I want Him to give me a hug that I can feel with my flesh and not just with my heart.
I miss Him. Maybe I am just now getting a glimpse of why some older people seem so ready to leave and go be with Jesus. Maybe they are feeling this, too, and their longing overtakes any doubts about what lies beyond.
Christ Jesus, please come and make yourself more real to me every day. Thank you for giving me a longing to see your face.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Here he is actually pretending to use a real phone. This is a rare occurance. He's obsessed with phone calls right now, and everything is a phone. We have the cracker phone, the car phone, the block phone, the hairbrush phone, the pot lid phone, really, anything can be a phone.
He does a couple of really cute little sounds whenever he wants something. One sounds like "DEET, doo, doo," and the other is kind of an up and down hum. There is lots of pointing going on in our house right now. And there's also a lot of "No, " coming from his mouth, but half the time, I don't think he actually knows what it means.
He also loves cars and trucks at the moment. We started noticing this a few weeks ago. He makes vrooming noises and pushes them up and down the halls. And if I ask him to get his truck, he goes and gets it.
The other day, I was desparate to finish making a cake, and he was sitting on the kitchen floor, whining. I started singing "If you're happy and you know it." I was too busy to do the motions. Well, I looked up, and he was doing them. He was clapping his hands, patting his head, and touching his feet. I was sooo impressed. I think he's almost figured out which one is his nose. We still don't have "touch your eyes" or "touch your nose" down, but he can do ears, head, hands, and feet.
One day, I'm going to forget all these little things that he does if I don't write them down. I've already forgotten far too much.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
1. Mom came and spent a couple of days with us, and that made all the difference in the world to a crabby, teething toddler and his tired mama.
2. The home inspection went through, and there isn't much wrong with the house! It looks like, from the racks of neat tools in the storage shed, that the husband of the house is Mr. Fix-it. They have been doing good home maintenance all along. Our realtor said she's seen much, much worse from houses built in '86. Praise the Lord! But pray that they are willing to make the necessary repairs to rotten hardboard siding, etc.
3. After some ups and downs with the home loan process, it looks like the state financed first time home buyers loan is still the best deal, potential caveats notwithstanding. Thank the Lord for an amazing husband that understands finances. And...
4. Congress just passed a bill, for this year only, for first time homebuyers. It's a $7,500 interest free loan that you pay back slowly by getting less in your refund for the next 15 years. And we qualify. I laughed with joy when we figured this out. There is no down side for taking it, and it will give us more wiggle room for emergencies with making a larger down payment.
5. God is changing my heart, and I'm willing to make less changes to the house before moving in so we'll have more money to put down. I saw the house in a new light when we went for the inspection. We can wait to replace carpet. Being a better steward of what God has given us is more important. I'm thankful for any progress I'm making in learning this lesson now.
6. Mom and Dad have offered to fly a paint crew down from Minnesota to give our house an extreme home makeover. It's time that Isaac learned how to wield a paintbrush. We're getting an estimate on a local guy, but I'm suspecting the family discount may still be better. =)
7. Seth is taking a fabulously long nap today. Ahhhhhhhh.
8. I have cold Dr. Pepper.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Ok, here they are... what you've all been waiting for... pictures of the house interior! I feel no love for her decorating, so its hard to visualize how to make it my own. I'm thinking a warm neutral paint on the walls... something beigy/yellow, WAY more beige than yellow. I want it to be dark enough to make the possible white crown molding and trim pop, but I'm not looking for anything truly in the yellow family. I want it to have a warm glow when the sun or lamps hit it just right, but not to be dark or too yellowy otherwise. I don't know if that makes any sense.
Because there's an opening between the breakfast room and the kitchen, I'm thinking this color will be used on the living room, the kitchen, the hallway, etc., all the areas that flow together. We plan to paint all the trim in the house white at this point, maybe the ceilings, too. At this point, it looks like we'll have to do it ourselves. Hmmm... Maybe it won't get done for awhile. We need serious painting lessons. =)
I'm getting so many ideas lately, and my mom is coming to hang out with her grandson this week, and she's bringing, like, 5 years worth of back Country Living and Southern Living. Yeah, I guess packratting does come in handy sometimes. =)
I just need to take my time and look around and let the rooms grow on me before I put up accessories. I know that will help immensely, and all the decorating ideas will help even more.
Thanks for the encouragement, guys.
The restaurant was the weirdest Mexican place I've ever been to. It was dark like a cave in there, with a single large candle on the middle of each table. I think they were going for the Mexican outlaw/pirate look. I also think the dark interior may have partially been to conceal the fact that they'd essentially hung a bunch of junk on the walls. One room had tons of sombreros glued to the ceiling. The waiters all wore bandannas on their heads. My favorite part was walking through a beaded curtain on the way to the bathroom. It made such a cool swishing noise behind me. I think I should've walked through it a few more times, just for fun. Oh yeah, and the food was great, too, though a little pricey for Mexican. Oh well, this was our celebration dinner for buying the house, so that's ok.
We saw "Prince Caspian" at the theater. I liked it a lot better than the first Narnia movie. All of the child actors had gotten better at the whole acting thing, and the script writers had given them lines with a little more humor and personality. Overall, it was just better done. I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to see it in the theater for cheap. Some movies are just meant to be seen on the big screen.
This morning, we all slept in. Yeah! And I had noticed some yard sale signs in nice neighborhoods around here yesterday, so David let me go all by myself this morning. I was pretty pleased with my finds. Some of the stuff in the picture was free or $.50. I'm thankful for David's bargaining skills. I don't like asking someone to take less for something, so I always end up paying full price. I have to rely on their mercy or put it back if its too much. I'm going to have to get over this. =)
I was really pleased about the picture frame. Frames that large and that nice are usually priced around $20 in my neighborhood Goodwill. Now I just have to figure out what to put in it. I'm thinking some warm, cheerful fabric or a poster. Any ideas? The canvas thing on the far left was a hanging closet shelving thing. Who knows if I'll need it or not?
We have a whole storage shed to go through soon. We'll be having our own yard sale. I know there are a ton of books out there that I'm going to need to make some decisions about soon. We won't have the storage space to keep it all after we move, so things have to go. Having too much unused stuff begins to feel like a burden for me after awhile. I am glad that we were able to keep all our moving boxes from last time. What a blessing!
Well, David is getting Seth out of the tub. Maybe I should participate in the ticklefest/dryoff time. Have a great Saturday!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I was talking to David last night, and I realized how much I'd enjoyed the "no pressure" decorating of living in rentals. We had what we had, and we put it up, and that was it, and that was that. It wasn't mine, I'd be moving soon anyway, and I couldn't paint if I wanted to. The carpet and linoleum are what they are, nobody's asking me to decide the exact shade of white for the new crown molding, etc., etc.
Now I'm staring at paint colors on fake rooms on my computer monitor, trying to decide if that yellow is too yellow just on the screen or in real life, scrunching my brow because if I get the wrong color, I'm going to cry when I walk in the door after the nice men in coveralls have been there, spending hours painting my entire house for me.
In light of all that, this post was helpful. (Of course, I'd be thrilled if my house looked anything close to like hers. =) It made me take a deep breath and sit back and try not to stress about this. My home will be what it will be. The most important thing is that its a place of relaxation, joy, and blessing, not that its perfectly perfect. I can't go out and buy a ton of new stuff to put on the walls or new furniture. I have what I have, and with the increase in our monthly living check, I don't see that changing soon. I already have lots of great stuff. I just have to utilize it to the best of my ability, and let it go after that.
Stay tuned for the post where I show you all my interior pictures of the house and ask y'all what you think of my ideas... =)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Seth's had some bad teething poops. I've had a LOT of laundry in the past two days. He's going to need another bath when he gets up. Sigh.
Dusted quietly. Will be making apple cake soon for our first small group meeting at our house.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T. minced garlic, sauted for a couple of minutes
1-2 T. olive oil
juice from one lemon
oregano to taste
Mix it all together until smooth, adding more olive oil until you get it to the desired consistency. I used a stick blender to blend, but you could also use a food processor.
I had no idea hummus was so easy to make. I think its better than most that I've bought at the store.
I've been a real slacker about my devotions this summer, since I haven't had CBS to keep me accountable. I am eager to hear from God in all the little and big changes that are coming for us, and I can't do that if I'm not tuning in. I started re-doing a Bible study yesterday. It's interesting how my answers had changed since I did it in D.C. right after Seth was born. It's also interesting how much things have stayed the same in my heart. I want to make progress...
The past few days I've been bothered with entitlement issues. I feel just plain spoiled rotten, and I don't like it. I look around at what God has provided for us, and I worry that it's just too much. Maybe we shouldn't have a house this nice or this close to work and friends. Why do I get this blessing? Is it really ok? Should I be denying myself more in this area? What is practical and prudent, and what is just over the top?
I want to have a grateful attitude about each and every good gift that God provides. I find that so many around me spend a good bit of time complaining about little things in their lives, like paying too much for a bad dinner or getting poor service at the dry cleaners. Maybe its just a part of how we converse, I don't know, but I hear it, and it provides a wake up call to me.
I know I do it just as much as they do, but I can't hear myself as easily. There are so many little things that I complain about, and the reason I'm complaining must be that I feel entitled to something better... whatever "better" is for that thing. If I wasn't a spoiled, middle-class American, I'd have something real to complain about. Now, I'm not talking about real hardships here, like relationship issues, job loss, health problems, etc.... I'm just talking about the petty things. How much time do I spend complaining about stuff that is really no big deal? Why don't I respond with more joy when someone asks how its going?
I guess maybe I worry that having a really nice place to live, way better than I expected I would have, will create even more entitled feelings in my heart. What will I do if God calls us to sell it in a few years and move to an apartment in a large city? Will I grumble and complain because I think I'm entitled to the standard of living to which I've grown accustomed? I'm finding more and more that its very hard to keep material blessings from taking root in your heart and pushing out the real true, good, and beautiful.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 09, 2008
I needed to go right around that area and look at some of the neighborhoods I'd passed over before because we weren't looking so much in that area. It was for my peace of mind. That drive was very illuminating for me. There is nothing else like this house with this lot in that area. The other neighborhoods, even the ones built the same time, have much smaller lots where you get to stare directly at your neighbors grilling out. They're cute houses, but they're smaller, and quite frankly, it ticks me off when developers try to substitute "cute" for square footage, backyard foliage, and lot size. And they're asking more for them than this house! So that helped me get my head straight.
They have until 5:00 p.m. to respond to our offer. Our realtor thinks its a very fair one, considering this house has been on the market all of two days. =) If this isn't what we're supposed to do, I want God to stop it cold. Please pray for us that His will will be done.
Friday, August 08, 2008
But I'm an emotional wreck about it all. I vacillate wildly. One minute, I think this would be great, and I could fall in love with it, given some vastly different interior decor. =) The next minute I wonder if we can do better for what we can afford. One minute I think we can... another minute I think we can't. I want to be wise on such a huge purchase. I go over there, and I stand in front of the house and think this could be it, and then I go home, and I'm not sure anymore. I don't have the soul crushing lack of peace that I've had in the past. I'm just confused and unsure. We've run comps, and so has our realtor. This house is priced right by everyone's estimation, and it will probably move quickly. I refuse to jump on it before I'm ready just because I don't want to lose it. If it's the right thing, God will keep it for me.
It probably doesn't help that I really haven't looked much on this side of town before. We thought it was too far from work before we discovered a good way into downtown from there. I have glanced at houses over there, but not with a ton of detail. There are some others that are listing for more that could be good... maybe. But I don't know how much less they'd be willing to take, and this one does have a new roof and HVAC for the price we can afford. But this is a huge yard for this area and this price... Confusion... Would I notice the occasional loud semi going by in the distance, or would it fade into the background after awhile? Would taking that awful drape off the french doors open up a whole new view of the backyard? The cul de sac would be great for Seth to play in, and there are other little children in the neighborhood. Hmmm.
Just thought I'd let you know what was going on. I'm tired of myself with this housing hunt, so you may be tired of me, too, at this point. Sigh.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
"Awakening from some dreaming depth, in which I was someone and somewhere else, I hear a knock on my hospital door. Oh yes. The hospital, the middle of the night. I know where I am now. 'Your baby is hungry and awake,' the nurse says softly. 'Would you like to feed him?' In the dark, I raise up my stiff, heavy body on one elbow, reach for the height-adjusting buttons on the side-rail of the bed, and shove the pillows awkwardly into place behind me, trying not to wrench any sore muscles or put any real weight on my bruised bottom. The nurse hands me a little cocoon of blankets with a tiny face peeping out. She shows me Philip's ID tages, but I know he's mine; I already know that face...
Once we get started, the nurse leaves us alone, and I lie there, watching his jaw work and adjusting his position, keeping him going with a jiggle or a stroke on his cheek. Half vigilantly attentive, half in reverie; half awake, half dreaming; utterly joyful yet frightened; euphoric yet profoundly tired... Now I lie in the night stillness together with this new one, and it seems we two are the calm center of all things; and even if I'm half asleep I seem most truly conscious, most connected to the real and right. But it can't last. A little more sleep and then daylight will come and baths and feedings and doctor's examinations..." p. 171-172
This was a much needed rest from the busyness of everyday life. We did nothing but read and watch movies and eat junk food and walk on the beach. There was no listing service showing me pictures of houses that I had to go and see NOW! =)
I have realized recently that one of the benefits of eating frugally is that buying nicer groceries can be a big treat. Normally we eat mostly apples and bananas, so it was a splurge for me to get cherries. We don't eat a lot of red meat, other than hamburger, so the crockpot roast I made one night was especially nice. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It's nice to have scaled back my expectations for everyday groceries lately. It makes smaller things into something special. I don't have to eat out every meal to feel like I'm on vacation.
" One of these things is not like the other..." Who put a new flat screen tv in this 70's paneled room? Weirdness. Thanks, Dad. We've taken it home with us and replaced it with our tv. Hope you don't mind. Just kidding. =)