Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fly Away

I'm feeling a bit lost tonight. I took my husband to the little airport (airstrip really) and watched as the small plane flew away with him in it. I am so thankful for the work that God has provided that I don't want to complain about any of it. I will miss him when he's gone. He flew across the inlet to an oil camp to work. It's not any set schedule, so I don't exactly know when I will see him again. I don't imagine it will be longer than 3 weeks, but I hope it's sooner.

The first couple days are the hardest.

This is one of the reasons we are doing the NEED LESS PROJECT. If we didn't have a mortgage, it wouldn't matter if there was no work locally. We could hold out for the work that is here.

To make matters "worse", the puppies we've had for the last 8 weeks will be all in their new homes by tomorrow. That is actually a great answer to prayer, but I have to admit, I'll miss their little faces and silly antics. It will just be me and my two dogs!

I almost lost it today when, standing on the gravel just outside the airstrip office, my very much missed husband hugged me and prayed with me. I really, really love that man. He has been growing in Christ and I feel so honored to be his wife. I often hear parents talk about how their kids give them reasons to be better people. I feel that way about my husband. He has helped me grow in so many ways, not the least in my relationship with Christ.

My husband didn't leave me alone. He left me in the care of the One who is most able to care for me. I will be glad when he comes home, though!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who's the Boss?

(Sorry, no homage to the 80's sitcom.)

It was a warmer day today. It's in the double digits and it looks to be in the 20's even! This is important due to the siding project we've been after all week. We've been painting the siding/trim inside our heated garage and installing it once it's dry. Our last pieces just happen to be the most difficult pieces to place: the soffits. We have an incredibly steep pitch and it won't be super fun, even though it's my husband who will be up the ladder. We do have a real ladder and not the "ladder of death" that had been in use during the construction of the garage (2x4's nailed together to form a ladder). I find some relief in that fact.

This project has revealed in me my intense desire not to be bossed around. Being a 2nd child, I was often placed under the authority of my older sister. Not until she went to college did I get to be the boss, and even then, it was only for 2 years until I went as well. It's probably a good thing I was not born first. I REALLY like to be the boss. Just ask my younger brothers. Wait. Please don't.

I was reminded of how much I have always liked to be in control. I think I was around 6 or 7 when I decided I would be better off on my own. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it was due to the fact I was being told to do something that I didn't like. I don't actually remember that part. Well, off I went carrying some provisions I imagine. I began my journey down our driveway to find my little brother tailing me and asking if he could come with me. I really couldn't be burdened with such a task, so I tried my best to discourage his desires. I believe it came down to literally losing him in the corn field that flanked our driveway at that time. Oh, now I was free! I was imagining my mom feeling heartbroken at the thought of me gone forever. If only she had just left me alone and relieved me of my chores, I may have just stayed. I just knew I'd gotten to her with this one. Picture Ralphie in a Christmas Story thinking of his parents distress at having poisoned him blind by soap! I had no real idea of where I was going or what I'd do, but I just knew I had to leave. (Insert dramatic flair heavily!)

My guess of what happened at home goes a little like this: my brother goes home crying that I was being mean to him and that he was scared after getting lost in the corn. My mom then soothes my brother and likely laughs and sighs at the same time trying to think of whatever she will do with me. I imagine she may have called my Aunt who lived a mile and a half away on our country dirt roads and asked her to call her when I got to her house. I think this, because when I passed their house and got to the corner, ready to trek down the pavement, my mom just so happened to drive up. She nonchalantly opened the door and asked what I was doing. I, not going to give up my plans so easily, told her I was simply going for a walk. With a few provisions. She mentioned that they were going into town for some errands and ice cream and wondered if I'd like to go along.

Oh dear. You know, walking that far was making me hungry. A bit of ice cream would be nice. Maybe I'll hold off the running away for a bit. At least until after the ice cream. I climbed in the car. While we were eating the ice cream, Mom did mention that my brother was scared and it wasn't very nice to make him lost. I think I remember some other mention of how it wouldn't be very nice to run away either. I think I may have tuned that part out a little and drowned it with ice cream. Sorry, Mom.

I still have a hard time admitting that my way isn't necessarily the right way. I tend to question the different options as a way to suggest that if it was just done the way I said, it would be easier, and I can't imagine a better way of doing something. Unfortunately, my husband will occasionally do something my way and show me my error. Only after that does he explain why his way was the better option. Why do I need such a visual?

I am so often trying to "do life" my way. I am feeling a bit like I've just crawled into the car and my excitement for "ice cream" may eventually be the motivational tool God uses to really change my course. I'm glad I got into the car. I can't wait to see where we go! I just hope my excitement carries me through the difficult times that will inevitably come. I know I'll have some talking-to's that will continue to adjust my heart attitude. I'll probably have moments where God will allow me to do it my way and later show me how His way was actually the better option. But I'm still glad I got into the car.

Now, two scoops! Oh...and...uh...please?!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Projects Galore

After we first moved into our house a little over 2 years ago, I painted our bedroom a deep chocolate brown. This was a vast improvement over the intensely bright, pastel/lime green that covered the room. There happens to be one wall that has no windows or doors on it, making it an easy paint! Strangely, I felt the need to dress it up, thankyouverymuch HGTV. I tried 3 different shades of green (trying desperately to avoid a reminder of the lime room it originally was) and settled on one. I never liked it. It just didn't turn out like I'd thought, but since I spent so much money on all the paint and time painting & repainting stripes, I let it go. Until now.
Given our new drive to fix up the house to sell, I pulled out some wall paint that was left over and after my skilled husband cut in by the ceiling and trim (he wouldn't let me do it), I walked into our room. I thought perhaps we should leave it, but in the end, decided the sign must be painted over.

We've been completing several projects of this kind. In fact, I have been painting a spare bedroom that didn't seem so bad until we really took a good look. OK, it didn't take much looking to see the desperate need for fresh walls. And ceiling. And trim. Outlets have been reunited to matching covers as have switches, and holes are being patched. We've also begun the project of painting and siding our garage. That one is a bit bigger project, but going pretty well so far.

Why is it that we are so content to live in a state of disrepair? I'm not saying we are in total disrepair, but we have plenty of projects that we had put off! I find it fascinating that when we want to sell, we put up a front of "finished." I also find it ironic that on our quest to NEED LESS, we have to become super materialistic to prep our home for those who may come see it. It's killing us to have to spend money on things that are so superficial. It's going completely against what we are striving toward. But, we HAVE to sell this house in order to live without a mortgage and be totally debt free!

We have found that many people seem to think we are in the throws of desperation with our finances to resort to such a drastic move. Lest you misplace any prayers, we are not. We are actually trying to avoid any such scenario by removing ALL debt. We have enough to get by for quite a while if necessary. We just live like we're broke until the income starts coming in more regularly! In fact, if we were making a ton of money right now, we would continue our projected course.

I think we are both giddy with excitement over the prospect of living in a tiny home that is all ours and having it grow without debt. We are also feeling like God is preparing us for something even bigger. We can't wait to be free from payments to be able to serve more. We have no idea what this will look like, but we know it will be great! I am mostly excited because my husband is just as excited as I am! It's very encouraging to be excited together! I've seen both our hearts grow in the last year to see people the way God sees them and have compassion. I am so glad I'm a project that God doesn't ever put off. I'm also thankful that God's doing a dual project with us!

Now, where's that roller?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thank You Thursday

I had planned on posting more often this year. It will probably happen, though apparently not a regular as I had hoped!

I was just talking to my sister the other night and shared that my husband and I seemed to be bickering a bit more than usual. We did discover the likely reasons why the patience levels were low and emotional levels were high. First, January is never our "high" month: it's dark, I'm home a lot, the holiday high is over. These are things that happen every year. In addition to these "usual" stresses, the puppies are not selling, my husband is unemployed, and we decided that we need to prepare our home for selling. Not little additions, if you ask me. In a way, it made us feel better that our marriage wasn't going downhill or that we were headed for real trouble. It's pretty normal for those stresses to spill over. After we discovered these little tidbits, we seem to have been refilled with grace for each other. Thank you, Jesus!

In light of our move situation, we have begun some of our home spiffies. We fixed a couple doors that the previous owner just stuck on and didn't fit the jams. I also painted a bit in our bedroom (I had painted some stripes that I have never liked, but never fixed!). Today I plan on walking through each room, making a list of all the little things that I can fix or need to purchase. For some reason, the previous owner put white outlet covers over cream outlets/switches. Really? Why would you do that? Now I have to redo it all. Annoying. But doable! Some larger items will have to wait til it gets warmer. We still need to put siding on our garage and have decided what to do, but can't until we have an income. There are several little paint spots that need to be touched up that I can do, nails to fill, holes to patch.
We also plan on contacting some realtors and beginning the interview process. Yes, we interview them. We found that to be a very good way of letting them know you are aware of the situation and they can't just take you for a spin. It is also a way of getting a lower commission rate, finding someone you click with, and discovering several ideas of how to stage a house for sale.

I have to admit, I'm having a tougher time finding as many things to be thankful for than things to request. I'm feeling extra guilty about this right now as the crisis in Haiti has happened. I should be much more thankful that I have a home above me, money in the bank to pay for it for quite a while if necessary, family and friends who are living and praying for us. These are things these other people don't have. They may not even have a Savior who gives us that eternal hope that doesn't disappoint, regardless of our circumstances. Maybe I need to put the news on today to keep me reminded of all I have. It may seem depressing, but in all my perceived need, I truly have more than most of those. They are the ones who need prayer. They are the ones who need a home, friends, help, the true Savior.

Does this mean that I won't ask for puppy families, a good realtor, or a job for my husband? Of course not. It just means that I will choose to DWELL on the blessings that I DO have. God has richly blessed us and I don't want to be ungrateful. Even in this time, we have come closer to His leadership, learned to rely on His provisions (which have been abundant), and are still learning how to rest in Him, not on ourselves. Character building! Blessings in not-so-hard-to-see disguise! Thank you, Jesus.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm choosing a new "meme" if you will. I've seen it done on several blogs, and though I am not the one to follow fads (another post issue!), this one is worthy to repeat!

Today specifically, I am thankful for:

  • A husband who prayed with me this morning.
  • A God who wants to communicate with me over major life issues as well as minor ones.
  • Extended family who extend my vision for God's purpose in my life
  • Silly N&N's (nieces and nephews)
  • Puppies who make me smile (though we need to find homes!)
  • A washing machine that works perfectly
  • Air freshener and candles
  • Daily Bread: a.k.a. bits of work for my husband that have paid for groceries and mortgage
  • Gorgeous creation and that I live in the middle of it
  • A fresh vision to "need less & give more"
  • Fleece
  • A freezer full of meat (sorry vegetarians!)
  • Supportive Friends and Family
  • My relationship with my sister: something so sweet that I don't take for granted
  • Airline miles that will make it a free trip to see family soon
Wow. I could go on and on. And I will next week! That is a good perspective refresher if you ever feel the blahs, and even when you don't! And for a glimpse of one of those super cute puppies:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Catch and Release

An excerpt from Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore that hit me square in the heart. As you finish, think about what Jesus said about being Fishers of Men and about being intentional about forming friendships with someone that is outside of your comfort zone. That's what I thought of. That and a whole ton more that can't really be put into words. Bloom Book Club selection #2! Wow.

"There's somethin I heard 'bout white folks that bothers me, and it has to do with fishin."

He was serious and I didn't dare laugh, but I did try to lighten the mood a bit. "I don't know if I'll be able to help you," I said, smiling. "I don't even own a tackle box."

Denver scowled, not amused. "I think you can."

He spoke slowly and deliberately, keeping me pinned with that eyeball ignoring the Starbucks groupies coming and going on the patio around us.

"I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somethin called 'catch and release.'"

Catch and release? I nodded solemnly, suddenly nervous and curious at the same time.

"That really bothers me," Denver went on. "I just can't figure it out. 'Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch and we take it and show it off to everybody that'll look. Then we eat what we other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water."

He paused again, and the silence between us stretched a full minute. Then: "Did you hear what I said?"

I nodded, afraid to speak, afraid to offend.

Denver looked away, searching the blue autumn sky, then locked onto me again with that drill-bit stare. "So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch and release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend."

The world seemed to halt in midstride and fall silent around us like one of those freeze-frame scenes on TV. I could hear my heart pounding and imagined Denver could see it popping my breast pocket up and down. I returned Denver's gaze with what I hoped was a receptive expression and hung on.

Suddenly his eyes gentled and he spoke more softly than before: "But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever."