On Home.

Here are some thoughts that I wrote over a year ago while we were in what we call “Our year of moving” in 2017.  We moved three times in 2017 and that of course was not our plan.  This was written after our first move, after we found out that our landlord has sold the house, even though we had a year lease.  It is not fully fleshed out ideas, but we are all on a journey and why can’t we share when we are in the messy middle?  On this Mother’s Day, let’s think about homes, where we do most of our mothering…

 

I love the moment when both kids are in their rooms for naptime and it is only me and quiet, well sometimes.  Sometimes there is a child upstairs singing or talking.  So, I love the moment when its only me.  Then, I hear the dryer going downstairs.  There is something calming to hearing the washer or dryer work and know you are getting things done without actually having to do them.  In this moment, after our first real homeschool day in the new house, I finally feel at  home since moving from Cairo.  My mind wants to rush to the future, to the plans up ahead, but when you do know where your home will be in two months, you cannot really plan.  You have to be in the present, the place where I have been working to be, in the right now.  So, this is a great time to practice being present.  Right now we have a home and I am grateful.  We do not have everything unpacked, yet we have everything we need.

 

As we did school today, and played outside in the snow, I saw how this house felt even more like a home.  It is time that makes a home.  It is shared time and memories that make a home.  Then anywhere, a tent, an RV or a whole house could all be homes….and so could cardboard boxes, right?  Not that I want to live in one of those this summer…

 

It is interesting that we often think HOME as a stationary place as in a house, that has a foundation,and trees around it.  We think of that classic picture that children draw.  It is what I have thought.  It is what I have desired.  I have desired a house more often than a home.  As I have been growing in my love for cultivating a home, a place where we all feel freedom, rest and nourishment, I see it’s about freedom, intentionality but also letting go.  This season feels like letting go.  We let go of our home, but really, our house in Cairo.  We do not have that shell that held our home, but we have our home.  We have each other.  Yes, it is true in one sense that things, like candles, pictures and your favorite chair make a home but really people make a home.  We make our home.  The four of us make our home.  Wherever WE are, we are home.

 

This feels a little crazy to even type, these are new waters of thought that I am stepping out in but it’s what I am beginning to realize.  I love looking at houses and I love decorating houses, even though most of the time it is decorating in my mind.  When I was in middle school my goal was to be an interior designer (Hmm, side thought, what if I was to be an interior designer for the soul, for the heart?).  I have always watched home shows whenever I would be near cable or look at house magazines.  I love houses in other words.  I do not think there  is anything wrong with houses.  I have a dream for a house and some land that we could really call ours and that we could dig our roots deeply in.  But perhaps as much as this isn’t my favorite, maybe I needed this unrooted season.  The sale of this house was a complete surprize but with the overall peace we have had, I sense God with us.  By letting go of our old house, which was a journey of its own, I am not attached to this new house in the same way.  We haven’t  found any rented house.  We are waiting.  I am unable to say where we will lay our heads after May 14th but I am convinced that God is and will be faithful to us.(And He has been!)

 

Wherever we will be, we will be home if we are together.  When we have traveled we would be at a new place often but we learned to make that place home for as long as we were there, whether that is a night or a week.  Our home, was essentially our car, as the four of us were doing our thing on the road, it was my favorite place to be.  As we shut the doors to the car, I felt that feeling that we were home.  It was not beautiful or even  decorated at all.  Since we learned that we were moving, I stopped unpacking.  I had unpacked some pictures before then but this home is so much more bare than our old house.   I am not even sure that I remember it all the things we have packed away.

 

After being in the new house for two months now I feel much more at home here.  At the beginning I had a lot of reasons why I did not like it.  I see now that time is a beautiful teacher.  In time, the parts of the house become more normal because you have been around them.  Yes, it is still not the most effective house but we have adjusted.  This is such an important lesson.  We can adjust.  I just realized that in total we will only have lived here for three months and it is amazing that it already feels like we have been here so much longer.  When you live daily life in a place, it becomes home much more quickly than you would think.

 

Everything within me wants to set up all the nooks and crannies, have a place for art, and a place for everything.  I want to be incredibly efficient and have systems within our home for everything.  A place for shoes, a place for jackets, this is all great.  Underneath this fine desire, is one that is not so fine.  I want security.  I actually want to create my OWN security through my wonderful organization plans.  Oh, these systems can be helpful but they are not my security.  My security is in God, who made the entire world.  I cannot make the world or keep it spinning and tonight I was reminded I cannot even do it with my own life either.

 

But, why not make a place for now?  Why not make a place feel like HOME for today?  The children make places for now, with no thought in planning forever.  They made a place in the little cubby underneath the stairs with only two unpacked boxes that they call a computer.  It is what they call their office.  They made a place that they enjoy for right now.  I can do the same.

contentment + the simple life

The rhythm of official schoolwork has been lessening as the springtime weather has truly begun. We’ve begun our days outside. Bare feet in the grass and allowing the sun to kiss our cheeks. Yoga in the open air for me and a place for my kids to run and make believe. We meander back inside for nourishment, a bit of conversation, reading books and before I know it, if I pause for a moment too long, my kids are outside before I can say STOP. But really, do I want to say STOP?

 

I am learning that our rhythms of a family work best when they mirror the season of the year. We want to be close and cozy in the winter. There is plenty of time for schoolwork because our days are largely spent indoors. But, now in the spring we want to wander, explore and spread our wings. We need wiggle room in our schedules to sit and stare. I am feeling that more lately as the pace of our life has sped up with the finishing up of things before the summer.
Watching my children, there’s nothing like spring contentment. The contentment of simply being. The contentment of play, of exploring, of being outside after the “confinement” of winter.

Contentment has come to my mind recently. Honestly, its not something I think about often. Overall, I am so very content. I have a husband I love, we have been blessed with two amazing and sometimes challenging children who fill up my days and I am doing what I have always wanted to do. I get to be a wife, mom and teacher. I write a little. I dabble in creative endeavors when possible. These are all things I love.  So, I am content now, right? I used to really struggle with the lack of it back in college though.

As this thought of contentment has pushed its way back into my awareness, I have realized that I may not be thinking about it but it may come to play in my life. I do think often how I want more clothes, a particular pair of shoes, an art supply item or something I think my kids would really enjoy. Most of these items are not things that I REALLY need. I love beauty and I am attracted to beautiful items. I will think about the item, find it on amazon or a website and put it on my mental list to purchase when and if we have the funds. We have had to make choices with being a one income family and this is not always very easy for me to keep up with.  Amazon most certainly does not help.

I have thought of it from the perspective of worry but not in terms of contentment.  I tend to fixate on something for a bit until maybe something else more pressing comes to mind.

If I am content with what I have, would I want more?

Why do I want more?

We have been on a journey to simplicity both physically and internally for years. It isn’t until today that I have connected the idea of having more with less or having a simple life with contentment.

Yet, I have what I need. Actually, I have more than I need.

This week I have seen God provide very specifically. I do not have to worry.

Can I be content with what God has given me in this season? There will be other seasons of life just like there are different weather seasons. But I have what I need for this season. He will give me what I need in other seasons too. He really will. Often, He gives me more.

What if I wake up each day, thanking him that I have what I need and putting into his hands what I do need?

I am processing this while I am writing friends. Therefore, there is no huge conclusion except perhaps this has been the missing puzzle peace in our living simply. I have no need to buy more if I am content and therefore our houses and our lives stay simple. I tend to want the most I can pack in. The most library books I can carry. Packing  the most into our day that I think I can handle, but I really can’t. I have made progress. But something with this realization really strikes close to my heart.

Tonight, I stay open to hear the voice of my Father in this. I am here. I am present. And so is He. We are in this together. And that is all I need to know.